By Parker McKenzie
The Yarra Ranges Council has received $10 million in funding from the federal government’s Australia Readiness Program, the highest of any municipality in the country.
The Preparing Australia program funds projects aimed at mitigating or reducing the risk, impact and consequences of disasters. Funding will be disbursed over a six-year period.
Yarra Ranges Mayor Jim Child said the funding will increase disaster preparedness, risk management, recovery and future resilience for communities in the county.
“We are extremely grateful that the federal government has recognized the importance of this issue, especially as we approach the first anniversary of the catastrophic storms that hit the Dandenong mountain ranges,” Mr. Child said.
“Emergency response is as much about preparedness and planning as it is about the actual response and cleanup itself, so this funding will go a long way in helping us plan for and protect our communities for any future emergencies that may arise.”
The funding will be used for the Resilient Yarra Ranges project, which aims to increase resilience planning, complement tree management and storm cleaning, access micro-grid feasibility in essential buildings in Monbulk , to upgrade council community buildings to serve as emergency relief centres, to provide suitable facilities for those unable to use accessible toilets at the Kilsyth Sports Centre, to commission a bushfire risk assessment for areas Dandenong Ranges and provide more coordinated support and material air assets in the Yarra Ranges.
Mr Child thanked outgoing Casey member Tony Smith, who he said has been a wonderful local representative for the Yarra Ranges.
“Tony has been a great advocate for our community for a long time and has helped us advocate for better funding and better services in our municipality.
“It is a perfect example of the excellent working relationship we have with our counterparts at different levels of government.”
Mr Child also said there was still a long way to go to recover from the June 2021 storm.
For more information on funding and other successful applications, go to www.recovery.gov.au/preparing-australian-communities-program-local