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Bunyip Complex bushfires - other recovery information

For the most recent updates visit the Latest updates web page


Registrations for the Victorian Government’s clean-up program have closed.  If you missed the registration or have questions for Emergency Management Victoria please call Ampara from EMV on  0428 478 549

Letter from Emergency Management Victoria on the clean-up program

The CFA Chief Officer declared the start of the Fire Danger Period in Cardinia on 16 December 2019. The Fire Danger Period is when CFA restricts the use of fire in the community. Council will not issue burning off permits during this time. If you need a permit for an essential burn contact the CFA. Please note the Fire Danger Period is not the same thing as a Total Fire Ban.

For more information on restrictions during the Fire Danger Period visit the CFA website

The Victorian Government (DELWP) has provided a list of land surveying firms that have expressed an interest in helping residents in their recovery by:

  • giving free professional advice to residents affected by the Bunyip Complex fires
  • performing property boundary surveys on fee-for-service basis at reduced rates

in these locations: 

  • Bunyip State Park
  • Tynong North
  • Garfield North
  • Tonimbuk.  
  • Bunyip North.

View the information sheet

Contact your insurer as soon as you can

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has declared a catastrophe for properties damaged or destroyed in the Bunyip State Park bushfires. Property owners affected by the bushfires should contact their insurers as soon as possible to lodge claims and seek assistance under their policies. The declaration means claims from affected policyholders will be given priority by insurers. 

If your property has been damaged in the bushfires, the ICA advises you to contact your insurer as soon as possible for information on the claims process and what you are entitled to under your policy.  ICA staff have been mobilised to work directly with local services and affected policyholders. 

If you are unsure about your insurance details or have general inquiries about the claims process, contact the ICA's disaster hotline on 1800 734 621

More info: Visit the Understand Insurance website

This program is available to anyone who has experienced any of the following as a result of the bushfires: 

  • Loss of your home
  • Significant mental trauma
  • Physical trauma
  • A loss of livelihood due to business loss.

If the above does not describe your situation, case managers and workers will consider each case on its merits. This program is available until at least March 2020. 

Recovery support case workers will work with you to help you navigate the various support services that may be available to you. Support may include:

  • an initial brief chat about your needs and what next steps might be appropriate.
  • information on how to access local services for additional support.
  • advocacy for priority access if required for your circumstances.
  • assistance with completing applications and paperwork required for grant or financial claim processes with other organisations and government.
  • outreach visits by our staff with other services if this is helpful to your situation.

The service may be able to provide you with a small amount of brokerage support to respond to immediate financial need. Case support staff may also be able to direct you to more comprehensive grants and financial support. 

This program is delivered by Windermere and jointly funded by the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements and the Victorian Government.


You can: 

  • Speak to a Windermere representative at the recovery centre.
  • Call Windermere on 1800 560 760 between 9am to 5pm weekdays or leave a message and staff will return your call the following business day. 
  • Email
  • Farmers Assistance Hotline: 132 316 for farming families experiencing financial hardship. (Mon to Fri, 8am to 8pm).
  • Centrelink: 132 850
  • Insurance Council of Australia disaster hotline: 1800 734 621 Claims from affected policyholders will be given priority.
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS): 1300 045 747 Free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses.
  • State Trustees: 1300 138 672
  • Superannuation: 1300 131 060 (early access on compassionate grounds)
  • Victorian Disaster Legal Aid: 1800 677 402
  • Consumer Affairs Victoria: 1300 55 81 81 or
  • Australian Passport Information Service: 131 232 you may be eligible for a free replacement passport if it has been lost or damaged in the fires.
  • Telstra: 132 203 to register for a relief package or interim services.

You are going through a very stressful life event. Look out for others and if you need help, please ask for help.

Who to call for immediate assistance

  • Lifeline: 13 11 44
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

You can also:

  • Talk to a Red Cross representative: At the recovery centre from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Talk to a Windermere representative: At the recovery centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 1pm, or call Windermere on 1800 560 760 between 9am to 5pm weekdays or leave a message and staff will return your call the following business day. You can also email
  • Drop into the recovery centre for general support and information.

Go to the Better Health website for more information on trauma reaction and recovery. 

Getting rid of large piles of trees and vegetation

Your options for disposal are as follows:

  • Local landfill sites – reduced fees being offered – see info on this web page. 
  • Do a burn off – see info on this web page.
  • Hire a private contractor to remove the waste.

Fallen trees near house, fence or driveway

If you have trees that have fallen near your house, driveway or fences, you can request to have them cut up by the SES into smaller pieces. To ask for assistance, speak to the Council officers at the recovery centre or call our customer service centre on 1300 787 624.    

Removing hazardous trees

In accordance with state government legislation, if your property was impacted by the bushfires and you have burnt trees around your house that you believe could:

  • cause injury
  • damage property

you do not need a planning permit to make them safe. (This does not necessarily mean cutting them down altogether).

If the vegetation presents an immediate risk of personal injury or damage to property, only that part of the vegetation that presents a risk may be removed, destroyed or lopped.

Removing other vegetation

You can also remove the following without a permit (regardless of whether it presents an immediate risk):

  • Within a 10 metres radius around a house:  All vegetation can be removed.
  • Within a radius of over 10 metres and up to 30 metres: Everything except for trees can be removed, if the house was constructed before 10 September 2009. If your property is in an area where a Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) applies, a total of 50 metres can be cleared. Please note that most but not all properties affected by the bushfires are in a BMO area – to check go to Victorian Government's mapshare website and type in your address.
  • A combined maximum width of 4 metres of vegetation can be cleared on either side of an existing fence on a boundary between properties with different owners, provided the fence was constructed before 10 September 2009. This exemption does not apply if there is already 4 metres of cleared land on one side of the fence.

If you are not sure whether vegetation can be removed: Please call Council’s Statutory Planning team on 1300 787 624 before doing any works.

Demolition of fire-damaged buildings

  • If you have been issued with an order from Council to demolish, you do not need a permit to do this.
  • If your clean-up contractor advises that a structure needs to be demolished, please contact Council on 1300 787 624 and we will process this quickly for you.

Rebuilding after the fires

Council will not charge planning permit application or advertising fees to rebuild structures destroyed by the fires, although you will still need to lodge an application and provide the required documentation. Call Council’s Statutory Planning team on 1300 787 624 with any enquiries.

Enquiries about stamp duty concessions for impacted property owners

The Victorian Government has advised that there are no specific measures in the Duties Act 2000 that relate to bushfires or natural disaster, however you are encouraged to directly raise your circumstances with the State Revenue Office (13 21 61) or visit the State Revenue Office website

Assistance from DELWP

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planing can: 

Repair or make good damage to land or assets caused by firefighting operations: This includes repairs to fences cut or damaged by fire crews (CFA or FFMVic) or rehabilitation of dozer and grader control lines. 

Repair bushfire damaged fences on the boundary of the Bunyip State Park: DELWP will meet 50% of the materials cost to replace or repair fences located between the Bunyip State Park and private land.

Other bushfire damaged property boundary and internal fences are not covered by this assistance. 

Contact DELWP

If you believe you are eligible, please email and provide these details:

  • your name and address
  • type of impact – boundary fence damage, dozer or grader lines, cut fences or other impacts
  • contact details – phone number (and best time to call) and email address

If you do not have email address: call DELWP on 136 186.

Assistance from Melbourne Water 

If your land adjoins Melbourne Water land and your fence has been damaged or destroyed by the fires, Melbourne Water may be able to reimburse half the cost of building an approved boundary fence. 

Eligibility and fence types 

To apply for half-share fencing you must meet the criteria for proposed fencing materials and dimensions. If your property borders Crown land you will not be eligible for half-share fencing.

Melbourne Water will pay for the following types of fences:

  • standard paling fences 1.6 or 1.9 metres high
  • farm fencing – rural areas only or where appropriate
  • chain mesh fencing – where appropriate

Note: the owner is responsible for the maintenance of fences.

Melbourne Water will not contribute to the cost of:

  • colorbond fencing
  • gates
  • capping
  • trellis
  • retaining walls
  • vegetation removal. 


To apply you can download the form below and post or email it to Melbourne Water, or apply on the Melbourne Water website 

This form is also available at the recovery centre.

Download the Melbourne Water form

Please do not proceed with fencing works until you receive a confirmation letter from Melbourne Water. 

Enquiries: Call Melbourne Water on 131 722. 

Assistance from South East Water

  • South East Water is providing waivers and discounts on water bills for households impacted by the Bunyip bushfires. Each customer is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • South East Water has reached out to customers who we believe have been impacted, urging them to contact us so that we can discuss the support options available to them.
  • A discount applies where a customer has used a large amount of water to keep their property safe from the bushfires. In the sad event that a customer has lost their home, a full waiver will be given.

Enquiries: Call South East Water on 131 851 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Waterway assistance from Melbourne Water

Melbourne Water is providing assistance to properties who are part of the existing Melbourne Water Stream Frontage Management Program (SFMP) and Rural Land Program (RLP).

Assistance is available to:

  • repair and replace stream frontage fencing
  • install coir logs to assist with sediment/erosion control to protect the health of the waterways.

Request assistance

Eligible properties who haven't yet been contacted by Melbourne Water should call 131 722.

Council’s Biodiversity Officer is available to answer your land management enquiries on topics including: 

  • pasture management
  • weed control
  • fencing
  • trees and vegetation
  • erosion management
  • dams
  • burnt bush/shelter belts
  • stock containment.

To enquire: Call 1300 787 624

You can also view this fact sheet on biological approaches for soil and pasture recovery after a fire

A skip bin for residents to dispose of burned fencing wire and small pieces of tin ONLY has been organised by Lions Club.

The bin is located at the rear of the Tonimbuk Hall (the recovery centre location) and at 20 Mintern Rd, Tynong North.


If asbestos-containing materials have been burnt on your property or you are uncertain, we strongly advise that you organise for a licensed asbestos removalist to do the clean-up work. There have been reports of exposed asbestos in damaged properties. Asbestos can cause cancer and chronic respiratory diseases after any asbestos fibres are inhaled or ingested. There is no safe level for asbestos.  For more information go to the health.vic website

Other hazards 

  • Ash: Ash particles may still be present in your home, even after the smoke has gone. Avoid stirring up ash and dust as much as possible. More info: EPA website
  • Copper Chrome Arsenate (or CCA) from ash: Ash from timber treated with a preservative call Copper Chrome Arsenate (or CCA) contains arsenic which is hazardous if swallowed by young children, pets or grazing animals. More info: health.vic website
  • Fire retardant: Fire fighting efforts may have resulted in flame retardant and other slippery materials in and around your property. Tread carefully and be mindful of the ground conditions. More info: EPA website
  • Firewater run-off: During a fire, large volumes of water, either on its own or mixed with foams or fire retardants, can be used to put the fire out. Often, this firewater can find its way to local waterways and impact the water quality. View the fact sheet on the EPA website
  • Septic tank: If you have a septic tank, remember it may have been weakened in the fire so do not drive or walk over it.
  • LPG gas cylinders 
  • medication 
  • garden chemicals 
  • farm chemicals 
  • other general chemicals (for example, cleaning products) 
  • metal and other residues from burnt household appliances 
  • dust.

Info on cleaning up your homeVictorian Government Better Health website, EPA website

Report damaged bins to us using this online form or calling us on 1300 787 624 and we will arrange replacements bins for you.

Revaluations of affected properties

  • Properties that experienced building losses in the bushfires are being revalued in order to reduce the amount of rates to be paid, and thus provide some relief. Council is doing these supplementary valuations to ensure that the amount of rates being paid reflects the actual current condition of the property, rather than its condition prior to the fires. We assure you that by doing this we are not ‘devaluing the property’, but instead adjusting the valuation to remove values attached to improvements to the land which, unfortunately, are no longer there.
  •  Affected properties have received a supplementary valuation and rate notice. This notice includes the amended valuations, adjusted rates and charges and the new total owing.

Concerns about your repayments?

  • If you have any concerns or questions about your rates payments, please contact Council on 1300 787 624

For information on farm recovery go to the Agriculture Victoria website and search for ‘recovery’, or call 136 186, or pick up fact sheets from the recovery centre.

Information and fact sheets

For more information on farm recovery and on the following topics go to the Agriculture Victoria website


After the 2009 bushfires the Port Phillip and Westernport CMA prepared several YouTube bushfire recovery videos that include interviews with land management experts and people impacted by the fires about the steps they took to help their properties and the environment recover.

Report injured wildlife: 5960 7100

Natural regeneration of the land starts to happen within days of a fire. Our landscape has evolved with fire;  just how soon and exactly how it recovers depends on a variety of factors including how intense the fire was and whether the soil is disturbed or left alone after the fire.

More info: Recovery of the environment after the Bunyip State Park bushfires