Information for people affected by the Bunyip State Park bushfires
For up-to-date information and warnings from VicEmergency:
Read the latest bushfires recovery newsletter from Cardinia Shire Council
This newsletter is a downloadable summary of the main points covered on this web page, and the pages it links to.
VicEmergency recovery update newsletter
Community recovery centre - Tonimbuk Hall
The bushfire recovery centre at Bunyip Recreation Reserve will close permanently on Friday 22 March at 3pm.
A community recovery centre will open at its new location in Tonimbuk from Monday 25 March:
Gembrook-Tonimbuk Road, Tonimbuk
Open Monday to Friday, 10am to 3pm
Emergency re-establishment assistance grants
If you live in the local government areas of Baw Baw, Cardinia Shire, Latrobe, South Gippsland and Wellington, you may be eligible for an emergency re-establishment assistance grant of up to $40,700 per eligible household affected by fire at their primary place of residence.
Grants are available for:
- eligible clean-up
- emergency accommodation
- rebuilding (a principal place of residence)
- replacing some damaged contents.
Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
To request assistance: Call 1800 560 760
More info on assistance:
Case support available
A case support program is available for people significantly impacted by the fires in Cardinia Shire, Baw Baw Shire, Latrobe City, Wellington Shire and East Gippsland Shire.
The program is available now and for the next 12 months.
Case support workers will work with individuals to help navigate the various support services available including:
- financial assistance
- mental health services
- family violence supports
- services for repairing and rebuilding damaged properties
- re-establishing livelihoods.
The program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and the Victorian Government.
Individuals and families must live within the identified local government areas, and have been significantly affected by the bushfires, in that they may have:
- lost their home
- experienced significant psychosocial trauma
- experienced physical trauma
- experienced a loss of livelihood due to business loss.
The case support worker will do an initial screening to determine the client’s situation, and if eligible they’ll develop a service contract (agreed to by the client) which outlines the tasks to be undertaken.
Request case support
Call 1800 560 760
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): Call 1800 560 760 for info on re-establishment grants.
- Centrelink: 132 850
- Insurance Council of Australia: Claims from affected policy holders will be given priority. More info: Important insurance information
- State Trustees: 1300 138 672
- Superannuation (early access on compassionate grounds): 1300 131 060
- Victorian Disaster Legal Aid: 1800 677 402
- Consumer Affairs Victoria: The Consumer Affairs Victoria website has information and advice about your rights and obligations following an emergency, including on renting and rebuilding (with advice about travelling con men), Insurance, banking and financial hardship, fundraising scams and price rip-offs.
- Australian Passport Information Service: You may be eligible for a free replacement passport if it has been lost or damaged in the bushfire. Call 131 232 or visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for more information.
- Telstra: 132 203 Report connection faults and register for an assistance package. For more information go to the Telstra website
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
It is likely your water tank supply will be contaminated after a bushfire. Boiling water does not remove fire retardants or other chemicals from your water.
If the water in your tank is contaminated, we strongly recommend that you get the tank rinsed and refilled. We can assist you with rinsing and re-filling – please contact us on 1300 787 624
Help with fixing or replacing fencing
BlazeAid is offering assistance to fix or replace fencing in areas affected by the Bunyip State Park bushfires.
Farmers: BlazeAid advises farmers to register, even if you do not need volunteer assistance as they may be able to offer financial assistance.
To register: Email email@example.com or contact John Anderson on 0412 382 184 or Sue Anderson on 0407 834 443.
To volunteer/assist: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact John or Sue on the numbers above.
Financial donations can also be made to BlazeAid’s Post and Wire et al Program fund
More info: BlazeAid website
Bin services have returned to normal in the fire-affected areas. Please put your bins out on your normal collection day.
Landfill levy waived for bushfire waste at landfill facilities
Residents from fire-affected areas who take bushfire waste directly to landfill sites will not have to pay the Victorian Government's landfill levy.
The waiver covers bushfire waste only, and applies to the levy component of the gate price. The landfill levy is currently $64.30 per tonne of material deposited from metro premises and $31.71 per tonne of material deposited from rural premises.
Call ahead before you take your waste
You should call the landfill facility before attending to notify them of the type of material you plan to bring, and to confirm you are only bringing acceptable items.
Local landfill facilities
Cleanaway Pakenham Resource Recovery Centre
14 Drovers Pl, Pakenham VIC 3810
Phone: 03 5941 5056
Cleanaway Lysterfield Transfer Station
840 Wellington Road, Lysterfield, VIC, 3156
Phone: 03 9753 5411
Suez Hampton Park Resource Recovery Park
274 Hallam Rd, Hampton Park VIC 3976
Phone: 13 13 35
Cleanaway Pakenham is offering a 25% discount to bushfire-affected households in Cardinia Shire, in addition to the landfill levy discount.
Both amounts will be calculated at the gate and taken off the total amount before you pay.
- Burnt material, including green waste, will be accepted
- Material that is still hot or smoking/smouldering must not be handled and will not be accepted.
Bring your ID: You will need to provide identification to show that you live in the fire-affected area.
Possible planning permit exemptions for emergency tree works
In some circumstances you do not need a planning permit to remove vegetation in bushfire prone areas.
For example, you do not need a planning permit if the vegetation presents an immediate risk of personal injury or damage to property. Only that part of the vegetation that may be an immediate risk may be removed, destroyed or lopped under this exemption.
We strongly recommend that you call our Statutory Planning team on 1300 787 624, before works start.
Power reconnection: Contact your electricity distribution company.
More info: Energy safety page on the DELWP website
Coping without gas or electricity: Info on the Better Health Channel website
For connection issues contact:
Food safety after a power outage
The bushfires have caused power outages in areas.
- Food that has been refrigerated that has not been kept cold (less than 5 degrees celsius) for more than 4 hours should be thrown away.
- If the power comes back on when frozen food is still solid the food is safe to refreeze.
- If the power comes back when food that has been frozen is still very cold but not frozen, it can be moved to the fridge and used soon as has been thawed, but should not be re-frozen.
Phone and internet services
Call your phone provider for reconnection
If you have an issue with your home phone or internet service, call your phone provider to report a fault and get your phone calls redirected to another number (such as a mobile phone number).
Testra is providing assistance to customers affected by the Bunyip State Park bushfires. For more information go to the Telstra website
To register for an assistance package with Telstra: Call 132 203 (then enter your full home phone number including area code when prompted).
Free use of Telstra public payphones: In Yinnar, Boolarra, Churchill, Gembrook, Bunyip, Garfield, Nar Nar Goon North, Maryknoll, Dargo, Licola.
Replacement of water used for firefighting
Property owners who have had water taken from dams or other private water supplies by DELWP or CFA firefighters can apply to the DELWP to have the water replaced. Information on essential water replacement can be found via Forest Fire Management Victoria website
To request essential water replacement, download and complete the Essential Water Replacement form (below) then email it to email@example.com
Farm recovery after bushfire
Agriculture Victoria staff are working with affected landholders to assess injured livestock, and losses of agricultural assets and livestock.
If you have injured livestock: Call Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226
For information on farm recovery and on the following topics go to the Agriculture Victoria website
- Assessing cattle after a bushfire
- Assessing sheep after a bushfire
- Horses affected by bushfire
- Disposing of carcasses
- Stock containment areas
- Pasture recovery after fire
- Agisting livestock affected by a bushfire
- Water and pasture after bushfire
- Livestock after an emergency
- Building a sediment fence
- Weed invasion after emergencies
Animals, livestock and wildlife
Water for stock
If you need assistance or information about water for stock please contact us on 1300 787 624
Fodder and transport for livestock - 'Need For Feed'
Need For Feed disaster relief will be distributing fodder from a depot over the weekend to landowners affected by the bushfires.
- Bushfire-affected residents: Please register using the Request for assistance form on the Need for Feed website
- To donate fodder: Please complete the donation form on the Need for Feed website
- To offer transport: Complete the Volunteer hay run form on the Need for Feed website
Need For Feed is a Lions Club project.
Please report wandering livestock to us on 1300 787 624
If you have injured livestock, please call Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226. Their staff are working with affected landholders to assess:
- injured livestock
- losses of livestock and agricultural assets
More info: Agriculture Victoria website
Help for domestic animals
Call the RSPCA on 9224 2222
Help for injured wildlife
- Call 5960 7100
- If you find an injured native animal, you can use the Help for injured wildlife online tool from DELWP to find and contact the closest wildlife carers and rescue and rehabilitation organisations. Please note this is for native wildlife in Victoria only.
Report deceased livestock: To Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226 - they will provide advice on disposal.
Transport deceased livestock: Deceased livestock can be taken to the Suez landfill at 274 Hallam Road, Hampton Park). Please call 0428 620 417 to arrange a drop-off time.
Burying deceased livestock: If you bury livestock please follow these EPA guidelines
If you live in a fire-affected area and have any concerns or questions about your rates, please contact us on 1300 787 624
Facilities closed due to the bushfires
Bunyip State Park closed
Parks Victoria advises that Bunyip State Park is closed. All roads and tracks within the Bunyip State Park are closed until further notice.
- EmergencyVic advises that heavy machinery and fire trucks are still working in Bunyip State Park. It is unsafe to enter the park. Police are actively patrolling the area.
- DEWLP Wildlife Officers are actively monitoring a number of fire affected animals in Bunyip State Park. Please do not try to feed or approach injured animals. To report injured wildlife call 5960 7100
Mt Cannibal Reserve closed
Mt Cannibal Reserve in Garfield is closed until further notice.
Smoke and your health
If you are experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing, call 000.
- People with pre-existing health problems, heart or lung conditions (including asthma), children, pregnant women and older people are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
- People with existing heart or lung conditions (including asthma) should follow the treatment plan advised by the doctor.
For medical advice for burns or exposure to smoke: See your doctor, local community health centre or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024. Nurse on Call offers expert medical advice from a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the cost of a local call from anywhere in Victoria.
For more info on smoke and your health go to the Better Health website
Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has established mobile air monitoring stations at Pakenham, Drouin and Buchan. These are in addition to permanent air monitoring stations in the Latrobe Valley. Live air quality data readings are available online on the EPA website
Information and helplines for mental health and wellbeing after the bushfires
Donations, volunteering and other offers of help
Donations of goods
While your offers are much appreciated, please do not drop goods to the recovery centre at Bunyip.
Volunteering and offers of help
The recovery centre is fully staffed at the moment, and volunteers are not required at this stage.
Help with fixing or replacing fencing
BlazeAid is organsing volunteers to assist farmers in fixing or replacing fencing. For more ifnfo on volunteering or asking for assistance see the BlazeAid info
Donate to the Community Relief Fund
Emergency Management Victoria has partnered with Bendigo Bank to establish a community relief fund to support people affected by the bushfires in south east Victoria. Donations can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch or online.
Donate to the Casey Cardinia Foundation bushfire relief fund
A relief fund has been set up by the Casey Cardinia Foundation to support community members affected by the bushfires in and around the Bunyip State Park.
At this stage we are working with community agencies to explore future possibilities for a community event.