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2021 storms – information for residents and businesses

This page has information on support services and upcoming events for those impacted by the 2021 storms.

We're producing a newsletter to help support those impacted by the storms through the recovery period. 

You can also find information on community recovery events hosted by Council here. 

If you have any recovery-related questions, our Recovery team is available by phone or email from Monday to Friday during business hours.
Ph: 1300 787 624
Email: recovery@cardinia.vic.gov.au

  • Community Recovery Team Leader – Bronwyn Fleming
  • Recovery Officer- Katt Scott
  • Recovery Officer – Grant White
  • Economic Recovery Officer - Susie Wickes (0435 173 746) 

Support at the Hills Hub

If you have any recovery-related questions or need support, you can drop in to speak with our Recovery team at the Hills Hub in Emerald every Wednesday from 9am to 5pm.

We're producing a newsletter to provide up-to-date information on support services and recovery projects for those impacted by the storms.

Read the latest newsletter here - July 2022

Subscribe to the newsletter by email 

If you'd like us to send you an email linking to the newsletter each time it's updated, please enter your email address below:

Ask for a printed copy of the newsletter

To request a printed copy of this newsletter, contact us at mail@cardinia.vic.gov.au

Are you having trouble navigating how to rebuild your property that was impacted by the 2021 storms. 

To learn more about the planning and rebuilding process ahead and how council workers across both Cardinia Shire and Yarra Ranges Shire can support you along the way, please email Kat Scott at recovery@cardinia.vic.gov.au  

View event details here

Call 1800 560 760

  • The Storm and Flood Recovery Hotline is a single state-wide number that Victorians impacted by the June 2021 storms and floods can call for help or assistance.
  • Operators can assist you with registering for Clean-Up of structures on private property or accessing your own Recovery Support Worker, mental health and wellbeing support, financial counselling and information on available payments.
  • The Recovery Hotline is open from 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) and 9am to 1pm on weekends.

The Storm and Flood Financial Counselling Program is open to Victorians affected by the 2021 storms.

Storm and Flood Financial Counselling Program

The program can connect you to a financial counsellor to help you to:

  • access relief for utility bills and other payments
  • understand your government income and other entitlements
  • negotiate with your bank on debt issues
  • identify if your insurance outcome is fair and appropriate
  • explore your options and advocate on your behalf.

Speaking to a financial counsellor early can help stabilise your finances, reduce stress and allow you to focus on other areas.  

The Storm and Flood Financial Counselling Program is available on the Storm and Flood Recovery Hotline, call 1800 560 760.

The Storm and Flood Recovery Hotline is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).  

For more information visit the Storm and Flood Recovery website.

This program can provide support for people who have been impacted by the June 2021 storms and flood, due to:

  • loss of home
  • significant mental trauma
  • physical trauma
  • loss of a livelihood due to business loss.

Support provided by caseworkers may include: 

  • an initial brief chat about your needs and appropriate follow-up steps 
  • information and outreach visits 
  • advocacy to connect with local services including priority access 
  • assistance with completing applications and other paperwork for grant or financial claims 
  • support to connect to local services 
  • financial support 

Windermere website - Storm Recovery Support Program

One on one financial counselling sessions are available at the Hills Hub (402 Belgrave-Gembrook Rd, Emerald) from 9am to 5pm on Thursdays in March.

Telephone appointments are available Monday to Friday during business hours. 

Financial counsellors can assist you to:

  • access legal advice or other services 
  • advocate and negotiate to reduce/defer/waive payments with creditors
  • access grants or concessions
  • respond to factors contributing to your financial distress 
  • develop a money plan 
  • identify options and make informed decisions
  • understand your rights under the National Credit Code to apply for a hardship variation
  • understand the credit reporting system 
  • understand the impact of bankruptcy

To make an appointment contact South East Community Links on 9549 5288 or visit the South East Community Links website for more information.  

Please note: in line with COVID19 requirements you must be fully vaccinated to access the in-person appointments.

Council property rates and services charges

  • If you’re unable to live in your home or it’s significantly damaged, you can request for the property’s value to be reassessed and amended as necessary. This may reduce the total rates and Fire Service Property Levy amount payable.
  • If your house has been deemed uninhabitable, you can request for waste service charges to be waived.
  • If you’ve been impacted by the storm, you can request a payment arrangement or short-term deferral. Where severe impact has been confirmed, you can apply for financial hardship assistance.
  • Properties meeting the above criteria may also be exempt from paying interest and from debt recovery action.

More info: Email mail@cardinia.vic.gov.au – please include your name, property address and details of damage.

Please help us with cleaning up across the shire by reporting any issues to us. 

To report an urgent issue (that poses a threat to safety)

  • If you need to report a road, tree, or drainage issue on Council-managed land that could pose an immediate risk to public safety, please call our customer service team on 1300 787 624.
  • If you're trying to call us, please be patient as our lines are currently very busy. Our team will get to you as soon as possible.

To report a non-urgent issue  
Report an issue or make a request via the online forms and portals on this website. 

If you’re repairing a small part of your dwelling or shed ‘like for like’

You won’t need a planning permit, but you might still need a building permit - please contact a private building surveyor for advice. (Council does not issue building permits).

Do I need a building permit?

If your home has been significantly damaged and requires rebuilding

You’ll need a planning permit and a building permit

Planning permits relating to storm damage will be prioritised and planning fees associated with storm-affected rebuilds may be waived.

Get in touch with us first

It may be a good idea to talk to us or request pre-application advice before applying for planning permits - especially if your application is quite complex.

Properties with environmental or vegetation overlays may require additional information and considerations in the planning application process. Getting the right advice will ensure your planned build is appropriately constructed to reduce risk of damage, such as in bushfire-prone areas.

How to contact our Statutory Planning team

Ph: 1300 787 624 or email mail@cardinia.vic.gov.au

Ready to apply?

Our ePlanning Portal is the quickest and easiest way to make planning applications.

Repairing or replacing boundary fences  

More info: Email mail@cardinia.vic.gov.au – please include your name, property address and details of damage.

If your business has been impacted by the 2021 storms, you can contact our Economic Recovery Officer Susie Wickes with your enquiries.

Email: recovery@cardinia.vic.gov.au

Mental Health for Small Businesses 

Since 2021 the Partners in Wellbeing program has been offering free and confidential counselling, financial planning advice and business advisory services to small businesses across Victoria.  For regions also impacted by storms this program has now been expanded, with Mental Health Consultants available to work with business groups and individual small business owners to identify mental health and wellbeing needs and provide a range of supports and interventions.  

Working within the Cardinia Shire is Christabel. Chrissie has vast experience in mental health and counselling support. She has lived experience as a small business owner, has first-hand experience of many of the challenges unique to owning a small business.   

To find out more about the program, or to arrange a free and confidential mental health conversation, small business owners can contact Chrissie via email Christabel.Sibanda@each.com.au or by calling 0459 465 011  

Partners in Wellbeing Helpline

Offers free and confidential one-on-one access to wellbeing co taches, financial counsellors and business advisors.

  • Small business owners can call the Partners in Wellbeing Helpline on 1300 375 330, 7 days a week or use the live chat on the Partners in Wellbeing - Small Business Support website
  • Wellbeing coaches are available from 9am to 10pm on weekdays and from 9am to 5pm on weekends.

The Small Business Mentoring Service

Visit Small Business Mentoring Support

Eastern Dandenong Ranges Association

For more business support and information visit Eastern Dandenong Ranges Association 

Agriculture Victoria - Support

Agriculture Victoria’s Ag Recovery team is supporting growers in the horticulture industry who were affected by the June storms and floods across Victoria.

Phone 0427 694 185 or email recovery@agriculture.vic.gov.au

Tax support webinars for small businesses 

The Australian Tax Office (ATO)  has a series of free webinars available that cover both general and industry-specific areas of tax obligations for small businesses.

  • The webinars are interactive online seminars presented by experienced tax officers.
  • The webinars are live and you can ask questions to help you apply the information to your situation.
  • Each session runs for approximately 45 to 60 minutes.

These sessions may be suitable if you are:

  • Starting a new business or just thinking about starting one
  • Updating your knowledge
  • Work in any of the industry-specific areas advertised
  • Closing your business

To view the list of topics or register for a webinar visit the Australian Tax Office website

 Watch a recording of a recent community information session that was held on Wednesday 20 October 2021. To watch the recording open the video in YouTube.


  • Lifeline: 131 11424-hour telephone counselling, information and referral service. 
  • BeyondBlue:1300 224 636 Provides information on depression and anxiety. To access professional counselling services, please make contact with your GP and ask for a referral. 
  • Kids Help Line:1800 551 800 Confidential telephone counselling service for young people aged 5–25 years. 
  • Headspace: 1800 650 890
  • ParentLine:132 289 Counselling and information for families with children (up to 18 years) from 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. 
  • Men’s Line Australia: 1300 789 97824–hour counselling and advice for men. 
  • Safe Steps Family Violence Support:1800 015 188
  • Family Violence support: There is an increased risk of family violence after an emergency. Help is available by calling 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732 - confidential) or go to the Family Violence Victoria website

Financial assistance

Utility bills

Legal assistance

Disaster Legal Help Victoria website - Assistance for insurance claims, lost and replacement documents or property damage

Food relief

A number of local agencies offer food, material aid and community meals.
More info:Food relief programs page


Community members are encouraged to donate to registered not-for-profit organisations or relief agencies, such as the Salvation Army

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