Bunyip Complex bushfires - business, farm and land recovery
- This page has information on business, farm, and land recovery for those affected by the by the Bunyip Complex Fires of March 2019.
- Support for local businesses is also available at our Cardinia Business portal
Small Business and Farmers Support Recovery Grants
The Small Business and Farmer Recovery Support Grants Program has now closed.
Funds were awarded to 21 recipients to assist in the rebuild of their business and farm operations post the 2019 Bunyip Complex Fires.
Grants provided support to farmers for fertilizer, pasture crop, fencing, shelterbelt reinstatement works, irrigation pipes, fire pump and hose, weed spray packs, tractors, and mulchers. Small businesses were awarded funds for marketing, rebranding, and promotions.
This grant was made possible with funding support from the Victorian Government.
West Gippsland Progress Association
West Gippsland Progress Association (WGPA) was born after the devastating 2019 Bunyip Complex bushfires, which resulted in hundreds of businesses being severely impacted. Several passionate volunteers formed the organisation, which is now at the forefront of the community's long-term economic recovery and resilience effort along the railway townships of Nar Nar Goon, Nar Nar Goon North, Tynong, Tynong North, Garfield, Garfield North, Tonimbuk, Bunyip & Bunyip North.
WGPA have two key projects focused on Regenerative Agriculture and Food Tourism.
The Food & Tourism project focuses on growing food tourism opportunities in the peri-urban farming area of West Gippsland.
The Regenerative Agriculture project focuses on increasing awareness of regenerative farming through education, demonstration, verification, and promotion of these practices to all interested parties
WGPA has a wealth of resources available to both farmers and local businesses including:
- A substantial library of photography and videography for key food & tourism operators
- A Food Touring Map for visitors to the region
- A WGPA website, FB page and Instagram to promote your business
To benefit from these resources become a member of WGPA for FREE. Register you interest via the WGPA website
For information on how to identify and reduce weeds please go to the managing weeds webpage
Council also provides grants to help landowners and community groups control weeds on private property, both in areas of high environmental and agricultural value. For more information please go to the apply for a weed grant webpage
Shelterbelt design guidelines
As part of the natural environment recovery process after the Bunyip Complex Fire, Council engaged Eco Logical Australia during 2020 to research and develop shelterbelt designs to be better suited to the future effects of climate change.
Shelterbelts are strips of vegetation planted to provide a wind buffer, shade for livestock, crop protection or to create habitat for wildlife. They may help protect against some of the increasing effects of climate change.
More info: Go to the Shelterbelt Guidelines webpage
Water signage program
In response to community feedback, Council in consultation with Melbourne Water developed a waterway signage project across the Bunyip Complex Bushfire area. The project installed new creek name signs throughout the fire impacted area. Many signs were damaged in the 2019 bushfire. Replacing the signs helps the local community and visitors to the region identify waterways across main roads and use as reference points.
Nest boxes for native fauna
The Nest Box Project organised by the Community Recovery Committee (CRC) and Friends of Mt Cannibal (FOMC) has been completed with homes now installed for native fauna.
- 540 next boxes were designed and created by the community
- The project was funded by grants from Gippsland Bendigo Community Banks and donations from the Maserati Owners Club of Australia
- The next boxes are designed for kookaburras, pardalotes, owlet nightjars, crimson rosellas, eastern rosellas, sugar gliders and ringtail possums
- The nest boxes were installed at Mt Cannibal Reserve and on private property
- Cardinia Environment Coalition will collect data on how the nest boxes are used. Data will be collected once a year for 3 to 4 years and a report will be made available to the public.
- Farmers Assistance Hotline (132 316): for farming families experiencing financial hardship. (Mon to Fri, 8am to 8pm).
- Insurance Council of Australia disaster hotline (1800 734 621): offers assistance to policyholders if they are uncertain of their insurance details or have general enquiries about the claims process
- Rural Financial Counselling Service (1300 045 747): free financial counselling to farmers and small related businesses