June 9 storm impact assessments show greater damage than initially reported

A Fire Forest Management Vic crew member watches as large fallen trees are cleared from a road near Wombat State Forest following storm damage in mid-June.

TARGETED calls and site assessments have recently confirmed nearly 1000 properties across Macedon Ranges Shire suffered damage from high winds and storms in early June.

A Secondary Impact Assessment (SIA) process led by council’s recovery team and support staff has involved calling residents and landowners across multiple townships and districts since early September.

Municipal recovery manager Tony Grimme said the assessment team’s work has revealed about 200 people had not previously reported the damage on their property to council or other authorities.

“This indicates many local property owners have been tackling debris on their own properties or securing contractors and activating claims through their insurance companies, without accessing other support,” he said.

Previously unreported damage to private assets over the past fortnight includes dwellings, water damage, equipment, vehicles, sheds, fallen trees, fencing and stock losses.

“This shows admirable community resilience, but we are aware some people may only just now be recognising some tasks are beyond them,” he said.

“They may still need extra on-ground resources or personal support and counselling to help them recover and get on with their lives.

“Consolidating the information on the damage caused to private properties will give us a clearer picture of what work still lies ahead as part of long-term recovery across the shire.”

The assessment is also providing evidence of future funding assistance needed in the Macedon Ranges while council advocates for resources from other agencies and levels of government.

Mr Grimme said that if any landowners had still not registered their storm damage with either Bushfire Recovery Victoria or Council’s Recovery Team, they should call council directly to join the SIA.

“We understand it’s a frustrating time for everyone affected by the storm, but the more detailed assessment Council and other agencies have of this emergency’s community impact, the better.”

“Not only can we help people with organising Bushfire Recovery Victoria’s site assessments and referrals to social support services like Sunbury Cobaw Community Health, we can identify gaps in the delivery of recovery services to help plan for the next major incident in our community.”

Residents are urged to keep reporting storm damage via email recovery@mrsc.vic.gov.au and provide their contact details for a follow-up call from the assessment team.

For other info, visit council’s storm recovery webpage on mrsc.vic.gov.au/Storm-Recovery.