Storm Recovery Information

Mildura storm recovery

After being impacted by severe storms in November 2016, with damage to the farming sector estimated to be between $77.5 million and $156.8 million, the Commonwealth and State Governments have established a number of Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, including:

  • Recovery Grants of up to $25,000 for primary producers directly impacted by the November storms in the Mildura Rural City Council area. The $25,000 grants for primary producers will help cover the expenditure involved in clean-up and reinstatement, including salvaging crops, purchasing of fodder, repair or replacement of essential equipment and disposal of damaged goods. To apply for a Recovery Grant, primary producers can contact Rural Finance Victoria on 1800 260 425 or online at www.ruralfinance.com.au. Applications must be made before 30 June, 2017.
  • Emergency Re-establishment Grants of up to $32,500 per eligible household experiencing financial hardship after being flood or storm-affected at their primary place of residence. The grants are available for clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding (a principal place of residence), and replacing some damaged contents.
  • Impacted residents can call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 for more information about the support services available.
  • Activation through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements of concessional low interest rate loans of up to $200,000 for primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit bodies who have suffered direct damage or a significant loss of income. For more information contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or online at www.ruralfinance.com.au.

 

If your crop or business has been affected

  • At least 450 farming properties have been assessed as potentially storm impacted across the Mildura, Red Cliffs, Cardross, Ouyen and Millewa areas, however growers who haven't been contacted are urged not to self-assess and to contact Rural Finance Victoria on 1800 260 425 or at www.ruralfinance.com.au to determine if they're eligible for grant assistance. 
  • Regional Development Victoria (RDV) has also been contacting businesses in areas impacted by the storm event, collecting information on loss and damage and to inform government of the economic impacts to business and industry.
  • If you want to talk to someone about storm damage to your business, contact the RDV Mildura office on (03) 5051 2000.

 

Insurance considerations

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to check what your policy includes or excludes, and seek guidance on the claims process.
  • Do not be concerned if you can’t find your insurance papers. Insurers have electronic records and need only your name and address
  • Speak to your insurer before you attempt or authorise any building work, including emergency repairs, and ask for the insurer’s permission in writing. Unauthorised work may not be covered by your policy
  • If your home is unsafe, notify your local authorities and check with your insurance company whether you can claim temporary housing expenses.
  • Take photographs or videos of damage to property and possessions, and keep samples of materials from damaged goods, as evidence to support your claim. This will be used by your insurer to process your claim as quickly as possible
  • You can remove and discard any water or mud-damaged goods that pose a health risk, such as saturated carpets and soft furnishings, but take photos and keep samples of materials and fabrics to show the assessor
  • Keep any items that could be repaired and if in doubt speak to your insurer.
  • If you are in urgent financial need you can ask your insurer to fast track your claim and make an advance payment within five business days of you demonstrating your urgent financial need. Any advance payment may be deducted from the total value of your claim.
  • If your claim has been finalised within one month of the disaster, your insurer must give you six months from the finalisation date to ask for a review of your claim (for instance, if you think the insurer has not accurately assessed your loss), even if you have signed a release.

If you are experiencing difficulties with your insurer and would like to seek advice, please contact Sunraysia-based Mallee Family Care's legal experts on (03) 5021 2885.

 

Dealing with stress

If you’ve been affected by the storm you are likely to personally feel the impact. This might include shock, difficulty making the situation feel real, distress, continuing alarm and a feeling of being let down after the immediate crisis is over. Dealing with the effects of stress can be difficult to discuss, but these are perfectly normal reactions.

People who are able rely on the help of others recover better than those who try to do it alone. There are many free services from which people can seek assistance.

Support services that are free and confidential include:

 

Lifeline: 131 114: A 24-hour telephone service that offers confidential support and advice to deal with stress and personal challenges.

Mensline: 1300 789 978: Telephone support, information and referral service, helping men deal with relationship problems in a practical and effective way.

Beyondblue information line: 1300 224 636: An information line that offers expert information on depression, how to recognise it, how to get help, how to help someone else and how to stay well.

Suicide Helpline Victoria: 1300 651 251: A 24-hour telephone service that offers anonymous counselling and information.

Sunraysia Community Health Services: (03) 5022 5444: Provides general counselling and support for those suffering depression and anxiety.

Victorian Legal Aid: 1800 677 402: Provides free legal advice on issues including housing, tenancy and insurance. 

 

If your property has been damaged

Before going onto your property consider the following:

  • Gas or electricity supplies may be damaged – these may need to be confirmed safe by a qualified electrician.
  • The structural integrity of your home may be affected and weakened– this needs to be declared safe by a qualified building surveyor.
  • When cleaning up wear protective clothing (such as long pants and full sleeves) when returning home to your property. Make sure you also wear sturdy footwear and heavy-duty work gloves.  Wash your hands after removing contaminated clothing and articles.
  • Hazardous materials may include asbestos. Asbestos fibres can cause health problems if they are breathed in.   
  • Contact your local council’s environmental health officer for enquiries or concerns regarding the safe removal or disposal of asbestos.
  • For information on asbestos visit the Better Health Channel website: