Message from Mayor Mikaela Power

Published on 12 March 2019

Over the last few weeks our hearts have broken as we watched the devastating effects of the bushfires unfold throughout the Bunyip State Park, the Walhalla region and across wider Gippsland.

Our thoughts are with all those affected – from our neighbours in Cardinia to those further east in Gippsland. We think of our own local communities on the eastern side of the Bunyip State Park Fire, and Walhalla, Maiden Town, Erica and Rawson. Tragically, some people have lost homes, outbuildings, businesses/equipment, pets, and livestock. Many of you will have family, friends, work colleagues, sports teammates and associates who have been directly impacted in one way or another.

On behalf of Baw Baw Shire Council, I thank the amazing personnel from all emergency and support services for their tireless around-the-clock efforts to keep our communities safe. Amid the tragedy, we are grateful there has been no loss of human life. We thank the community for listening to and acting on the advice provided by the emergency services and encourage the community to continue to stay informed through the Vic Emergency app and/or website at www.emergency.vic.gov.au

The outpouring of support and offers of assistance that we have seen from our community in recent times is nothing short of amazing. We have such a tight knit community who have again demonstrated that in times of need, people are generous and willing to offer support to anyone that requires help.

We thank local community groups and individuals for their offers of assistance to collect and distribute donated goods. We also thank our friends at Lardner Park, the Warragul Sale Yards, Warragul Greyhounds, Akoonah Park in Berwick, Need for Feed Disaster Relief, local vets, rescue support services and community members for opening their doors to care for animals that have been evacuated and in need of some extra special care. We have a big-hearted community and I thank you all for keeping our community spirit alive.

Fortunately, eased weather conditions are working in favour of emergency services at the Bunyip State Park, giving them a greater chance to get the fire under control. Additionally, the fires that continue to burn around Walhalla are thankfully now contained. Our focus now turns to relief and recovery for those impacted in our community. Many of the small towns rely on visitors as part of their local economy and will welcome you over the coming weekends.

Recovery and Information Centre

If you need information and assistance from supporting agencies, I encourage you to attend the Recovery and Information Centre which has been established at the Bunyip Showgrounds and Recreation Centre (80 Longwarry - Nar Nar Goon Road, Bunyip). Help and information will be available from key health agencies, counselling support, insurance advice and other essential services. The Recovery and Information Centre will be open on weekdays (from 10am to 6:30pm) and weekends (from 10am to 4pm).

Baw Baw Shire Council officers will be at the Recovery and Information Centre to help with your questions. We thank these officers for making themselves available to assist our community and to support our neighbours at Cardinia Shire Council.

More Information

We have set up a dedicated webpage which is being updated regularly with important information to assist residents with recovery from the fires. Here you can find out about upcoming community meetings, donations, livestock management, bushfire aftermath safety tips, water tank safety advice as well as information relating to financial and personal support. To access this information, please visit www.bawbawshire.vic.gov.au/BunyipFires

If there is anyone in our community who would like to get in touch with Council for further support in relief and recovery from these fires, we encourage you to visit the Recovery and Information Centre in Bunyip or call us on 5624 2411 or 1300 BAW BAW (1300 229 229).

We once again thank you all for the incredible display of community spirit and encourage you to remain vigilant and safe out there. Keep looking after one another, Baw Baw!