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Rebuilding after a bushfire is a big job. Everybody has different circumstances and will make different choices, and that’s okay.
We know that not everyone wants to rebuild straight away. You can access these supports when you are ready.
Financial Counselling support
As you look at rebuilding, there is a lot to think about in terms of financing the build, accessing or drawing on insurance, and managing old and new debt obligations. Having structured, unbiased, free professional assistance with understanding those issues will go a long way to ensuring you are set up to do the rebuild on a sound and sustainable basis.
Financial counselling is a free, confidential, non-judgmental and independent service available to anyone affected by the bushfires.
Your local financial counsellor can provide you with an overall financial health check, and help you to:
- review and understand your insurance options
- access relief for utility bills and other payments
- negotiate with your bank on debt issues
- explore your options and can 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.
Anglicare Bushfire Financial Counselling:
Upper Murray Family Care Financial Counselling:
- (02) 6055 8000 (Wodonga) or (03) 5720 0000 (Wangaratta).
This program services the Ovens Murray, Murray and Hume regions.
The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments have made up to $27,000 in rebates available for landowners whose properties were destroyed or significantly damaged by the 2019-20 Eastern Victorian bushfires.
There are 3 rebate programs available:
- Planning and Building Assistance Rebate Program
- Rainwater and Septic tank Replacement Program
- Geotechnical Assessment Rebate Program
You can read rebate program guidelines and apply for rebates on the Melbourne Water .
Planning and Building Assistance Rebate Program
This program offers rebates for professional services and property-based assessments and advice you need to support a planning or building permit application to rebuild or repair a dwelling.
This rebate provides up to $5,000 per affected property, for services such as:
- preparation of a concept plan
- preparation of a planning permit application report and any related supporting technical reports, including those related to bushfire planning or hazard assessments and other environmental considerations
- land surveying, building set out, civil or structural engineering reports or equivalent
- arborist reports
- planning consultant fees
- building permit fees.
Applicants can submit multiple applications for rebates; however, the total value of your rebates will not exceed $5,000.
Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program
This program helps replace rainwater and septic tanks on impacted properties. This builds longer term resilience and sustainability for households by supporting the purchase and installation of rainwater tanks and septic systems that meet current Australian standards and local council requirements.
The rebate covers:
- up to half the cost of purchasing and installing a new:
- primary use rainwater tank system to residents rebuilding homes, up to a maximum of $3,000
- primary use septic tank system to residents rebuilding homes, up to a maximum of $15,000
- the full cost of:
- the initial refill of the rainwater tank installed as part of this program, up to a maximum of $500
- assessments required for council approval to install or alter a septic system, including condition reports undertaken by a qualified plumber and Land Capability Assessments, up to a maximum of $1,500
- any minor repairs or reconnections required if the tank systems are relatively undamaged and comply with current standards, up to a maximum of $2,500
- relevant associated costs, up to the maximum outlined above, including:
- purchase of a rainwater or septic tank system
- purchase of associated plumbing and materials connected to the system
- installation costs and delivery charges.
Geotechnical Assessment Rebate Program
This program provides rebates for up to 80% of the cost of:
- a standard soil report to support an application for a Building Permit, up to a maximum of $400.
- a full geotechnical assessment, to satisfy the requirements of either:
- the Erosion Management Overlay in the East Gippsland Planning Scheme to the satisfaction of the East Gippsland Shire Council, up to a maximum of $2,000, or
- the Steep Land local policy of the Towong Planning Scheme for a proposed building site with slope of 20% or greater, to the satisfaction of the Towong Shire Council, up to a maximum of $2,000.
The support will be provided as a one-off rebate payment to eligible applicants for 80% of the cost of a geotechnical assessment required under the planning scheme, up to a maximum amount.
Private Overhead Electric Line Scheme
The Victorian Government’s $5 million Private Overhead Electric Line (POEL) Scheme has been running since September 2020 in high bushfire risk areas of Alpine, Towong and East Gippsland and is now expanding to the following ten additional Local Government Areas:
- Baw Baw
- Yarra Ranges
The POEL Scheme fully funds the replacement of eligible private overhead powerlines with safer underground connections, including in those areas most affected by the 2019-20 Eastern Victorian bushfires.
Removing old private powerlines helps reduce powerline bushfire ignitions and increases community safety and resilience.
Applications are open to 5pm on Thursday 30 June 2022 (subject to available funding).
Eligibility requirements have recently been broadened to include POELs that are partially or fully bare-wire (uninsulated) regardless of whether or not there is a defect notice. Insulated POELs with an urgent or significant defect are also now included under the Scheme.
To date, the Victorian Government has replaced 736 kilometres of overhead powerlines across the state to reduce the risk of powerlines starting bushfires.
For more information and to make an application, visit the website or email email@example.com.
Download this information as a factsheet:
Reviewed 24 November 2022