Northern Grampians council to lobby for cash for Wimmera municipalities

NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council will lobby for national disaster relief funding on behalf of other Wimmera municipalities.

The funding will aid communities affected by last month’s bushfires.

Mayor Kevin Erwin said councils needed to band together to receive funding.

It comes after communities in the shire did not receive Federal Government Category C funding.

Category C assistance supports the holistic recovery of communities, regions and sectors severely affected by a natural disaster.

“It comes down to criteria – so far we have not met the criteria but we are trying our best,” Cr Erwin said.

“Everyone is aware of the damage caused by the bushfires and Northern Grampians was affected right across the shire.”

Applying for funding will form part of council’s fire recovery plan, which was outlined at Monday’s council meeting.

The plan also acknowledged the works of emergency services and volunteers.

Horsham Rural City chief executive Peter Brown said Northern Grampians staff would advocate for Category C funding for other Wimmera municipalities affected by the fires, including Horsham, Yarriambiack, West Wimmera and Hindmarsh.

He said Northern Grampians staff had extensive experience in this area – particularly Greg Little, who was instrumental in securing Category C funding for flood-affected Joel Joel.

“Northern Grampians has very kindly offered to put in on behalf of all of us,” Mr Brown said.

Northern Grampians councillor Wayne Rice said the shire had seen natural disasters before with fires and floods affecting the region in the past decade.

“We are getting better through experience,” he said. “We have people with the right expertise to help us get through this.

“Grampians National Park was the hardest hit but the losses were small for us – we had no loss of life and minimal building loss.”

Cr Karen Hyslop said it was important recovery work started as soon as possible.

“We need to get things back up and running as they were before,” she said.

“Anything we can do to help will be a bonus to the people affected.

“It is important we lobby to try and help people, especially those who have lost income.”

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