FOUR Wimmera councils have discussed planning strategies for animal welfare support during emergency weather events.
Representatives from Horsham, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack and West Wimmera councils participated in an emergency response exercise at Dimboola last week.
It gave council staff and emergency services agencies a chance to examine ways to implement the recently approved Partner Councils' Animal Welfare Support Plan.
The group discussed impacts to domestic livestock, companion animals and wildlife as a result of a severe storm event.
Wimmera Emergency Management Team project co-ordinator Phil Kuhne said the exercise provided an opportunity to plan for the future.
“At the moment, the information that was developed at the exercise is being evaluated to see what future activities might be undertaken to strengthen capabilities in that area,” he said.
“It was the first time that we held something like this with all four councils involved.
“We looked at our plan to see what we can do from a local capacity during these events, and also looked at ways to work with the state and federal governments if higher help is needed.”
The exercise included presentations from Moorabool Shire Council, Agriculture Victoria, Luv-a-Duck and the Environmental Protection Authority.
The keynote presenters provided insights into their role in an emergency that impacts on animals, and how that emergency may also impact their business.
“One of the things we discussed was the welfare of livestock during storms,” he said.
“We want to raise awareness that the owner is responsible for the welfare of their livestock, but it is also about sharing responsibilities too.”
Mr Kuhne said the first session had been successful and that more would be planned for the future.
"It was great to see the level of interest from across the Wimmera and the level of initiative and improvisation demonstrated by the participants," he said.
“The activity was well attended and provided an opportunity for key stakeholders to apply some of the operational aspects of the new plan without the pressures of a real emergency event.”