South West Fires
The devastating fires that swept through South West Victoria on 17 and 18 March have caused substantial losses of stock and farming assets.
In total, Agriculture Victoria staff visited 290 properties, helping with damage and loss assessments, identifying urgent needs and connecting farmers with recovery programs.
Unfortunately, about 1000 cattle and 2000 sheep died as a result of these fires. There were also significant pasture and fodder losses.
For the latest information on any emergency in Victoria visit emergency.vic.gov.au, download the app or call 1800 226 226.
Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can call VicEmergency via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.
Relief and assistance
Don't go it alone – a range of help is available to help you get back on your feet following the fires.
Community groups in South West Victoria can now apply online for grants of $1500 to run events and initiatives that address mental health and wellbeing as part of the ‘Look Over the Farm Gate’ program.
The Rural Financial Counselling Service offers free and independent financial support to primary producers and agriculture related small businesses. The service can be contacted on 1300 735 578.
Concessional loans of up to $200,000 and $10,000 clean-up and restoration grants are now available. Please note that there are eligibility criteria in order to access the grants. Interested producers should contact Rural Finance directly for further information.
For assistance with insurance contact the Insurance Council of Australia on 1800 734 621 (24 hour hotline)You can find information on lodging a claim following a disaster here: www.disasters.org.au.
The Emergency Fodder Scheme organised by the Victorian Farmers Federation closed on 15 May. Dairy farmers who require advice on feed budgeting are strongly encouraged to contact WestVic Dairy on (03) 5557 1000, while beef and sheep farmers should contact Michele Jolliffe from Agriculture Victoria on 0428 581 883.
If you have been affected by the fires and need confidential emotional or psychological support, available 'on-farm', call the Farmer Community Support Workers on 5563 4000 or 5232 5180. GPs can also provide emotional and psychological support, and can arrange additional assistance.
If you have urgent concerns about your own, or someone else's mental health, call Mental Health Services on 1800 808 284. Other 24 hour helplines include: Lifeline (13 11 14), Kid's Helpline (1800 551 800), MensLine (1300 789 978) and Nurse on Call (1800 022 222).
The guide below details all the support available to farming communities affected by the fire:
If you'd like to make a donation, please visit the South West Victorian Bushfire appeal.
Practical information for managing your farm after a fire
- Assessing cattle after a bushfire
- Assessing sheep after a bushfire
- Horses affected by bushfire
- Disposing of carcasses
- Stock containment areas
- Pasture recovery after fire
- Agisting livestock affected by a bushfire
- Water and pasture after bushfire
- Livestock after an emergency
- Building a sediment fence
- Weed invasion after emergencies
Links to local government recovery pages
- 14 July: ‘Look Over the Farm Gate’ to provide long term fire recovery
- 29 May: Managing pastures after a tough start to the season
- 9 May: Emergency fodder scheme to close on May 15
- 30 April: Assessing feed budgeting and planning needs after the March fires
- 22 April: Recovery grants for fire affected primary producers
- 5 April: Advice to get fire-affected pastures back on track
- 25 March: Livestock tolerating peat fires conditions
- 21 March: Support for fire affected farmers in South-west Victoria
- 19 March: Bushfire disaster assistance for Victorian communities