Gippsland › Latest news › Baw Baw Local News

Baw Baw Shire Council supports community from wild storms offering support for property damage assessment and relief payments

Baw Baw Shire Council provides ongoing support post-storm, offering damage assessment, relief payment guidance, and access to facilities like showers and WiFi. Road clearing prioritised despite power line challenges.

By news@gippsland - 15th February 2024 - Back to News

Tuesday afternoon's storm event has taken an enormous toll on residents and towns in the Baw Baw Shire and council will continue to work with those who have been impacted. The Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) Personal Hardship Assistance Program (PHAP) relief payments are available for eligible community members whose homes have been damaged by the storms in Victoria. You are eligible for a relief payment if:

  • Your principal place of residence is in an evacuation warning area, or storms have damaged your home
  • You have unmet immediate relief needs

Please note that these payments are not available for people who are experiencing power outages alone. If you think you may be eligible for a relief payment, please call the Vic Recovery Hotline: 1800 560 760 (Press 9 for an interpreter if needed).

Tuesday's storm in Baw Baw Shire prompts council's ongoing support efforts for affected residents. Services include damage assessment, relief payments guidance, and access to facilities for showers, charging devices, and WiFi

Tuesday's storm in Baw Baw Shire prompts council's ongoing support efforts for affected residents. Services include damage assessment, relief payments guidance, and access to facilities for showers, charging devices, and WiFi

Waste and food soil disposal

To support the community with the impacts of the storm event, Baw Baw Shire Council will offer storm affected residents the opportunity to dispose of up to 3 cubic metres of acceptable green waste - free of charge.

Residents who have been impacted by loss of power for an extended period of time and do not have capacity to dispose of food spoils in their existing waste service may also dispose of up to 2 x 80L garbage bags of general household waste at the transfer stations - free of charge.

The above will be accepted at all four transfer stations across the Shire from Friday 16 February 2024 until Sunday 25 February 2024. Please note, standard Transfer Station opening times apply.

  • Trafalgar Transfer Station - Sat to Mon: 10.00am to 4.00pm
  • Erica Transfer Station - Mon, Wed, Sun: 12.00pm to 4.00pm
  • Lardner Transfer Station - Every day: 10.00am to 4.00pm
  • Neerim South Transfer Station - Fri and Sun: 10.00am to 4.00pm

Acceptable green waste includes tree debris, branches, foliage and general green waste. Maximum size limit for a large branch is 30cm round and 1m long. No large tree stumps will be accepted.

Flexible waste disposal

To cater for different trailer sizes, residents can either drop off 3 cubic metres at once or in smaller loads over multiple drop offs. Green waste must be delivered in residential vehicles and trailers. Commercial vehicles will be charged at the standard rate.

This support for the community is open to all Baw Baw Shire residents who have been impacted by the storm event, whether they are the property owner or a tenant. As proof of residency, people are asked to bring a driver's licence, plus a rates notice or utility bill showing their address. Residents are asked to please be patient as the transfer stations will be busier than usual.

Device charging and WIFI

The Warragul Leisure Centre is open for those who have been affected by the storm. Here people can use showers (please bring your own toiletries and towels), charge their devices, and access WIFI. For those who need it, the Leisure Centre will be accessible during its usual hours of operation, which are:

  • Monday - Thursday: 6.00am - 8.30pm
  • Friday: 6.00am - 7.00pm
  • Saturday - Sunday: 8.00am - 7.00pm

In Thorpdale, four portable showers have been installed at the Thorpdale Public Hall for any residents who need them. In Trafalgar, the showers and toilets in the Turra Pavilion umpire change rooms will be available for the community to use on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 8am to 6pm. Portable showers are also being considered for other locations and more information will be available soon.

The Drouin, Neerim South and Warragul Myli Library locations also have their doors open for people to come in and access the free WIFI, or to charge their devices. The library opening hours are below:

Drouin Library

  • Monday to Friday: 9.30am - 5.30pm
  • Saturday: 9.30am - 12.00pm

Neerim South Library

  • Friday: 1.00pm - 5.00pm
  • Saturday: 10.00am - 12.00pm

Warragul Library

  • Monday: 9.30am - 6.00pm
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 9.30am - 7.00pm
  • Thursday and Friday: 9.30am - 6.00pm
  • Saturday: 9.00am - 1.00pm

Thorpdale impacts and support

Gippsland Water has urged Thorpdale residents to put off any non-essential water use. This is due to a power outage which is impacting capabilities at Thorpdale pump station. Four portable showers have been organised and are located at the Thorpdale Public Hall. Those who use these are reminded to pack their own toiletries and towels. Latrobe City Council has also made shower facilities available at the Churchill Leisure Centre.

Thorpdale Pop-up BBQ and Information Session - Sat 17 February

Baw Baw Shire Council will host a pop-up information session and BBQ from 9.00am to 1.00pm on Saturday 17 February at the Thorpdale Community Hall.

The sessions will offer the opportunity for residents of the storm-impacted community to connect directly with council and each other. It will be a chance to ask questions and receive updates directly from council officers, and for council to gather and record information from residents who may need ongoing care.

Power outages

We are aware of the huge imposition that the loss of power is causing our residents and encourage people to view the Ausnet power tracker for the latest updates. Although the interactive map is not currently available, they are providing a list of suburbs and estimated time of assessment or power restoration. Please visit Power Outage Tracker website.

In the cases of prolonged power outages, Prolonged Power Outage Payments (PPOPs) may be available. These are administered by electricity distributors. Residents are advised to contact their electricity company directly for more information.

Council service impacts and demand

Council's phone lines have been restored and residents can once again reach customer service again by phoning 5624 2411. Customer Service has also activated its 'Storm Report Sam', a chat bot designed to allow residents to speedily notify council of damage to community assets.

You can also report storm-related damage via the Snap Send Solve app on your phone. Due to the volume of requests, residents are encouraged to use online reporting methods if they can. Including photos is particularly helpful to assist crews in prioritising the most urgent requests.

As of 10.00am on Friday 16 February council had received more than 340 phone calls related to the storm and is managing more than 200 requests for assistance, in addition to other business-as-usual requests. We are prioritising these requests based on urgency and impact and will work through them as quickly as possible.

Blocked roads

Council officers and contractors are actively working to clear any blocked road across the Shire, however unfortunately, progress is being hindered by the presence of downed power lines. When council comes across these hazards, the protocol is to report these to Ausnet and close the affected roads for safety reasons. A list of blocked roads that council is currently aware of includes:

  • Cemetery Road, Yarragon
  • Yarragon Leongatha Road, Yarragon South
  • Wagner Road, Neerim South

Due to limited network availability, council crews are unable to utilise their usual programs and systems for logging jobs. As a result, the process of collating data is slower than usual.

Council-run facilities and pools

We are also aware that some council run facilities have experienced damage due to the severe wind and rain, including the Drouin Recreation Reserve, including its social club rooms, and the Trafalgar Recreation Reserve.

Council will work with the local clubs to assess the damage and get remedial works underway. Council's outdoor pools in Thorpdale and Trafalgar will also be closed due to power outages and we will notify the community when they reopen.

Food safety during an emergency

When the fridge turns off during an extended power outage, food may not be safe to eat. Cold food remains safe to eat while it's still cool to touch (less than 5 degrees Celsius) and for up to four hours after this. It should then be cooked and eaten or thrown away. Keep your food cold and fresh by:

  • Keeping fridge and freezer doors closed and only opening them when necessary
  • Moving refrigerated food to the freezer
  • Covering cold and frozen food with an insulating blanket
  • Checking the internal temperature of food items with a food thermometer before eating

If in doubt, throw it out. Council will continue to provide updates to the community as the situation across the Shire changes.

Pictures from Baw Baw Shire Council website.


Published by:

Edit this news article

Baw Baw Bass Coast Cardinia East Gippsland Latrobe City South Gippsland Wellington
© 2001-2024 Print this page | Subscribe to Newsletter | Feedback / Inquiries | Login
Care has been taken in compiling the component parts of this website. However, does not warrant or represent that the website is free from errors or omissions, that the qualifications claimed by an advertiser are valid or that the published details of any advertiser are as stated on the website. Please review the full statement of our Terms and Conditions of Service and disclaimer.