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East Gippsland Shire Council holds post-Boxing Day storm meeting in Buchan with focus on recovery coordination and infrastructure repair

East Gippsland Shire Council led a post-Boxing Day Storm meeting in Buchan, collaborating with the local association for recovery updates and community involvement in cleanup and planning.

By news@gippsland - 8th January 2024 - Back to News

East Gippsland Shire Council hosted a Boxing Day Storm recovery update meeting on Monday, January 8, for the Buchan community. The meeting, held in conjunction with the Buchan, Gelantipy & Districts Renewal Association at Buchan Community Hall, included response and recovery updates from council and other key agencies. Council's Manager of Emergency Management, Kath Smith, said council has been actively working with the community to help with the clean-up, impact assessments and recovery planning.

East Gippsland Shire Council convened a storm recovery update meeting in Buchan Community Hall, collaborating with local associations for response updates

East Gippsland Shire Council convened a storm recovery update meeting in Buchan Community Hall, collaborating with local associations for response updates

Guiding infrastructure recovery

Ms Smith said, "While a significant amount of the damage to public infrastructure was within Parks Victoria and Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation-managed Buchan Caves Reserve, which will remain closed until further notice, council is leading the municipal recovery coordination."

Recovery coordination includes:

  • Information for community
  • Coordination of community recovery services
  • Clean-up and reinstatement of public infrastructure managed by council
  • Impact assessments
  • Supporting business
  • Helping the community access support services

Council will lead the coordination of the broader recovery effort, in addition to the ongoing bushfire recovery, guided by the Bushfire Recovery Plans, Municipal Emergency Management Plan and the community's own Buchan, Gelantipy & Districts Community Renewal Plan.

Buchan recovery progress

Monday's meeting gave the community a chance to discuss the recent event with council and other agencies and hear about the work underway by the community, council and other agencies. Buchan Caves are currently closed pending an assessment by Parks Victoria, however, key visitor sites remain accessible, including the Swing Bridge spanning Buchan River and nearby two-tiered W Tree Falls, which cascades some 20 metres.

Buchan Heritage Group has also created a series of town walks which can be downloaded at Buchan Community website. Council reported at the meeting that its crews are conducting impact assessments of storm-damaged infrastructure, with critical roads being a focus of the teams.

It is hoped that some key roads can be assessed and deemed safe so that visitors to the area can access spots such as popular picnic area Rocky Knob, which is temporarily closed pending an assessment of Basin Road. The key message to come out of the meeting is that Buchan is open for business and council is working with the community and agencies to support the community bouncing back.

Assessing the impact

One of council's roles is to complete secondary-impact assessments. These assessments started last week and 26 have been undertaken across households, farms, businesses, and community, education and health facilities. In some of these cases, residents and businesses have been referred to support agencies.

Farming impacts have mainly been fencing and paddock damage, some stock loss, and track and road access. Most residents are getting on with their own clean-up, which has been supported by council through free waste disposal and septic tank inspection and pumping.

Business support

Members of the council's Economic Development team have been in Buchan meeting with individual business, the BTA and the Renewal Association. Council will contact all businesses, but a visit can be arranged by phoning (03) 5153 9500.

Council will continue to work with marketing partners, including East Gippsland Marketing and Destination Gippsland, to promote visitation to Buchan and opportunities in the area outside of the Buchan Caves.

Roads and public infrastructure

Roads that are damaged will have hazard signage installed where required, however, road users are asked to take precautions when driving on roads that are damaged as conditions may change. Landslips can also occur in the days and weeks following a storm event. Emergency works have taken place on damaged public roads and infrastructure, and reconstruction works will follow over the coming months.

Some roads that have been heavily impacted may require engineering investigation and design, which can delay repair work. Damaged roads that do not require engineering design will be repaired within the next three months. Council will continue to monitor damaged roads and allocate works to contractors to ensure the recovery of essential public infrastructure. Damaged roads can also be reported to council.

Large amounts of debris have been cleared by council crews. Grass mowing of public spaces has been limited until rocks are removed from grassed areas, which is expected in the coming days. You can report issues through Snap Send Solve app, at or (03) 5153 9500.

Support is available

Council can assist linking businesses and residents with a range of supports. Information, FAQs, updates and useful links are available on council's website or by calling (03) 5153 9500. Donations to support the Buchan community can be made through the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund website.

Pictures from Buchan Street Hall Facebook page.


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