The Victorian Government will help landholders in bushfire-affected communities repair damaged or destroyed fences between private land and National Parks, State Parks and State forests.
The funding announced today by Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes gives farmers the flexibility to not just replace their boundary fences with a standard fence – as per the existing Government program – but to upgrade them, making them fire-resistant with concrete posts and better able to exclude pests such as wild dogs.
The Government will pay half the cost of these boundary fencing upgrades, up to $5,000 per kilometre.
The announcement will help boost local jobs, with Agriculture Victoria to encourage landowners to engage the services of local contractors.
The Government will also continue to pay 100 per cent of the restoration costs of fences damaged on private land as a result of machinery used by fire agencies to control bushfires, or fire agency staff cutting through fences to allow access for suppression efforts.
A dedicated fencing coordinator in the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) will help landowners decide what option will suit them and arrange payment.
An assessment of the property and the fence damage must be completed before works are undertaken or any payments can be made, and landholders will continue to pay labour costs and half the cost of materials. Landholders can call the DELWP Contact Centre Team on 136 186, Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm.
One million dollars – provided through BlazeAid – is being made available through the Victorian Bushfire Appeal to assist farmers in replacing fences destroyed by the bushfires on their private property.
The Victorian and Commonwealth governments have also made grants of up to $75,000 available to farmers through Rural Finance to help with the costs of rebuilding, including fences and sheds. For more information visit www.vic.gov.au/bushfire-recovery-victoria
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes
“This is great news for our hardworking farmers who have lost so much – helping them rebuild from this devastation and set them up to respond to the modern challenges facing their farms”
“We know that tearing up fencing that’s been damaged by fire is backbreaking work. It’s our job to make sure we’re lending a hand to farmers and landowners as they rebuild.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“This is about helping bushfire affected communities get back on their feet and giving landowners an opportunity to improve boundary fences, rebuilding them to be more fire resistant.”
Quote attributable to Bushfire Recovery Victoria chair Ken Lay
“Every time we’ve visited a fire-affected community, fencing has been raised as a major issue for farmers. It’s great their feedback has been listened to and important steps are being taken to support them.”