East Gippsland Shire Council has released its third progress report on the region’s recovery from the 2019-20 East Gippsland Bushfires.
Almost three years since the fires, rebuilding continues but there are ongoing challenges and progress remains slower for a number of residents, Council said in a statement.
In 2020, Council set up the Rebuild Support Service (RSS), in partnership with Bushfire Recovery Victoria (now Emergency Recovery Victoria). The RSS remains available to support bushfire-impacted landowners with specialised planning and building advice, as well as preparation of planning permit applications.
More than 1,200 structures were impacted on private property during the East Gippsland bushfires. Of these, 346 dwellings and 850 other structures, generally sheds and outbuildings, were destroyed.
As of December 2022, 61 landowners have completed dwelling rebuilds with a further 21 under construction. There are also 22 landowners with planning approval for a house rebuild who have not yet started their builds.
Sixty-one properties, where a total of 67 dwellings were destroyed, have been sold since the fires. Council has been advised that another 48 dwellings are not expected to be rebuilt.
Mayor, Mark Reeves said, in general, building was taking significantly longer than usual.
“This is due to difficulties sourcing builders and tradespeople, as well as longer lead times for building materials,” Mayor Reeves said.
“Construction costs have also escalated sharply over the past year. This is requiring some people to reassess what they need to rebuild and options to rebuild a smaller house that still meets their needs. In some instances, there have also been challenges around Bushfire Attack Levels and these can take time to resolve.
“I encourage any bushfire-impacted property owners who would like to know more about the Rebuild Support Service to contact us and find out more about the assist and advice that we can provide. There is no cost for this service and it is obligation free,” he said.