State help will be needed for storm clean up
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, says state government assistance will be needed to clean up Gippsland after last week’s destructive storm.
Mr O’Brien spoke to Acting Premier, James Merlino, yesterday and impressed upon him the need for on-the-ground support to rectify flood and storm damage and clean up fallen trees in the coming months.
“This has been a massive and widespread storm and I’m conscious that as I speak there are still people through Gippsland without power. But after traveling around on the weekend it is clear to me that the clean up of flood damage and fallen trees will be beyond the immediate capacity of our local councils.
“I understand staff from DELWP have already been engaged to help and that is a good thing, but more will be required. The sheer number of trees down is phenomenal.
“Our amazing SES volunteers, local farmers, council workers and contractors have down a great job clearing roads to get them open, but there is still a lot of work to do and the state agencies could help. The state may even need to call on help from the ADF if necessary.
“I’d like to thank all our SES, local farmers, council staff, first responders and AusNet and Telstra teams for all their work in getting the region back up and going, as well as the many volunteers helping out in our communities. Our community spirit has shone through with people looking after their neighbours and the vulnerable, especially those without power.”
Mr O’Brien was joined on Monday by Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh, who toured Gippsland to see the devastation first hand.
“Once the flood threat eased in Sale on Saturday morning, I spent the weekend touring my electorate and felt it was important for Mr Walsh to see the damage and appreciate that it is not restricted to flooding in Traralgon.
“We still have people without power and telecommunications five days after the event which must be reviewed by authorities in the aftermath.
“I have also asked the State Government to place a moratorium on the ban on roadside collection of firewood. There is so much timber down and it would be foolish not to allow people to collect wood where it is safe to do so and they can get vehicles well off the road. They’ll be helping with the clean-up anyway.”
State and Federal assistance has been activated for those in emergency need and can be found at www.emergency.vic.gov.au/relief/#financial_assistance. Power outages can be tracked at www.outagetracker.com.au and keep up to date on emergency warnings via the Vic Emergency app or at www.emergency.vic.gov.au
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien surveys flood and storm damage over the weekend.