Over 5000 Ha of fencing was destroyed in the 2019/20 bushfires in East Gippsland. The clean-up and replacement of fencing is critical to regional recovery by re-establishing property internal and external boundaries to enable a return to productivity. The capacity to clean-up and replace fencing is driven by the ability to dispose of old fencing, supply of materials and resources to build the fences, and the finances to pay for it.

Boundary fencing. Photo credit – DELWP Gippsland

What is happening

Fencing Stockpile sites have been established for the community to locate impacted fencing materials and ensure ongoing management of stockpile materials. These sites are monitored by EPA to ensure appropriate site management and no dumping of hazardous materials.

A range of services have been provided to assist landholders including grants, public land boundary fence payments and direct assistance by volunteers such as Blazeaid to assist in reestablishment of fences damaged during the fires.

The Victorian Government will pay half the cost of materials to repair or upgrade bushfire-damaged fencing that borders National Parks, State Parks and State Forests. The Government will fund half the cost of materials to provide an upgrade for fire-resistant and pest-resistant fencing to a maximum of $5,000 per kilometre.

Landholders can contact Bushfire Recovery Victoria on 1800 560 760 to initiate the application process.

DELWP will conduct field inspection and data collection, when it is safe to do so, determine eligibility and assistance level and assist the landholder in determining fence type. Once parties formally agree with a signed agreement, a claim is processed, and monies are paid to the landholder.

A claim should be lodged before works commence, or the Government will be unable to cover the payment of materials.

Where fences have been cut or damaged by fire suppression operations, the Government will fully cover the repair or replacement of the damaged section of fence to the pre-existing standard. This includes internal and boundary fences.

Grants of up to $75,000 are also available to primary producers through Rural Finance to help with the costs of rebuilding, including fences.

A key part of re-fencing works is ensuring no hazardous trees impair the removal of old fencing and its replacement. Where trees were fallen by emergency services during the fire, and cause damage to fences, then authorities will assist in their removal.

Who is involved?

A number of agencies are involved in the fencing program

BRV help coordinate assistance working closely with Blazeaid and shires in establishment of volunteer camps and fencing waste dumps.

Ag Vic offers a range of grants to farmers to assist in getting their farms back operating, including a grant of up to $75,000

DELWP undertakes a program to work with neighbours to pay for 50% materials costs in the replacement of burnt boundary fences and emergency services work to repair any damage they cause to fences in fighting the fire.

Feature: Building better fences – wild dog protection

One innovation of this years program was the opportunity to get assistance to upgrade boundary fences to be both fire and pest resistant via the Victorian Government’s public land border fencing scheme.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or information you want to share about our recreation sites please contact – cbushfire@gmail.com

Useful documents and links

East Gippsland shire recovery newsletter

BRV webpage

DELWP webpage

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