Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My member’s statement relates to the ongoing impact of the record-breaking spring rainfalls in western Victoria. The shire communities of Glenelg, Southern Grampians and Buloke, among others, are dealing with the lasting effects of flooding after two major September rainfall events, each a 1-in-20-year event. They produced emergency situations to which the State Emergency Service, the Country Fire Authority and other emergency workers, along with local volunteers, responded quickly and expertly, for which I thank and congratulate them. We have three avenues of financial assistance: an emergency payment to meet immediate needs; the natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements, activated in 27 areas to help local councils clean up and repair infrastructure; and emergency re-establishment payments for devastating impacts on primary places of residence.
While the rains filled farm dams and gave hopes of a good harvest in the south-west, elsewhere there is damage to pastures and possible sheep foot issues. In Buloke Shire, where farmers anticipated excellent harvests after many years of disappointment, there is potential heartbreak as floodwaters slowly drain from the Charlton region into cropped land, inundating low-lying areas. The Glenelg continues to rise and fall, impacting on Casterton, and through western Victoria there is very serious damage to both local and state roads. Many roads are yet to be assessed. Recreation facilities like tennis courts, the Charlton swimming pool and Casterton’s bowling club and Island Park recreational facilities have also been affected.
The efforts of shire employees and members of local organisations are outstanding, but with so much to be done communities need to be supported in their recovery efforts, and I am sure that all of us in this chamber will make sure that this continues to happen.