Message from Russell Northe MP – Dec. 2011

As we approach the summer period, it is important that we are all very aware of the fire season and ensure our properties are well prepared to reduce the fire risk.

I encourage community members to visit the CFA website (www.cfa.vic.gov.au) and have a read through the Fire Safety Section. From here you can download the Fire Ready Kit which is incredibly important for those living in our more rural communities.

I would like to acknowledge the fantastic work that our local CFA members and volunteers do for our communities, along with the Yinnar and Boolarra Community Recovery Committee. They have done great work within Boolarra and District and have played and will continue to play an important role in our region.

In the wake of the 2009 bushfires the Government will be implementing a Bushfire Buy-back Scheme as part of its commitment to implement all the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report.

In it’s Final Report, the Royal Commission noted that landowners in extraordinarily high-risk locations have little option but to re-build if they cannot sell and move on. The Commission recommended that “the State develop and implement a retreat and resettlement strategy for existing developments in areas of unacceptably high bushfire risk, including a scheme for non-compulsory acquisition by the State of land in those areas”.

The Government is seeking feedback from potentially eligible landowners on the proposed approach, application process and timing of the Scheme, and held two Information and Consultation Sessions in Churchill on 1-2 December.

Landowners will have received a letter with details of these sessions. If you did not receive a letter, you can phone (03) 8685 1314 for information. If you are not a landowner whose principal place of residence was destroyed but would like more details of Information and Consultation Sessions you can register as above, however you may be placed on a waiting list.

Information on the proposed Bushfire Buy-back Scheme is available on the Department of Justice website: www.justice.vic.gov.au/buyback

I recently had the opportunity to visit Boolarra to unveil the new cabinet for the Boolarra Quilting Group’s magnificent Bushfire Quilt. I understand that this quilt was constructed with gifts of materials, sewing machines and equipment, and it is fantastic to see it hanging in pride of place in the Memorial Hall. I pass on my congratulations to the group for this wonderful piece of work, and it was fantastic to catch up and discuss the progress happening in Boolarra.

I also wanted to pass on my congratulations to those involved with the Boolarra Open Gardens event, held in November.  Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the gardens, but I have heard it was a great success with many diverse gardens which were of interest to everyone.

It was also fantastic to see the Old Mill Site included which has had a lot of work done by the Boolarra South Landcare Group who do so much great work in enhancing and preserving the beautiful environment around the Boolarra district.

I thank the owners for opening your gardens on the day and making your fantastic displays available to the public.  I am sure it was much appreciated by those who came along on the day and I look forward to attending this event next year.

I wish all community members the very best and wish you all a very merry Christmas and safe and happy New Year.

Russell Northe,
Member for Morwell,
66 George Street, Morwell,
5133 9088,
www.russellnorthe.com.au.