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North East Lower Murray Fire Ag Relief
 
Friday 31 January 2020
Special edition ag news

Agriculture Victoria is supporting East Gippsland landholders impacted by recent fires through animal welfare assessments and assistance, farm impact assessments and the referral of urgent cases of personal need to the appropriate agencies.

Key ag relief contacts

Injured/affected livestock - 1800 226 226 (Vic Emergency Hotline, select '0' then '4' to speak with an operator)

Fodder - 1300 882 833 (Victorian Farmers Federation), email fodder@vff.org.au or call Need for Feed on 0459 444 111

Apply for assistance - www.needforfeed.org/apply-forassistance

Agistment - 1300 882 833 (VFF), 0417 707 504 (Bairnsdale Saleyards)

Emergency livestock water - 1300 555 886 (East Gippsland Shire)

NLIS Helpline - 1800 678 779, Text message: 0437 106 473, Email: nlis.victoria@agriculture.vic.gov.au

Wine grape industry assistance - Yan Lai on mobile 0436 830 944 or email smoke.taint@agriculture.vic.gov.au

HiveAid - capilanohoney.com/au-en/for-bees/hive-aid

Rebuilding fence help - blazeaid.com.au or at www.Facebook.com/blazeaid

Rural Finance - 1800 260 425 or visit ruralfinance.com.au

Eastern Rural Financial Counselling Service - 1300 045 747

Emergency Relief Assistance Payment - 1800 961 054

Disaster Recovery - 180 22 66 (Australian Government)

Key bushfire contacts

Vic Emergency Hotline - 1800 226 226

Bushfire Recovery/Clean-up Program - 1800 560 760

Bushfire recovery general enquiries - 136 186 or see agriculture.vic.gov.au/animalemergencies

Grants

Transport subsidies

Subsidies of up to $15,000 are available for primary producers (including apiarists) affected by bushfires across Victoria.

Primary producers can claim the subsidy on eligible transport costs that directly address immediate animal welfare needs, including the transport of:

  • Emergency fodder for stock to fire-affected properties
  • Stock to agistment (including returning stock)
  • Stock to sale or slaughter
  • Emergency stock drinking water

For more information contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or visit ruralfinance.com.au

Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries

Grants of up to $75,000 per business are available to assist primary producers directly affected by the 2019-20 bushfire disaster events with costs
associated with immediate recovery activities needed to rebuild their primary production enterprises.

Eligible activities include disposing of dead stock, and rebuilding or replacing damaged or destroyed on-farm infrastructure.

For more information contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or visit ruralfinance.com.au

Emergency Re-establishment Payments

Available in East Gippsland and Towong Shires.

The payments provide up to $42,250 per eligible household experiencing financial hardship, that has been affected by fire at their primary place of residence.

Other payments are:

  • Disaster Recovery Payment
  • Disaster Recovery Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance

For more information contact the Australian Government Department of Human Services or call 180 22 66

General support

If you have urgent concerns about the mental health of others or yourself there are services available.

In an emergency you can also call 000 for assistance.

Mental Health Services - 1800 808 284 (available 24 hours)

Nurse on Call - 1300 606 024

1800 RESPECT - 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800respect.org.au/ (24-hour counselling service delivered by qualified experienced professionals)

Kids HelpLine  - 1800 55 1800 or visit kidshelpline.com.au/ (confidential telephone counselling service for
young people aged 5 to 25)

ParentLine Counselling  - 132 289 or visit www.parentline.com.au/ (information for families with children up to 18 years open 8 am to midnight seven days)

MensLine Australia - 1300 789 978 or visit mensline.org.au/ (24-hour counselling and advice for men)

Lifeline - 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/ (24-hour telephone counselling, information and referral service)

Beyondblue - 1300 22 4636 or visit www.beyondblue.org.au/ (provides information on depression and anxiety)

Practical information for managing your farm after a fire

This straightforward checklist is to assist farmers after the damage of bushfire.

FAMILY

  • Ensure the safety and wellbeing of yourself, family and friends
  • Talk to family and friends about your experience
  • Start doing a few small, safe, jobs
  • Manage offers of assistance by recording names and phone numbers
  • Take plenty of photos and notes for insurance and future reference.
  • Identify and isolate on-farm hazards such as: fallen powerlines, asbestos contaminated sites, chemical storage areas, sheep dips and spray areas, lead and other heavy metal contaminated sites (batteries, treated pine, etc.)

STOCK

Manage the health and welfare of your animals by:

  • reporting injured livestock to Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226 so that our animal health staff can assess the livestock
  • euthanise impacted livestock if you are confident that you can do so humanely, or contact Agriculture Victoria for assistance
  • continuing to monitor all stock on a regular basis
  • providing adequate food, water and shelter to remaining animals

WATER SUPPLY

  • Protect your drinking water by diverting downpipes until an initial flush (of roof and pipes)
  • Protect your dam water by: skimming off floating debris and organic matter, trapping ash, debris, organic matter and sediment with closely spaced steel posts, ring-lock, netting or sediment traps, fencing and reticulation, consolidating water supplies with pumps and pipe, removing floating debris off dams after rain, de-silting dams
  • Remove stock if water becomes putrid, looks or smells rotten or has signs of blue green algae (paint-like scum on surface)

FENCING

  • Mark boundary fence alignment prior to clean-up
  • Seek assistance with clearing boundary fence lines
  • Avoid replacing internal fencing immediately; fire offers an opportunity to re-think your farm layout.
  • Consider: patching up old fences wherever possible, identifying a new fence alignment or gate location/s, replacing fencing along land class boundaries, requesting an aerial photo plan of your farm to review your farm layout, seeking advice from Agriculture Victoria staff on re-fencing and whole farm planning

PASTURES

  • De-stock burnt and partly burnt paddocks where possible
  • Seek potential outside agistment
  • Consider building a stock containment area or sacrifice paddock to limit grazing to a defined area (to protect your pastures and soil)
  • Perennial pastures and sub-clover are generally unaffected by fire, however fire can have a major impact on annual pastures
  • Consider setting up a watered pasture trial plot to assess plant survival

SOILS

  • Seek assistance with rehabilitation of firebreaks and access tracks
  • Consider protecting loose, sandy soils from wind erosion with cover crop of oats, deep ripping or ridging
  • Upgrade track drainage to minimise erosion

NATIVE VEGETATION

A significant proportion of native vegetation will survive a bushfire;

  • give it time to recover
  • watch for burning tree roots three to six months after the fire

WEEDS

  • Contain weed spread by feeding stock in one location, such as a containment area
  • Closely monitor areas disturbed by firefighting or recovery activities

FLOODING

Flooding can be a major issue following a bushfire

  • Protect your house and other facilities from flooding with earthen banks or sand bags
  • Install closely spaced steel posts upstream of culverts and stream crossings to trap debris
  • Regularly check your dam spillways and banks for damage
  • Regularly check erosion control structures for damage
Making livestock movement easier after fire

Agriculture Victoria has put in place an exemption to help Victorian producers impacted by fires move their livestock for sale or slaughter.

Acting Executive Director of Biosecurity Services Sharyn Williams said under normal trading conditions livestock owners were required to correct identify cattle, sheep or goats with NLIS tags prior to them leaving their property.

“However, we understand that during emergencies like the recent fires animals might need to be moved urgently – for their own safety, or for sale, treatment or agistment.

“We have put in place an exemption for some livestock movement requirements for Property Identification Code (PIC) holders, within the Victorian fire affected areas,” she said.

Ms Williams said cattle, sheep or goats can be dispatched from a property without an NLIS tag, but the movement must happen with a completed vendor declaration and Agriculture Victoria must be notified of the movement within seven days.

She said if this happens producers should contact the NLIS team.

NLIS team

Email: nlis.victoria@agriculture.vic.gov.au
Text message: 0437 106 473
Phone: Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 799

Ms Williams said if untagged livestock were consigned from properties within a fire affected area to an abattoir, owners must contact the Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline to obtain a permit.

A completed vendor declaration is also needed.

Ms Williams reminded producers that cattle, sheep or goats moved under emergency conditions must be correctly tagged (with a post-breeder tag) at the earliest opportunity after they have been moved.

“Emergency NLIS tags can be purchased by calling the Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline.

“Where animals are tagged, livestock owners are required to notify the NLIS database when they receive livestock from another property, including those arriving on agistment, and that the owner or manager receiving the livestock is responsible for completing the transfer,” she said.

Contacting Agriculture Victoria

Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment
contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or www.relayservice.gov.au.

A full list of our contact points can be found at:
agriculture.vic.gov.au/about-us/contact-us.

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