Australia — VICTORIA’S most bushfire-prone communities will be eligible to apply for State Government support grants under a new $5 million Fire Ready Communities program to help build resilience and prepare for a safer future.
Bushfire Response Acting Minister Andrew McIntosh said the Fire Ready Communities program would fund important local initiatives to improve preparation, fire awareness and education targeting the State’s 52 high-risk communities.
The Fire Ready Communities program will be open to applications from community groups and councils to fund local, commonsense works to increase bushfire safety and preparedness, he said.
Importantly, this program recognises that bushfire-prone communities face unique challenges and a one-size-fits-all approach is not always appropriate.
Local residents have the detailed knowledge required on the ground to make communities safer, better informed and more prepared.
The program was designed to support new and existing initiatives that enhance fire safety in communities, such as safety promotion, small equipment purchases and community network projects.
For example, in Alpine communities a UHF community radio network provides reliable two-way communication between the CFA and the community in an emergency. This network does not depend on power supply, landline telephone services or mobile phone coverage, Mr McIntosh said.
The Boolarra and Yinnar communities have established tight community networks, working with emergency service providers to develop a Local Emergency Action Plan that helps prompt people to think about and plan for an emergency.
These are just a couple of examples of local innovation which builds vital networks and provides effective local solutions.”
While the program targets the 52 identified high-risk bushfire communities, the government will welcome project proposals from other communities in high-risk areas and these will be considered on their merits.
To apply for the grants, local councils and community organisations should contact the Department of Planning and Community Development in their region or visit www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/contact-us