Bushfire Buy-Back Discussions Completed

Bushfire Buy-Back Discussions Completed

Victoria Deputy Premier Peter Ryan

Victoria Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan

Coalition Govt Voluntary Bushfire Buy-Back Consultations Complete

Victor P Taffa

More than 200 people in bushfire-affected communities have participated in information and consultation sessions across Victoria as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s voluntary bushfire buy-back scheme.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan said there had been a positive response to the Coalition Government’s initiative, which was moving to deliver on Recommendation 46 of the Bushfires Royal Commission.

“I want to thank everyone who took the time to attend the 80 information and consultation sessions, which were largely one-on-one or small group format, in what is a significant scheme for bushfire-affected communities.” Mr. Ryan said.

“The majority of those who attended were landowners who lost their principal place of residence, while neighbouring landowners and community leaders were among those who joined the sessions.”

Sessions were conducted between 10 November and 9 December in the fire-affected communities of Bendigo, Chum Creek, Churchill, Flowerdale, Kinglake, Marysville, Myrtleford, St. Andrews, Strathewen, Wandong, Whittlesea, and Yarra Glen, with extra sessions held in Melbourne to complete the consultation process.

Issues raised included:

  • The future use of the land acquired, as landowners don’t want to increase the bushfire risk in their communities;
  • The maintenance of all land in bushfire prone areas, whether that be by private landowners, local or state government, or other agencies;
  • How long the acquisition process will take, and how valuations will be undertaken.

Mr. Ryan said many landowners had expressed a strong commitment to their land and their community at the recent consultations.

“Selling their land is a watershed moment in the recovery process for fire-affected landowners and I’m proud this government is giving that option in line with the Bushfires Royal Commission final recommendations.” Mr. Ryan said.

Mr. Ryan said now the sessions were complete, information would be collected and finalised details of the scheme would be announced in the new year.

“Applications will be open from 1 March 2012 and an application form will be sent to those who have already expressed an interest.” Mr. Ryan said.

“After 31 May we will know the number of applications and will be able to write to each applicant informing them of when we are likely to assess their property and make an offer if they are eligible.”