More than $306,000 has been allocated for practical local solutions to increase bushfire safety and preparedness across some of Victoria's most bushfire prone areas under the Victorian Coalition Government's $5 million Fire Ready Communities program.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan said the first round of grants, announced today during Fire Action Week, would fund a variety of innovative local projects which helped to improve fire preparation, fire awareness and education.
"The projects range from dedicated bushfire community information projects, to establishing telephone trees within the communities, to creating a new community warning siren system to help with evacuation in high-risk bushfire areas," Mr Ryan said.
"For example, just over $40,000 has been allocated to Macedon Ranges Shire Council to pilot a new community-based bushfire readiness model for settlements in the Macedon Ranges where there is currently no formal bushfire plan.
"In Bright, the Alpine Shire Council will use a $30,000 grant to assist with the establishment of a touch screen information facility at Bright Tourism Centre to provide 24 hour access to up to date emergency information to the community and tourists in the area."
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had allocated $5 million over four years to the Fire Ready Communities program and encouraged other councils and community organisations in bushfire prone areas to consider putting their projects forward.
"Communities have the expert, on the ground knowledge to determine solutions to help make their local areas safer and ensure local residents are better equipped to respond in the case of a future bushfire," Mr Ryan said.
"The beauty of many of these projects is that while they are tailored to specific local areas, they can be picked up from one area and modified to suit other bushfire-prone regions."
Mr Ryan said while the program targeted the state's 52 identified high-risk bushfire communities, other communities in high-risk areas could also submit project proposals for consideration.
To apply for Fire Ready Communities 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