Asking questions

A list of the most frequently asked questions is listed below.  If you'd like to add another, please get in touch and we'll add it to the list.


What is Council doing to support the planning and rebuilding works for private property?

Council encourages anyone considering the repair and or rebuilding of their home to reach out to the Planning team to have a discussion. 

Whilst we are in the process of building a small team to provide specialised advice for storm related rebuilding we are asking people to contact Marcella Simone from Planning Services on 1300 368 333

Planning Services are able to provide information relating to Erosion Management Overlays, Bushfire Management Overlays, septic tank requirements and planning controls for trees and native vegetation. 

Find out more at Planning and building support after emergencies


What work needs to be done to reduce the fire risk for the summer after the storm damage?

Council is focussed on the most urgent works required prior to summer to reduce the fire risk on Council-owned and managed land. There is a lot of work that still needs to be completed, and some of the clean up work will take months and years to be completed.

Council will also be working with the fire agencies to understand the work they are undertaking prior to summer, and to increase community awareness of fire planning.

Community members also have responsibilities in fire management on private land, and Council will support where it can, understanding the complexities of removing the debris.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get personal and practical support after the storms?

Community members seeking support can book a virtual appointment with a number of agencies including:

  • Eastern Community Legal Centre,
  • Insurance Council of Australia,
  • Yarra Water
  • Yarra Ranges Council planning and building officers 

Call the closest Recovery Hub on the numbers below to make an appointment.  

Or call the Storm and Flood Recovery Support Hotline 1800 560 760

What is the Storm and Flood Recovery Support hotline?

Victorians impacted by the June 2021 storms and floods can call the state-wide 1800 560 760 for assistance. Operators can help you access available recovery supports including:

  • Registering for the Clean-Up of structures or the assessment of hazardous trees on private property
  • Connecting you with a Recovery Support Worker for practical health and wellbeing support
  • Providing information around available financial and other support 

Visit https://www.vic.gov.au/storm-clean-up-program to find out more.


Trees & clean up

What is Council doing with the wood and tree debris being collected?

More than 31,000 tonnes of wood, stump and branch debris has been collected by Yarra Ranges Shire since the June storm.

We are continuing to process the material into mulch and firewood for use in the community, as well as retaining logs and other materials for community projects, landscaping, playspaces, and habitat logs. 

There’s work still to be done around tree inspection and removal along many roadsides and this will continue as more than 800 roads are inspected.

In the months following the storm logs were being temporarily stockpiled and Council was working with other agencies to assess how they can be most effectively and respectfully utilised. Already, a large proportion of these fallen trees have been reused in a variety of locations including helping to landscape the Yarra Valley Trails. Others have been given to the community for use by artists or community groups including the Yering based, Lilydale and Mooroolbark Pony Club who have been making use of some new jumps as equestrian obstacles.

Blackwood logs which came down in the storm are a very popular species of tree, which is why following an expression of interest process we gave 182 to a variety of artists, sculptors and community groups in our region. We hope to see some of these trees make their way back into the community.

Additionally, certain fallen logs and stumps collected during the storm clean-up are being repurposed in bushland sites to create habitat for our local fauna including the threatened Powerful Owl.

For more information on how Council is using and repurposing fallen storm debris click here.

When will my trees and branches be collected as part of Council’s Storm Event Tree and Branch Collection?

Yarra Ranges Council is providing a second Special Storm Event Tree Branch Collection for residents in the Dandenong Ranges to further assist with clean up following the severe storm in June 2021.

This collection is by registration only and due to funding constraints, the second round of the Special Storm Event Tree Branch Collection is only available to residents living in suburbs that were severely impacted by the June 2021 storm. These suburbs include: Selby, Kallista, Tremont, Ferny Creek, Sassafras, Olinda, Monbulk, Silvan, Kalorama, Mount Dandenong, Wandin and Mount Evelyn.

Throughout the year, the annual bundled branch collection will assist residents to remove any extra tree debris that may have fallen as a result of recent storms. Find out more about the collection including your collection dates at  Bundled Branch Collection Yarra Ranges Council

 Find out more about the collection

Where can I access the mulch?

Council has produced 17,700m3 of mulch (equivalent to seven Olympic sized swimming pools) which has been distributed for community to collect.

While there will be many happy gardens and gardeners across our municipality, our free mulching program has been brought to an end.

We are aware that these locations may now be the site of illegally dumped mulch and Council is mindful of the potential fire risks associated with this as the weather warms up.

Residents can report dumped material to Council on 1300  368 333.


Can I get firewood if I am a community member or community group?

Following the June 9 storm event some firewood was made available for residents at a range of designated collection points across the municipality.

Collection spots have now been fully booked, though we will continually assess the amount of firewood and potentially list new pick-up dates, depending on demand and restrictions.

Check this page for updates on the availability of firewood. 


What is Council doing with some of other pieces of wood?

Council has set aside a mix of wood material that may be suited to various community projects and initiatives, such as landscape logs, habitat logs, and some low grade milling logs.  

Although green, some smaller branches may be able to be dried and turned down the track. We’re in the process of developing that program.

Please contact Alison Fogarty on a.fogarty@yarraaranges.vic.gov.au to register your interest in getting more information. 

Is there a private property clean up program?

Yarra Ranges Council has welcomed the State Government's announcement of up to $650,000 in grant funding to support local communities affected by the June 2021 Storm.

As part of a regional partnership, $650,000 will be shared by Yarra Ranges Council and Cardinia Shire Council, to support volunteer clean-up groups, Habitat for Humanity Victoria and Treasuring Our Trees.

This funding will help facilitate extended private property clean-up efforts across the region.

If you require heavier/larger debris to be removed from your property please contact Sue Jack, Recovery Centre & Outreach Coordinator on 0477 056 265.

What help is available for hazardous trees on private property?

Residents should speak to their insurance companies to understand what assistance is available under the policy.

If the private tree you are concerned about has not been affected by the recent storm, or is not threatening a place of residence, the normal process for applying for a private tree inspection must be followed.

Find out more private tree inspections

We are receiving significantly more requests for inspection of trees on private property than normally experienced, which will result in some delay to inspections being completed.

For more general information on tree removal visit:

What is Council doing about trees on roadsides and in reserves?

The June storm has resulted in a significant increase in the number of requests for inspections of trees on roadsides and in reserves.

We have also run a proactive tree audit on the roads in the worst affected areas and approximately 830 roads were affected by the June storm. 

In that time Council has cleared the majority of roads and roadsides. 

Community input

What is Council’s focus for recovery of the Yarra Ranges?

Council is very focussed on the longer term needs of the Yarra Ranges in recovering from the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic as well as the June flood and storm. This includes the built and natural environment, economic and social wellbeing of the impacted communities. 

Community-led recovery is an important focus for us. This means drawing on the expertise, knowledge, networks and skillsets of community members and community groups across the Yarra Ranges Shire to guide and implement activities. 

How can I be involved in the planning the recovery activities?

Council is running an Expression of Interest (EOI) process for community members interested in being part of the four Regional Community Recovery Committees (RCRC) that will work with Council to help plan and guide activities.  

These Committees will focus on not just the storms and flood recovery, but the consequences of COVID19, and other emergencies as they occur. More information will be provided in the next few weeks about the process.  

Learn more about the RCRC

Telecommunications & electricity

Thirty four of our communities lost mobile and broadband service over the first three days of the June storms, and communication blackspots are an ongoing issue for Yarra Ranges residents and businesses.

Additionally, 46 townships had power outages due to the storms, some for many weeks, impacting businesses and community members in a range of ways.   

NBN and Ausnet have provided further information regarding the work undertaken through the flood and storm response below. 


Why did it take so long to restore power, what was the priority?

The damage from this storm was greater than anything we’d seen before. The weather front didn’t let up for two days, it took us time to get in and assess the damage before we could begin repairs.

We managed to restore power to almost 80% of impacted customers within the first 48hrs, but this was a major storm that caused significant damage and we worked around the clock to restore the power as quickly and safely as we possibly could.

It took some time to access the area and to fully understand the extent of the damage and the scale of the recovery and repair. Our field crews always work as safely and as quickly as possible and these conditions were particularly challenging. We requested back up from interstate crews to help us with the rebuilding efforts.

The repairs alone took some time, but there were also actions such as tree clearing that needed to be completed before we could get to the actual repair work.

We can't switch on power to a line until it is repaired all the way along. Before a line can be switched on, we need to be 100% sure that the entire line is repaired or else we risk the safety to homes, to the lineys working on restoring power, the potential of causing further damage to the network.

We know that didn’t help the people who suffered without power for such a long time – and we apologise again for the distress that this caused. Because of the extreme damage to the Dandenongs region, we implemented a dedicated Dandenongs rebuild plan and kept the community updated each step of the way.

Will powerlines be put under ground?

We’ve made significant investments in the network to improve reliability and indeed do have targeted replacements of underground wires where feasible. In the past year we maintained 6,900 km of underground cable to communities.

It is quite a complex process to put an entire network underground around existing towns, cities and other competing infrastructure.

Underground powerlines also have drawbacks, we all love vegetation and trees, to underground an entire network would require significant clearing of trees, damaging environmental effects of digging trenches removing soil and disrupting vegetation, habitats and cultural heritage sites.

There’s also cost considerations, with Victorian energy bills likely to be impacted by putting an entire network underground. When there is a problem with an underground fault it takes considerably longer to find it, dig it up and repair it.

What’s being done to minimise power disruptions?

We’ve done a lot of work to improve reliability around the network and we invest a lot to continuously improve reliability and maintain our network to Australian safety standards.
We work to maintain a reliable network every day of the year. In the last year alone, we trimmed 216,000 trees in high-risk bushfire areas to increase safety. We proactively identified 5,700 trees for removal to improve safety during bushfire season.

In the past year we carried out 80,000 pole inspections to support the network and maintained 38,200 km of overhead powerlines to keep you connected.
Our total network covers an area of 80,000 km, with 93% in rural and regional areas

*Information provided by Ausnet 


Where is nbn’s restoration up to?

nbn has restored all but three services impacted by the storms on 9 June and the winds in late July.

The remaining customers have a case manager assigned and nbn is working to restore their services safety and as quickly as possible.

How will nbn manage the network in the area going forward?

As part of our network recovery processes, we conduct a review of the response and recovery to inform how we manage the network in the area going forward.

The review process includes: an assessment of the damage incurred by the network; the impact to customers; the potential for resilience improvements and nbn’s restoration process.

When assessing the potential for resilience improvements, nbn has criteria in place to inform its decision-making processes. Considerations include the current technology, geological assessments of the area and cost estimates.

This process in relation to the 9 June storms and July winds has begun and we expect it will take approximately three months.

How to report future outages

If you experience an outage following a weather event, monitor the nbn website and the website of your internet provider for updates on outages in the area.

Your first point of contact should always be your internet provider who will manage your enquiry and can raise a single service fault with nbn if required.

Once this is done, please ensure you note the incident number provided by your internet provider as nbn will use this as reference to track your query.

You can find more information on the nbn website.


What is Council doing to support communities around telecommunication blackspots?

Council is undertaking an in-depth study to gain a greater understanding of the mobile and broadband issues within the community, including a community survey of fixed and wireless internet services in homes and businesses, as well as blackspot drive testing.

That will shape a formal submission to the State Government’s Connecting Victoria program – a $550 million initiative to improve mobile and broadband connectivity across the state.

Public submissions to the Connecting Victoria survey can be made online until September 20 at engage.vic.gov.au/connecting-victoria.

For more on Council actions: https://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Testing-Folder/Engage-Yarra-Ranges/Telecommunications-survey

Preparing for future emergencies

How is Council preparing for future emergencies?

Council works with a range of emergency services agencies to assist communities before, during and after emergencies.

Yarra Ranges Council has legislated responsibilities in responding to emergencies to support communities.

As well as listening to community members, Council is in the process of undertaking a debrief to understand what actions we can take to improve the way we operate alongside agencies in the response, relief and recovery phases of an emergency to better support those most in need. 

Visit the Emergency section on the Yarra Ranges website for more information.

How can community members plan for emergencies?

There are a range of resources available to help community members plan for when there is an emergency. It can happen quickly, and unexpectedly and sometimes there is little time to make decisions about your own safety.

Getting the information you need can be difficult during a power outage or incident that impacts mobile and internet access or when access is already patchy.

Plan for what you’ll do in the event of an emergency. 

A battery powered radio is one analogue option, but in the event that you do have access, if you know a storm or high fire danger day is coming, make sure your mobile phone is fully charged, have the VicEmergency App and Emergency + apps downloaded and the numbers of the emergency services assistances lines saved in your phone.