The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has welcomed a partnership between the Federal and State Governments to deliver a $9.4 million Council Priority Betterment Program, to help flood affected communities recover and prepare.
The program will be available to 14 of the worst impacted councils from the October 2022 floods, which are: Buloke, Campaspe, Central Goldfields, Gannawarra, Loddon, Moira, Murrindindi, Benalla, Bendigo, Hepburn, Mildura, Pyrenees, Shepparton and Strathbogie.
MAV President, David Clark, said councils would be thankful that the calls of the MAV had been heard.
“This is a good announcement. As our climate changes, it’s only logical we build back disaster-hit infrastructure to a higher, more resilient standard and betterment funds like this allow councils to do so,” Cr Clark said.
“The MAV has been talking about betterment for a decade but we have been specifically asking for a betterment fund since the October 2022 floods.
“We thank the State and Federal Governments for working together to deliver this important funding but note the floods caused at least $350 million in damage across 63 councils, it needs to be the first of many steps in supporting our councils to build back better.
“Recovery from serious disaster damage costs significant amounts of money. Thankfully, in states like Queensland where betterment funds have been in place, we’ve seen significant savings from assets that have been rebuilt to a higher standard through the betterment fund and then been subject to subsequent disasters.”
Cr Clark noted that the fund was specific to the 2022 flood event, but hoped it was a sign of more to come.
“With $9.4 million announced for 14 councils, this is a modest start, but the MAV is looking at this as a first step in the right direction. We’ll continue to call for a more permanent betterment fund to be put in place.”