SO SEVERE was the damage to the shire’s road network from the storm that hit the area overnight on June 9 and 10 that it will cost more than $17 million and 12 months to put it right.

But ratepayers need not be concerned about their hip-pocket nerve.
The South Gippsland Shire Council will be able to recover 100 per cent of the expenditure under the federal government’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

At last week’s shire council meeting, the shire’s administrators authorised CEO Kerryn Ellis to do what needs to be done to get the job done.

More 160 roads were impacted by damaged trees, many of which were completely blocking access to properties.

There were four reported incidents where people were isolated due to blocked access. One of these incidents resulted in two people being airlifted to safety.

In addition to the tree damage, a number of roads were subjected to flooding and landslips.

Council officers, contractors, State Emergency Service, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Australian Defence Force crews undertook emergency response work during the emergency event and over the subsequent days.

The works ensured council’s road network was cleared to a Category C level, that is the roadway was cleared of trees and debris, which in most cases was left on the side of the road.

But now comes the real work.

The DRFA requirements include the need for restorative works to be undertaken by contractors outside of council’s business as usual operations, this will ensure that the shire’s budgeted capital works, in the order of $40 million, will still be completed.

It is anticipated it will take 12 months to complete all the works and bring council’s road network back to its pre-storm condition.