As the professional association representing members across the public purpose sector in Victoria, we have been devastated by the unprecedented continuing bushfires and their impact on many Victorian communities, farms, businesses and landscapes including more than a million hectares of public land. Their emerging impact, including on plants, animals and ecosystems – the heritage and country of Victoria’s Traditional Owners - is profound and challenging.
We applaud the professionalism, commitment and bravery of our front-line emergency services agencies, including their volunteer members. This includes Forest Fire Management Victoria, the Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police, the State Emergency Services, the Australian Defence Force and courageous firefighters from other nations. Over 1,000 emergency service personnel are still working to contain fires in the East of the state with much of the summer remaining.
Sadly, some have given their lives in fighting these fires. Our condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of Mat Kavanagh and Bill Slade from Forest Fire Management Victoria for their sacrifice on our behalf.
We also recognise and thank all those who are working on relief and toward what will be an extended and complex recovery led by the new agency, Bushfire Recovery Victoria. This includes the leadership by local governments running evacuations and relief centres, Commonwealth agencies making relief payments and DELWP, its agencies and allies working to help injured animals as well as those restoring essential services like roads, water, electricity and telecommunications.
There is no part of the public purpose sector, and its partner ngos and service providers, which will be untouched by this unfolding disaster.
We are proud to see all three levels of government – local, Commonwealth and State – working collaboratively and systemically with an unwavering focus on supporting Victorian communities, businesses and environments.
IPAA Victoria will seek to contribute to and support the recovery effort and will continue to support the learning from this event. We welcome your suggestions on how we can help, email us here.
IPAA Victoria will hold our planned our Leadership in the Public Sector Awards and International Women’s Day dinners in February and March. We hope these and other IPAA events will be an opportunity to come together and support each other through this challenging period and to take a break from the sustained efforts responding to this disaster.
We know many of our members have been impacted either personally, through colleagues, family members and friends, and the extent of the devastation is distressing for all.
If at any time you are worried about your mental health and wellbeing or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 – a 24-hour telephone service that offers confidential support and advice to help you deal with stress and personal challenges.
You can also contact:
Beyondblue – phone 1300 224 636
Mensline – phone 1300 789
Nurse-on-Call – phone 1300 60 60 24 – a 24-hour telephone service that allows people to discuss any health-related issue with a registered nurse for the cost of a local call
Parentline Victoria – phone 13 22 89 (8am–midnight, 7 days a week) – a telephone service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old
Kids Help Line – phone 1800 551 800 – a 24-hour telephone service that provides phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
Call 000 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.
Below is a list of important information that will help you stay up to date.
Current emergencies: VicEmergency
Victorian Bushfire Appeal: The Victorian Government has partnered with Bendigo Bank and The Salvation Army to establish the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. 100 per cent of donated funds will go directly to communities in need. Click here for more information.
Air quality: EPA Airwatch
For assistance with insurance contact the Insurance Council of Australia on 1800 734 621 (24 hour hotline).
The Victorian Government announced a new permanent and dedicated agency – Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV) – will work directly with local communities impacted by Victoria’s devastating bushfires. Updates regarding the work of BRV are available at vic.gov.au/brv