2019-20 Eastern Victorian Bushfire Rebuilding Rebate Programs

Logos for Bushfire Recovery Victoria and Victoria State Government

The Victorian and Commonwealth Governments have announced support schemes providing up to $27,000 in rebates for properties destroyed or significantly damaged by the Eastern Victorian bushfires that occurred from 21 November 2019.

These programs will support households to:

  • obtain professional services and property-based assessments and advice required to support planning and/or building permit applications to rebuild or repair a dwelling (Bushfire Recovery Planning and Building Assistance Rebate Program - East Gippsland and Towong Shire Councils only)
  • replace rainwater and/or septic tanks on their primary place of residence
    (Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program)
  • undertake geotechnical assessments
    (Geotechnical Assessment Rebate Program – East Gippsland and Towong Shire Councils only).

The Victorian Government is providing this support to:

  • help ensure affected households have access to usable water and safe disposal of wastewater
  • facilitate the rebuilding process and reduce the financial burden of compliance
  • assist people to rebuild and replace their previous home with a dwelling that complies with the appropriate Bushfire Attack Level.

Collectively, these programs aim to achieve longer-term resilience and sustainability for communities located in these bushfire-affected areas.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the rebate programs you must:

  • be the landowner or have the permission of the landowner to apply on their behalf
  • have evidence of your ownership of the property at the time of the fires
  • demonstrate that your property’s buildings, rainwater tanks or wastewater systems were damaged from direct impacts of an Eastern Victorian bushfire, as verified through the bushfire recovery clean-up process 
  • have sought available insurance arrangements prior to applying for the program 
  • intend to rebuild your home or building in the same Local Government Area and require one of the following:
    • a planning and/or building permit for rebuilding
    • rainwater and/or septic tank installations
    • geotechnical assessment.
  • submit your application by 31 May 2023.

Additional criteria apply to each program – see Program guidelines for further information.

If you have any extenuating circumstances that have caused unforeseen costs or have impacted your eligibility, please contact Melbourne Water to discuss your application.

Program guidelines

All programs offer rebates for any work completed since the bushfires began on 21 November 2019. Please read the program guidelines carefully to understand the full eligibility requirements and what you need to provide as part of your application, including receipts and proof of satisfactory installation.

Bushfire Recovery Planning & Building Assistance Rebate Program

Bushfire Recovery Planning & Building Assistance Rebate Program

Funding available

The program will provide rebates for costs up to the value of $5,000 per affected property for any combination of professional services and property-based assessments and advice, required to support a planning and/or building permit application to rebuild or repair a dwelling within the subject municipalities, such as:

  • preparation of a concept plan
  • preparation of a planning permit application report and any related supporting technical reports, including those related to bushfire planning or hazard assessments and other environmental considerations
  • land surveying, building set out, civil or structural engineering reports or equivalent
  • arborist reports
  • planning consultant fees
  • building permit fees. 

Applicants can submit multiple applications for rebates; however, the total value of your rebates will not exceed $5,000.

Eligibility

In addition to the general eligibility criteria outlined on this page:

  • the property must be within the municipality of East Gippsland or Towong
  • the site must be registered with the relevant Bushfire Rebuild Support Service (RSS) in your municipality.

Documentation required

As part of your application, you will need to provide:

  • evidence that you own the property
  • copies of tax invoices and receipts for the purchase of professional/technical services undertaken in support of your planning or building permit application/s for your new or rebuilt dwelling
  • bank account details where the rebate will be deposited.

Further information

The following guidelines contains further details:

Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program

Rainwater and Septic Tank Replacement Program

Funding available

The program will provide rebates for:

  • Up to half the cost of purchasing and installing a new: 
    • primary use rainwater tank system to residents rebuilding homes, up to a maximum of $3,000
    • primary use septic tank system to residents rebuilding homes, up to a maximum of $15,000
  • The full cost of:
    • the initial refill of the rainwater tank installed as part of this program, up to a maximum of $500
    • assessments required for council approval to install or alter a septic system, including condition reports undertaken by a qualified plumber and Land Capability Assessments, up to a maximum of $1,500
    • any minor repairs or reconnections required if the tank systems are relatively undamaged and comply with current standards, up to a maximum of $2,500
  • Relevant associated costs, up to the maximum outlined above, including: 
    • purchase of rainwater or septic tank system
    • purchase of associated plumbing and materials connected to the system
    • installation costs and delivery charges.

Eligibility

In addition to the general eligibility criteria outlined on this page:

  • The property must be your principal place of residence 
  • For rainwater tanks:
    • the property must not be connected to a reticulated water supply system 
    • rainwater tank systems must be designed, manufactured and certified to the relevant Australian Standards and local council regulations, including providing for CFA requirements
  • For septic systems:
    • the property must not have sewerage available or accessible nearby 
    • the septic system must be designed, manufactured and certified to the relevant Australian Standards and has been approved by the EPA – see EPA’s list of approved wastewater systems
    • a condition report must have been undertaken by a qualified plumber to determine if the septic system is undamaged and complies with current standards. For a damaged septic system, you must obtain a Land Capability Assessment and council approval to install or alter a septic system before applying for the rebate
  • Ensure you use an appropriately licensed and accredited plumber, and that installation complies with current building standards.

You will be responsible for any ongoing maintenance and operational costs of the system installed on your property. This includes additional rainwater tank refills, treatment and servicing of septic systems, and energy costs associated with pumping or running the systems.

Documentation required

As part of your application, you will need to provide:

  • evidence that you own the property
  • copies of tax invoices and receipts for all completed works or claims
  • two types of identification that confirm the property address is your principle place of residence (e.g. rate notices, electricity bills, phone bills, drivers licence or similar)
  • clean-up completion certificate from Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV), or evidence that your property has been through a bushfire damage clean-up process
  • bank account details where the rebate will be deposited

You may also need:

  • a condition report on your existing septic system, completed by a qualified plumber (if required)
  • Land Capability Assessment for the property
  • relevant planning or building permits for the works, issued by Council
  • a copy of the Septic Tank Certificate of Use that has been issued by a Council Environmental Health Officer post-works
  • details on the make and model of the rainwater tank system installed
  • plumbing compliance certificate indicating all works have been undertaken and certified by a licensed plumber

Further information

The following fact sheets and guidelines have further details:

 

Geotechnical Assessment Rebate Program

Geotechnical Assessment Rebate Program

Funding available

The program will provide rebates for up to 80 percent of the cost of:

  • a standard soil report to support an application for a Building Permit, up to a maximum of $400
  • a full geotechnical assessment, to satisfy the requirements of either:
    • the Erosion Management Overlay in the East Gippsland Planning Scheme to the satisfaction of the East Gippsland Shire Council, up to a maximum of $2,000, or 
    • the Steep Land local policy of the Towong Planning Scheme for a proposed building site with slope of 20 percent or greater, to the satisfaction of the Towong Shire Council, up to a maximum of $2,000.

Eligibility

In addition to the general eligibility criteria outlined on this page, the assessment must be:

  • conducted by a suitably qualified geotechnical consultant to the satisfaction of the local council
  • a requirement of the Erosion Management Overlay in the East Gippsland Planning Scheme or the Steep Land local planning policy in the Towong Planning Scheme
  • within the municipality of East Gippsland or Towong.

Documentation required

As part of your application, you will need to provide:

  • copies of tax invoices and receipts for completed geotechnical assessment or soil test undertaken by suitably-qualified consultant being claimed
  • identification that shows the property address and that you are the owner, or acting on behalf of the owner (e.g. rate notices, electricity bills, phone bills, drivers licence or similar)
  • clean-up completion certificate from Bushfire Recovery Victoria (BRV), or evidence that your property has been through a bushfire damage clean-up process
  • bank account details where the rebate will be deposited
  • evidence that the geotechnical assessment has been conducted by a suitably-qualified geotechnical consultant and meets the requirements of the planning scheme, to the satisfaction of the relevant council.

Further information

The following fact sheets and guidelines have further details:

 

Apply now

Once you’ve checked you meet the program criteria and have gathered all the information required, you’re ready to submit your application. Applications are open to 31 May 2023.

Online

Apply online

Post or email

Alternatively, download an application form and email or post it, together with the supporting documentation, to:

Rainwater & Septic Tank Replacement Program or Geotechnical Assessment Rebate Program or Bushfire Recovery Planning & Building Assistance Rebate Program
Melbourne Water
GPO Box 4342
Melbourne VIC 3001

Contact us

If you have questions about the application process, contact Melbourne Water:

 [email protected]

131 722

For further information about these programs and other support available to fire-affected communities, please visit the Bushfire Recovery Victoria website.