“The Fire Ready Communities program is aimed at providing support for important local initiatives – both existing and new - to improve preparation, fire awareness and education.
“The program will be open to applications from community groups and councils to fund local, common sense works to increase bushfire safety and preparedness,” Mr Bull said.
“Importantly, this program recognises that bushfire-prone communities face unique challenges and a one-size-fits-all approach is not always appropriate.“Local residents have the detailed knowledge required on the ground to make communities safer, better informed and more prepared.”
“Some of the things this program will assist are in the areas of safety promotion, small equipment purchases and community network projects.”
Acting Minister for Bushfire Response, Andrew McIntosh, said “for example, in Alpine communities a UHF community radio network provides reliable two-way communication between the CFA and the community in an emergency. This network does not depend on power supply, landline telephone services or mobile phone coverage.”
“The Boolarra and Yinnar communities have established tight community networks, working with emergency service providers to develop a Local Emergency Action Plan that helps prompt people to think about and plan for an emergency.
"These are just a couple of examples of local innovation which builds vital networks and provides effective local solutions,” Mr McIntosh said.
While the program targets the 52 identified high-risk bushfire communities, the government will welcome project proposals from other communities in high-risk areas and these will be considered on their merits.
To apply for Fire Ready Communities grants, local councils and community organisations should contact the Department of Planning and Community Development in their region or visit www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/contact-us.