Bushfire buyback program begins

THE $50 million Victorian voluntary bushfire land buyback scheme for landowners has opened until 31 May.

Owners of the 153 homes destroyed in the 2009 bushfires across the state have been sent application forms for the buyback scheme, with all applications to be considered by the Bushfire Land Acquisition Panel.

Deputy Premier and Bushfire Response Minister Peter Ryan said last week the government did not know how many people would sell their land to the government.

“The previous registrations of interest suggest the take-up will be between 150 and 200 properties,” Mr Ryan said.

More than 2100 homes were destroyed in the 2009 bushfires.

The land will be valued at both January 2009 and current market prices, with landowners offered the higher of the two valuations.

Education awards

GIPPSLAND’S best education delegates will be awarded at an education awards ceremony tomorrow.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Services Gippsland Region will celebrate the award winners of the 2012 Gippsland Education Excellence Awards.

Categories for the awards include outstanding school leadership, outstanding school leadership team, outstanding education support team, outstanding primary teacher, outstanding early childhood teacher, pathways and transitions, and curriculum innovation.

Winners of the awards have also been nominated for the Victorian Education Excellence Awards to be held during Education Week beginning Sunday, 20 May.

Recipients for the awards hail from South Gippsland, Latrobe Valley and Wellington.

The awards ceremony will be held tomorrow at the Premier Function Centre, 29 Grey Street, Traralgon, from 5.30pm to 7pm.

Juniors care for land

SCHOOLS and groups are being invited to Go Green and tackle environmental issues through community projects.

Corporate Express and Landcare Australia launched a $75,000 grants program last week to fund the environmental projects which will award 15 successful schools with grants of up to $5000.

The Go Green fund aims to support innovative projects which bring about education in environmental issues, focus on sustainability, promote recycling initiatives or help improve the local area’s natural environment.

Corporate Express Australia president Jay Mutschler said the project aimed to educate the next generation of Landcarers who can make a difference to the planet.

Applications close Tuesday, 1 May.

For more information, and to download an application form visit