Black Saturday rebuild deadline extended

Victims of the Black Saturday bushfires still living in temporary accommodation have been given more time to plan the rebuilding of their new lives.

Landowners whose property was destroyed during the 2009 fires can now remain in temporary accommodation, after the State Government approved an extension of site plan council submissions until September 2017.

Latrobe City Council mayor Dale Harriman described the extension as “breathing space” for many Latrobe Valley residents affected by the blaze.

“We are aware of many people in our region that lost their properties during those terrible fires and have not yet been able to rebuild,” Cr Harriman said.

“These people are living in temporary accommodation. Many of them are still too traumatised to begin the arduous journey of planning and building.”

Planning permits now face stringent planning and construction standards, introduced by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission with the aim of reducing the risk of similar disasters on a wide scale.

“The burden on the property owner to fund and adhere to the requirements is now more onerous,” Cr Harriman said.

“Having more time to get it right means that those landowners who find themselves yet to rebuild get to plan for their homes without the pressure of a looming deadline.”