The Victorian Government has lauded the efforts of local councils to support their communities in the wake of the storms that have devastated parts of the state.

Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane visited the Yarra Ranges today to meet with volunteers and council workers as the clean-up and recovery effort continues, after storms brought down trees and caused widespread damage.

Minister Leane joined Yarra Ranges Mayor Fiona McAllister at the State Control Centre operation in Lilydale and the Kalorama Oval clubhouse, converted to a relief centre to support the local community.

The Kalorama relief centre has provided support for more than 700 residents since last week. The centre has been staffed 12 hours a day by council staff, Red Cross volunteers, Ausnet personnel and CFA members, offering people food and essentials, shower facilities, phone-charging services, firewood and help finding emergency accommodation.

Following the storms, Yarra Ranges Council has opened shower and power sites in Lilydale, Yarra Junction, Belgrave, Healesville, Olinda and Yarra Glen – each offering services to as many as 40 people a day.

The Salvation Army is also providing hot meals each night to the shower and power sites, as well as the Kalorama relief hub and the Rhododendron Retirement Village in Kalorama. With assistance from the Yarra Ranges Council, more than 500 hot meals are being distributed across the affected areas each night.

The Minister thanked the Yarra Ranges Council, emergency workers and local volunteers for their incredible efforts to support displaced members of the community.

The storm brought down thousands of trees across the Yarra Ranges municipality and 3,000 people have been affected by prolonged power outages.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane

“The people of the Yarra Ranges have rallied together to support each other – and the council has done an amazing job co-ordinating this community effort.”

“This is what community is all about. From Upwey to Kalorama, people have demonstrated civic spirit and resilience. We thank the Yarra Ranges Council for its leadership and the tireless work of its staff.”

Quotes attributable to Yarra Ranges Mayor Cr Fiona McAllister

“This emergency has brought out the best in people, with people across the Yarra Ranges helping their neighbours and community.”

“Emergency relief and government support has enabled us to focus on the large recovery effort ahead.”