Victoria has announced a permit system that will allow city-dwellers with properties in regional parts of the state to receive written approval from their local council to prepare for the summer fire season.
In a statement on Thursday, minister for emergency services Jaclyn Symes said that the new permit would allow Victorians from restricted regions (under the state’s COVID-19 public health orders) to visit their second property in regional areas and prepare for fire season.
“We know how important it is to be prepared for the upcoming fire season – this system allows for this vital work while keeping regional communities safe,” Symes said.
From 7 October property owners will be able to apply through their local council for a permit, providing information about the location they will need to travel, the type of work to be completed and the date of intended travel.
Councils will issue written formal approval. The permits will be issued from 11 October but the directions of the Chief Health Officer are attached to the traveller.
The state government has told property owners to ask neighbours or engage local contractors to determine the scope of work required, and whether any travel plans are actually necessary. Where possible, the government is also encouraging these citizens to use local contractors for preparedness work.
The government has also reminded property owners that local councils will continue to issue fire prevention notices, placing a legal obligation to comply and travel to their regional properties to do clean up where necessary.
“Our emergency services agencies are preparing for the upcoming fire season and we’re asking all Victorians to do their bit to prepare in a COVID-safe way,” Symes said.