PREMIER Daniel Andrews has declared a State of Disaster for the Rural City of Wangaratta and five neighbouring local government areas and nearby alpine resorts, after considering advice from the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and the Emergency Management Commissioner.
Mr Andrews said he is satisfied there is an emergency that constitutes, or is likely to constitute, a significant and widespread danger to life or property in the rural city, together with East Gippsland Shire, Mansfield Shire, Alpine Shire, Towong Shire, Wellington Shire, and the alpine resorts of Mt Buller, Mount Hotham and Mount Stirling.
He said conditions are expected to deteriorate today and the government’s priority is the safety of Victorians.
The declaration gives the government, through the Minister for Emergency Services, the powers and resources it needs to keep Victorians safe.
This is the first time the Victorian Government has used these powers since they were included in the Emergency Management Act 1986 following the devastating Victorian Bushfires in 2009.
Mr Andrews said dealing with the immediate aftermath of the fires while many fires continue to burn across the state is a significant challenge that involves all levels of government.
He said the government has already established a Bushfire Response and Recovery Taskforce to support communities and help them rebuild from the devastating fires still burning in the east of the state.