Emergency Recovery Victoria is the permanent and dedicated Victorian Government agency working directly with local communities affected by Victoria's devastating bushfires. Visit Emergency Recovery Victoria's website for more information.

Past recovery programs

In February 2009, Victoria experienced the worst bushfires in Australia’s history. The ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires, as they became known, burnt 406,337 hectares of land, 173 lives were lost and 78 communities were affected. The fires were intense and came at the end of a decade-long drought and there was public concern about the effects on biodiversity.

The fires required a major recovery and rebuilding program to assist devastated communities and this included a program to rehabilitate and restore public land and its assets. Immediately following the Black Saturday fires, the State and Commonwealth Governments agreed to establish a single authority to manage the very large and complex recovery process. The Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority (VBRRA) was set up to advise governments, coordinate efforts and to develop an overarching plan for restoration and recovery of regions, towns and communities affected by the bushfires.

Some 27 nationally-listed and 19 state-listed species were encompassed in the fire area. The area included core habitat of iconic species such as Leadbeater's Possum and the nationally endangered Barred Galaxias fish. It was feared that fire sensitive and nationally significant ecological communities, such as rainforest, alpine wetlands and tall wet forests, had been burnt and may not recover.

Soon after the fire, urgent recovery activities include:

  • temporary relocation of native fish species (Barred Galaxias, Macquarie Perch) to safe refuges
  • controlling of predators at key sites (e.g. foxes and cats at Wilsons Promontory, foxes at Kinglake)
  • assessing threatened species to determine their specific needs (e.g. Endangered Leadbeater's Possum at Lake Mountain and the endangered plant Shiny Nematolepis in the O'Shannassy Catchment)
  • replacing protective fencing around threatened plants to exclude browsing and grazing animals such as rabbits, deer, goats and kangaroos;
  • replacing nest boxes where they are part of a monitoring or research program (e.g. Leadbeater's Possum at Lake Mountain, Brush-tailed Phascogale at Kinglake)
  • supporting the welfare of fire-affected wildlife.

In October 2009, the Victorian and Commonwealth governments announced funding for natural values recovery projects as part of the 'Rebuilding Together' – Statewide Recovery Plan. Some 31 projects were funded.

Projects were delivered from 2009–2011. Project reports are summarised in Under fire – nature's response to the Black Saturday bushfires.

2009 Bushfire Recovery Program Public Land (2012 update) (PDF, 4.9 MB)
2009 Bushfire Recovery Program Public Land (2012 update) (RTF, 311.8 KB)

More information

To find out more about these recovery programs, please email emergency.recovery@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 03/01/24