Council on “front foot” in advocating for flood support payments
Lord Mayor Sally Capp has met with locals in Kensington after they were impacted by devastating floods in October, which left one business owner with an estimated $1.5 million damage bill.
Several homes, vehicles, and other property in Kensington was significantly damaged by floodwater, which Cr Capp took time surveying with other councillors and the council’s executive team in the days after the floods hit.
“The first thing we did was write to the state government asking for the City of Melbourne residents and businesses to be eligible for disaster relief payments,” she said at the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting on October 18 that was held at Kensington Town Hall, while also ensuring the council was “working around the clock” to support flood affected residents and businesses.
Cr Capp thanked council team members as well as residents and businesses in helping clean up after the natural disaster, which also saw clean-up efforts directed to Maribyrnong and the Moonee Valley.
The council also expressed its gratitude to the Kensington Neighbourhood House which had offered its site as a place of support and respite.
Overall, the floods impacted about 12 businesses across West Melbourne and Kensington which resulted in building and stock damage.
Among those caught up in the mammoth clean-up task was Richard Noble, co-owner of Aftershock PC in West Melbourne.
“There’s still a whole bunch that needs cleaning up, fixing and repairing, and walls that need pulling down and replacing,” he told North West City News after floodwaters inundated his business.
“Our showroom is totally destroyed; we won’t get that rebuilt this year so that will be out of action until sometime next year.”
Mr Noble said the council had provided a skip bin after he asked for support at the council’s meeting, which he was grateful for.
But he was nervously awaiting the outcome of an insurance assessment about whether he would be able to recoup an estimated $1.5 million worth of damaged stock.
“We’ve still got 111 pallets of computer equipment sitting in our yard at the moment, that’s all-waterlogged waiting for the insurer assessors to let us know.”
He said there was no warning or doorknock from authorities about the flood, which he and his staff managed to keep “at bay for quite a while” until a cement truck drove through Dynon Rd and “exploded out all the windows” allowing water to rush in.
Mr Noble said everything from laptops, power supplies, computer equipment, graphics cards, motherboards, computer chassis and more was lost in the floods.
Mr Noble addressed the council meeting asking whether the City of Melbourne would ensure his business was included in the flood disaster area, and what the council could do in terms of financial help.
In response, the council’s acting CEO Alison Leighton said it was on the “front foot with advocacy” and the Lord Mayor “is leading the conversation with the state government”.
“I’m sorry that has happened to you, I can only imagine what you and your business partner are going through,” she told Mr Noble, adding “we are having conversations internally about how best we can support you”.
“We know that businesses in the City of Melbourne have been impacted and we believe that they should have access to the support that the state government is providing.”
Mr Noble said his shop was “nearly back full action” with about 80 per cent of the building in operation, but most importantly, his total of 80 staff had kept their jobs.
Asked how he was coping, Mr Noble said, “I go through phases, I didn’t get any sleep for the first week, but after that it’s been plugging away and hoping for the best.”
Businesses directly impacted by the Victorian floods that began in October can access a one-off grant of $5000 to cover immediate expenses.
Meanwhile, Melbourne MP Ellen Sandell said the Greens were calling for funding for the overstretched Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), including the VICSES Footscray Unit, which services all Melbourne as well as Maribyrnong, and was desperately in need of new facilities. •
Caption: Aftershock PC co-owner Richard Noble with his damaged computer stock.