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Bendigo Bank announces recipients of Alpine Community Bushfire Recovery Grants Program

9 November 2022 |Announcements

As the third anniversary of the Black Summer Bushfires approaches, Bendigo Bank’s Bushfire Disaster Appeals - facilitated by the Bank’s charitable arm, Community Enterprise Foundation - has today announced the recipients of its Alpine Community Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.

The Alpine Community Bushfire Recovery Grants Program was set up to aid in the long-term recovery of the Alpine Region by assisting in the continued relief, recovery, reconstruction and sustainability of communities and people impacted by the Black Summer Bushfires.

A total of $340,916 is being distributed to 11 successful applicants in the Alpine Region to continue with the long rebuild from the devastating Black Summer bushfires.

Mark Ditcham, Branch Manager at Community Bank Bright said the local community knows from extensive experience that recuperation from a disaster of this magnitude would be a marathon, not a sprint.

“The Black Summer bushfires have had a profound impact on many communities, intensified by the effects of the pandemic, and three years on - many are still on the long journey to recovery,” Mr Ditcham said.

“It’s also important to recognise the recovery process for people and communities is a very personal journey involving key stages over time, which is why these grants to our local Alpine communities are so important.

“We all know community organisations play a critical role in rebuilding and strengthening the social fabric within our communities and supporting these groups is critical in enabling them to facilitate programs, and to return to normal business.”

Shelley Maher, Branch Manager at Community Bank Mount Beauty said the strength and resilience shown by those affected by the Black Summer bushfires has been nothing short of remarkable.

“We have seen people rally together to recuperate, rebuild and reinvest in their communities to ensure the future is brighter than ever, and while this is certainly cause for celebration, it is imperative to remember there is still much work to be done,” Ms Maher said.

“The grants announced today are going to go a long way in continuing this vital work, particularly in future- proofing local infrastructure in case of  future catastrophic bushfire events.”

Kerry Murphy, Secretary at the Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc said the Alpine Outreach Mobile Facility, which has received a grant of $50,000, will go a long way in continuing to support the local community.

“This community owned mobile consulting room will assist bushfire impacted communities in the Alpine and surrounding regions and will be accessible to community groups, service providers and organisations to take out into communities to provide information and services to aid in recovery on the ground,” Ms Murphy said.

“In addition, the community owned and operated mobile facility will be used to provide other unmet health related services, including mental health, financial counselling, diabetes screening, skin checks, youth services and blood pressure checks.

“I would like to extend my deepfelt thanks to Bendigo Bank and its Community Enterprise Foundation for helping to fund this incredibly important facility for our community, as well as 10 other projects across our region. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the different community groups who have helped make this project a reality, particularly the Bright Rotary Club, who is a major Project Partner,”  Ms Murphy said.

Across the nation, Bendigo Banks’ bushfire appeal funding responded to the unique challenges and pace of the recovery journey and enabled local communities to determine their own different and evolving needs. More than $42 million has so far been distributed to local communities across Australia since the 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfire emergency.

Grant recipients



Grant Funding

Myrtleford Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc with Project Partner, Rotary Club of Bright

Multi-function mobile facility

This community owned mobile consulting room will assist bushfire impacted communities in the Alpine and surrounding regions.

The multi-function use mobile facility will be accessible to community groups, service providers and organisations to take into communities to provide information and services to aid in recovery. 

Given Victoria’s bushfire history, in the event of future disasters, it will be readily available in the community to take into areas of need - strengthening the communities’ resilience against natural disaster.

The community owned and operated mobile facility will also be made available for a variety of health and related services to be taken to the community at events offering a range of services to support the recovery and preparation for the effects of bushfire and other related disasters including mental health, financial counselling, diabetes screening, blood pressure checks, youth services information, private GPs, and health promotion awareness programs.


Mount Beauty Golf Club Inc

Static Water Supply at Mount Beauty Golf Club

Funds will go towards the supply and installation of a new static water supply – a 409,836 litre capacity water tank.

The tank will be erected on Club owned vacant land towards the southern edge of the golf course on one of the higher points where it will be practically invisible to any neighbouring houses, hidden by topography and existing tree plantings.


Myrtleford RSL Sub-Branch Inc

Solar Power System, Battery, and Associated Items

Funds will go towards the installation of a 15Kw solar power system with battery backup that will support off-grid light and power at peak load, from last light through to midnight, as well as upgrades to door and window seals to provide an airtight building for the purposes of providing a clean air indoor environment free of bushfire smoke. Funds will also contribute to the installation of a large TV/Smart screen in the main hall of the Myrtleford RSL, connected for real-time, on-line incident control briefings during community emergency and disaster events.


Sustainable Upper Ovens Inc

Pilot study to trial two community-based funding models to provide solar PV installations for low-income households

Currently, 60-65% of residential households in the Alpine Shire do not have solar PV. This is a significant barrier to achieving energy resilience and transitioning to an all-electric home. The Kiewa and Ovens Valley within the Alpine Shire are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters because they depend upon a single power line.

This funding will be used to:

  • Develop two community-based funding models to assist householders who are unable to install solar PV, to do so.
  • Develop legal documents that will enable a community body to install solar PV panels in a low-income household, under either a Circular Funding Model (CFM) or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) model.
  • Install solar PV systems on at least three or four low-income homes.


Upper Ovens Valley Landcare Group

Riparian area restoration: Ovens River/One Mile Creek Junction

This project will restore a severely degraded area at the confluence of the Ovens River and One Mile Creek near Porepunkah. These stream junctions are significant as they provide the corridor connecting nature from the main rivers and tributaries to the larger forests and national parks and reserves on the forested slopes. This work complements similar work Landcare has done successfully up stream.

The project will restore this important riparian area by removing and poisoning large, introduced woody weeds and plant back into the area indigenous plants native to the riparian areas and protect existing native vegetation. The outcome will be good for nature, build resilience to bushfires and provide opportunities for people to again enjoy this recreation area.


Mount Beauty Neighbourhood House Inc

MBNCI Roof Replacement

Funding will go towards Mount Beauty Neighbourhood Centre’s aging and leaking roof before they proceed with an urgent upgrade of the centre’s commercial kitchen.



Car Crash Simulation Training for First Responder Bushfire Preparedness

CareFlight delivers the Trauma Care Workshop, a mobile trauma care training program that takes high-quality, simulation-based trauma care training to volunteer first responders and emergency services personnel in regional, rural and remote Australia. In these areas where health resources are stretched, the first people to attend accidents will be volunteer first responders. These rescue volunteers can sometimes wait many hours until professional medical help arrives. CareFlight’s Trauma Care Workshop program gives first responders the skills to act decisively during this time, which can significantly enhance trauma patients’ long-term health outcomes and ultimately save lives.

This funding will support CareFlight to acquire a Car Crash Simulator. CareFlight aims to transport a car crash simulator to each course so workshop participants can train in lifelike conditions replicating aspects of a typical accident scene. Techniques taught include extricating victims from a vehicle, covering steps such as using and fitting hard collars and extrication devices, and managing crush injury. First responders practise emergency life-saving skills on sophisticated adult and child mannequins. The training is delivered in a hands-on manner by trained nurses, paramedics and doctors who have attended many accidents and used the techniques in real life.

Road trauma is a major cause of death in rural and remote Australia, and the risk of sustaining a road crash injury increases with the degree of remoteness from metropolitan areas. The car crash simulator can be taken to first responders in under-resourced communities where training is needed most. This means volunteers who give their time for the benefit of the community do not have to bear financial burdens associated with time off work, travel expenses, and time away from family.


Myrtleford Neighbourhood Centre

Story Telling for Recovery and Resilience in the Alpine Shire

Funding will go towards an important local history initiative improving community connectedness and cohesion following the Black Summer fires, by promoting individual and community resilience through the capture and telling of stories about  overcoming adversity, both in facing and overcoming disasters and for the reference of future generations.


Mount Beauty Music Festival

The Mount Beauty Music Festival 2023

The money for this grant will provide the music, sound equipment and entertainment.

In addition to our free daytime event, organisers plan to also host an indoor evening event, with a selection of musicians, local food and bar raising funds for the festival. The bar and food stalls will be provided by local businesses.


Bright Lions Club

Bright Lions Club Facilities Improvements

Funding will support the lining of the ceiling of the Bright Lions Club clubhouse to improve conditions for members and other community users of the clubhouse.


Bright Coworking Incorporated

Bright Coworking Technology & Ergonomic Upgrade

This funding will enable Bright Coworking Incorporated to upgrade the desk equipment and furniture in their coworking space which will improve usability, increase productivity, and enable them to accommodate and service the needs of more members and casual users.


Bendigo and Adelaide Bank acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of this nation and the Traditional Custodians of the land where we live, learn and work. We pay our respects to Elders past and present as it is their knowledge and experience that holds the key to the success of future generations.

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