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Gippsland National MPs Darren Chester and Melina Bath say the Australian Defence Force (ADF) should be called in to help clean up the region after massive storms and flood damage.

The MPs are urging the State Government to request the ADF support, saying the recovery is beyond the capacity of local residents.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said he was surprised the Victorian Government had not lodged a request for help, given the role played by the ADF in the aftermath of last summer’s bushfires.

“The local community has been outstanding, but the recovery work is beyond the capacity of volunteers and having the ADF come to Gippsland would boost morale,” Mr Chester said.

“It would also free up our emergency service personnel and allow them to focus on other tasks beyond storm and flood recovery.”

Mr Chester has raised the matter with the Minister for Defence Peter Dutton in Canberra this week.

“The Victorian Government has not submitted a request for defence support through Emergency Management Australia to assist with recovery efforts for the major storm and flooding that has occurred in Victoria,” Mr Chester said.

Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath has also written to the Acting Premier calling on the Andrews Government to make immediate application to the Federal Government for ADF assistance.

Ms Bath said the damage across Gippsland is immense and widespread, many small communities like Yinnar South, Boolarra and Budgeree are heavily impacted and require additional resources.

“Many properties have sustained an incredible amount of damage – some houses are uninhabitable, fences down, trees flattened and stock lost,” Ms Bath said.

“The clean up after these storms and floods is enormous and the impact on the Gippsland region will be felt well into the future.

“Gippslanders are exhausted and current resources are stretched – we need more boots on the ground.

“The Andrews Government must give the green light to the ADF and give our community the support it deserves.”

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