THE impact of fires on tourism-driven business operators has left some needing food charity, despite them not being in burnt out areas.
That was the evidence of Indigo Shire mayor Jenny O'Connor to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into tackling climate change which heard evidence at Wangaratta on Thursday.
She said even though the recent North East fires had not touched her shire they had severely hit businesses, many reporting an 80 per cent drop in income.
"We're talking about people accessing Foodbank, people who've run businesses," Cr O'Connor said.
"We have people who are not taking wages for themselves, so they can keep employing their own employees because they know that they're so dependent."
Cr O'Connor said students who relied on seasonal employment before heading to universities in Sydney and Melbourne had also been left in hardship.
"(Families and students are) having to manage debt that they should not be burdened with, as a result of climate change," she said.
Indigo's mayor and deputy Sophie Price were joined by representatives of Wodonga, Benalla and Wangaratta councils in addressing the committee.
All of them appealed for more state government cash to mitigate climate change.
Wodonga councillor Kat Bennett aired concern about bushfire smoke and suggested there should be a mandate forcing municipalities to report their climate change measures to ratepayers.
Wangaratta council environment manager Scott Draper said the fires had demonstrated a need to retrofit evacuation centres with off-grid power.
Benalla council sustainability co-ordinator Larissa Montgomery called for funding for roadside weed control beyond this financial year.
Committee member and North East MP Tim McCurdy said he was delighted his metropolitan colleagues had got a greater understanding of rural councils' situations.
He noted the rate base for Indigo Council probably equated to less than half a car park's worth of revenue for some big Melbourne local government areas.