Flood-ravaged Vic towns look to recovery

As peak floodwaters make their way along the swollen Murray River into Victoria's northwest, towns and regional cities left in its wake are facing a long recovery.

Shepparton, one of the first localities inundated in October, will soon close its acute relief centre and transition residents to its services-focused community recovery hub.

More than 100 people per day are coming to the recovery hub since it opened in early November.

It connects flood victims with almost 20 support services, including government agencies, financial support, legal and insurance advice, and translation assistance for the more than 50 language groups represented in the area.

Shepparton Mayor Shane Sali said the town had come a long way since flood preparation began in October.

"I'm really proud on where things started, you know, from the first sandbag community effort that we had to where we are now," Mr Sali told AAP.

Council community director Louise Mitchell said the recovery hub was working with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing to find temporary housing for displaced residents and the already homeless or insecurely-housed.

"Some have been displaced from caravan parks and those sorts of environments because of the flood levels around those caravan parks," Ms Mitchell told AAP.

Ms Mitchell said the shift from an emergency response marked the next stage of a long rebuilding process.

"The recovery hub is really in for the long haul, and the people who work there will be equipped to work with people's long-term needs," she said.

Towns further north on the Murray River are bracing for the murky floodwaters to hang around well beyond summer, impacting morale and the local economy.

Many homes in Echuca were severely damaged in the disaster but the effects are being felt beyond those homes.

There are fears cases of mosquito-borne illness Japanese encephalitis will skyrocket and the stench created by dead animals in stagnant water will deter visitors from returning.

Many businesses in the main part of town remain sandbagged and closed indefinitely, while others have cautiously reopened.

"It's tough, it's like COVID without JobKeeper," businessman Dean Oberin told AAP.

"The customers that we have this time of year aren't here, occupancy rates in motels, accommodation and houses are down, as are all the other retail and hospitality businesses."

He believed there was a general feeling the disaster could have been handled in a different way but attention is now focused on the very long clean up effort.

"The people of Echuca and Moama are obviously very resilient and we're all in it together.

"But you know... what does it look like on the other side of this and how can we do it better?"

With Victoria's state election set to take place later this month, the Victorian Electoral Commission is considering deploying portable offices to enable residents in significantly flood-affected areas to vote.

The VEC will offer telephone voting to electors in flood-impacted areas from November 19 until 6pm on election day November 26.