In this issue:                                                                     March, 2014

Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2014
Inquiry into Hazelwood Mine Fire
VCOSS and MAV Emergency Management Forum
Red Cross REDiPlan Survey
Proceedings of Bushfire CRC and AFAC Research Forum 2013 now available
Emergency Management Australia Podcast
Training, events and seminars


Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

The Victorian Government has introduced the Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 which intends to amend the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (CFA Act) and Emergency Management Acts (EM Acts) and the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority Act 2004.

The proposed amendments to the CFA Act and consequential amendments of the EM Acts will change the definition of community fire refuges. This change removes the requirement for councils to officially designate a refuge under legislation. Instead a community fire refuge will be a place ‘prescribed by the regulations’. Once the draft regulation and regulatory impact assessment statement are available, the MAV will be able to provide further information on the definition of a community fire refuge.

This is an important amendment for councils as under the previous legislation councils designating community fire refuges faced a significant liability risk. This risk was only mitigated for the current community fire refuges pilot by securing a deed of indemnity from the State.

The amendments also remove the requirement for the MAV Board to nominate councillors for positions on the CFA Board. The previous version of the CFA Act essentially guaranteed that two members of the CFA Board were councillors, one from an urban ward and one from a rural ward.

The CFA Board will reduce in size from 12 members to nine members. The Minister will nominate five members of the Authority, including the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson. The Board of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria will nominate a panel of candidates from which four members will be chosen, two of which will be volunteers predominantly serving urban communities and two predominantly serving rural communities.

Whilst the amendments contained in the Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 are not strictly part of the White Paper reform process they can be viewed as part of the State Government’s increased focus on improving emergency management governance and legislation.

Councils seeking more information about the Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 can contact Martijn Gough.

Inquiry into Hazelwood Mine Fire

An independent inquiry into the Hazelwood fire was announced by the Premier earlier in the month, with the terms of reference announced on 21 March.

The Hon Bernard Teague AO, who headed the Black Saturday bushfires Royal Commission, will head the inquiry. He will be joined by Professor John Catford and Ms Sonia Petering.

The Inquiry will be based in Morwell and will be asked to submit its report by the end of August 2014.

The terms of reference will examine:

  1. The origin and circumstance of the fire, including how it spread into the Hazelwood Coal Mine
  2. The adequacy and effectiveness of relevant regulatory regimes in relation to the risk of, and response to, fire at the Hazelwood Coal Mine
  3. The adequacy and effectiveness of the application and administration of relevant regulatory regimes in relation to the risk of, and response to, fire at the Hazelwood Coal mine
  4. The adequacy and effectiveness of the response to the Hazelwood Coal Mine fire by:
    • the owner, operator and licensee of the Hazelwood Coal Mine
    • the emergency services
    • other relevant government agencies
  5. Any other matter reasonably incidental to the matters specified above.

The full terms of reference can be found on the Emergency Relief and Recovery website.

The Board of Inquiry will have similar powers as a Royal Commission.

VCOSS and MAV Emergency Management Forum

The Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) and the MAV are hosting an inaugural Emergency Management forum in June. The forum will showcase some of the strong and active collaborations between councils and community service providers.

It will explore some of the more specific aspects of emergency management collaboration including:

  • Planning and preparedness
  • Recovery
  • Vulnerable and disadvantaged people
  • Heatwave
  • Volunteer management
  • Donated goods

The MAV is keen to hear from councils who are interested in presenting at the forum. Councils who would like to nominate a speaker, or have an initiative that could be included in the forum are encouraged to contact Madelyn Jarvis.

Registration for the forum, which will be held in Seymour on 13 June, is now open.

Red Cross REDiPlan Survey

The Red Cross has released a survey regarding its REDiPlan resources.

The survey will assist the Red Cross to better deliver emergency preparedness information and should take about 10-20 minutes to complete. The survey closes 31 March.

For more information please contact Jacqui Pringle on (03) 8327 7907

Proceedings of Bushfire CRC and AFAC Research Forum 2013 now available

Papers and proceedings from last year’s Bushfire CRC and AFAC Research Forum are available from the Bushfire CRC website.
The forum, which was held last year at Melbourne’s Convention and Exhibition Centre, included 29 presentations over three days.

Presentation papers now available include: The Problems of Maintaining Effective Teamwork During Out-of-Scale Events; How Do Residents in Bushfire Prone Areas View Bushfire Risk; and Heatwave defined as a heat impact event for all community and emergency sectors in Australia.

The 2014 conference will be held in Wellington, New Zealand, 2 – 5 September. Registration for the conference is now open, and the theme is After Disaster Strikes, Learning from Adversity.

Emergency Management Australia Podcast

The Attorney-General’s Department produces an Emergency Management Australia Podcast.

New episodes are released monthly and cover a range of emergency management topics – including bushfires, cyclones and earthquakes.

Content suggestions are welcomed and can be made via the Emergency Management Australia LinkedIn Group.

Training, events and seminars

Environmental Health Professionals Australia (EHPA) is now accepting bookings for its 2014 Emergency Management Course.

This year the course will run from Sunday 27 July to Friday 1 August. Applications close 30 May. There are limited spaces and candidates will be selected in order of the applications received.

For further information and to RSVP please contact Jodie Stevens (EHPA).

The Emergency Management Conference is an annual event presented by the Emergency Services Foundation.

This year’s theme is New Realities – this theme recognises the recent changes to legislation, technology as well as general emergency management.

Registration for the Emergency Management Conference 2014 will open soon.

Registration for the Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference is now open. The theme of this year’s conference is Earth: Fire and Rain.

The conference is being held at the QT Hotel on the Gold Coast 5-7 May. Presentation abstracts have also been released.

The Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) will be holding a range of training programs over the coming months.

AEMI will be conducting a unit called ‘Develop and Organise Public Safety Awareness Programs’ between April 22-24.

Registration is now also open for the National Security Knowledge and Lessons Management Workshop, which is being held 29 April to 1 May.

Training programs and workshops will be held throughout the year and be found on the AEMI webpage.


Upcoming MAV events...

3 April

Patchwork: introductory and networking session

29 April

Cultural planning in local government in Victoria

20 May

Leadership and what that means to a councillor


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