In this issue:                                                                       January, 2013

Emergency Management White Paper – members brief
MAV – WALGA visit and knowledge exchange
Fire services levy funding

New research - men after disasters
New power outage guide
Publications in languages other than English
The Victorian Bushfire Information Line
Free visitor bushfire safety resources available for tourism businesses
A quick guide for tourism businesses - how to stay informed
Implementation of the Community Emergency Risk Assessment
Forum - Current Significant Issues in Emergency Management

Emergency Management White Paper – members brief

The MAV has put together a members brief on the Emergency Management Reform White Paper, released on 10 December 2012. This brief will be presented to the MAV Board on 1 February. Once the Board approves the brief it will be posted on the emergency management section of our website.

The MAV is pleased to see that many of the White Paper’s actions are in line with our position and previous submissions developed in consultation with our members as part of the Victorian Government’s review process.

Whilst many of the reforms outlined in the White Paper have effects on the management of emergencies at the state level, our brief focuses on the issues and actions that directly affect local government.

The brief will be used as a key document for the MAV’s advocacy to the Victorian Government and relevant agencies in relation to the White Paper’s key actions. It is vital to understand that this is the next step in the reform process, and that until policy and procedural changes are implemented, there is no change in the current emergency management arrangements.

MAV – WALGA visit and knowledge exchange

On Tuesday 29 January, the MAV emergency management team hosted a visit from three of our counterparts from the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA). The purpose of the half-day assembly was to share knowledge, experience and discuss the similarities and differences of our state’s respective emergency management roles, responsibilities and reform processes.

The WALGA representatives were keen to hear about our advocacy during the Emergency Management Reform White Paper process, our Improving Emergency Management in Local Government Program and the Local Government Resource Sharing Protocol, amongst many other topics.

The WALGA representatives will be spending the rest of their time meeting with various emergency services, the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, and Murrindindi Shire to get a first-hand experience of how local government is dealing with their emergency management responsibilities and the aftermath of a major fire.

Fire services levy funding

The Victorian Government has announced the provision of $53 million – including $20 million this financial year – towards the transition to the new fire services property levy.

The funding is expected to cover all transition costs, including the office of the fire services levy monitor, additional valuations being undertaken by the Valuer-General and councils, State Revenue Office costs, and support for councils to implement, administer and collect the new property-based levy, which will come into effect on 1 July.

The MAV has been working with the Government on the implementation of the new levy, and work has started on a centrally-managed IT project. The proportion of funding going to local government is still unclear and we’re seeking further information from the Treasurer’s office to clarify this matter. Our costs analysis work with the sector is ongoing to inform these discussions.

Professor Allan Fels has commenced his role as the Fire Services Levy Monitor, and a new website provides further information on the Monitor’s complaint and review process.

For further information contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.

New research - men after disasters

Women’s Health Goulburn North East and the Monash University Injury Research Institute are teaming up with the emergency services sector to undertake a pilot study into men’s behaviour after the Black Saturday bushfires. The study aims to determine why men rarely take up opportunities for counselling, and why some men harm themselves and sometimes those they love.

Women’s Health Goulburn North East previous research ‘The way he tells it: relationships after Black Saturday (2012) found that for some women and families, violence did increase post-disaster. Additionally there is concern within the emergency management sector regarding men’s lack of engagement in support services despite their exposure to the trauma of the Black Saturday fires.

It is expected that findings from this new research will better equip agencies and services to support men before, during and after disasters, and help to minimise harmful behaviours that continue to affect communities three years after Black Saturday.

This pilot research program, ‘What about the men? Men’s experience of health and wellbeing during and after Black Saturday’ is supported by funding under the Natural Disaster Resilience Program. The researchers plan to conduct interviews in February.

For further information contact Claire Zara at Women’s Health.

New power outage guide

A new version of the Power Outage Guide from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is now available.

Power outages occur all over the state for various reasons, most commonly during events of extreme weather. This guide is designed to help those who rely on mains power to be prepared for power outages.

If you would like hard copies of the brochure to distribute please email Jess Strickland with the number of copies required and the postal address. Information is also available on DPI’s website.

Publications in languages other than English

There are a number of emergency management communications resources available in languages other than English. These include:

The Victorian Bushfire Information Line

The Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL), 1800 240 667, is a free information line providing bushfire-related information to help communities prepare before and during the bushfire season. In order to encourage community members to use this service, CFA is conducting a VBIL awareness campaign, which includes the distribution of a free VBIL awareness DVD. CFA would like to enlist support in raising awareness of this resource and asks local government and other organisations to advertise it.

The DVD contains short clips for audiences including community groups, diverse populations and travellers. For future collaboration opportunities regarding the VBIL Awareness DVD, please contact the VBIL team on 03 9262 8850.

Relevant links include:

Youtube: CFA Website:

Free visitor bushfire safety resources available for tourism businesses

Tourism Victoria and the CFA are offering tourism businesses free resources that can be used to inform visitors about bushfire safety.

Tourism businesses are an important source of bushfire information for visitors. According to a study conducted by Sweeney Research in 2011, most visitors expect tourism businesses in high risk locations to have the right information about bushfire safety.

Free resources available to tourism businesses include brochures, fridge magnets, key tags and fire danger rating displays. The resources explain how to stay aware of fire danger ratings and fire warnings.

Community Information Guides, which provide local information that will help people plan what to do on high risk days or if a fire starts, are also available for a number of tourism destinations.

For further information contact Sarah Terry.

A quick guide for tourism businesses - how to stay informed

Tourism Victoria and the CFA have developed a quick one-page guide for tourism businesses on how to check fire danger ratings and fire warnings, and how to keep visitors informed about visitor safety.

This guide is designed to be a quick reference point for tourism businesses looking to familiarise themselves with the tools that can be used to stay informed about fire risk as well as bushfire information protocols.

For further information contact Sarah Terry.

Implementation of the Community Emergency Risk Assessment

The implementation of the Community Emergency Risk Assessment (CERA) process is now underway. VICSES has engaged a consultant to develop a CERA Practitioners Guide, which will be a supporting document to the CERA Manual. It will provide a more detailed and user-friendly version of the manual designed for use by those with minimal risk management experience.

Some minor modifications have been made to the CERA Tool and the CERA Manual to incorporate feedback obtained during the pilot. New versions of these documents will be available from your VICSES Regional Officer and on the VICSES website in the near future.

A project officer will be assisting SES regional staff with the implementation of CERA over the next 10 months, so if you require any assistance with your risk assessment process please contact your VICSES Regional Officer – Emergency Management to discuss where to from here. Alternatively you can contact the Project Manager, Cherry Harrop.

Forum - Current Significant Issues in Emergency Management: A Year of Change

The Monash University Injury Research Institute is holding a forum titled Current Significant Issues in Emergency Management: A Year of Change. The forum, due to be held at Monash University on 21 March, is targeted at practitioners keen to know how the newly released White Paper will affect emergency management at state, local, organisational and community levels.

Themes include:

  • The Victorian Emergency Management Reform: The White Paper
  • Leadership in Crises
  • Connecting and Leveraging from Experience: Australian Emergency Management Knowledge Hub
  • Progressing Professionalisation - case studies
Upcoming MAV events...

27 February

Writing clear decision documents

13 March

Challenging conversations

22 - 23 May

Future of local government conference


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