|Parliamentary Inquiry: challenges of rural and regional councils
The State’s Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee examined the operational challenges of rural and regional councils in Victoria in a parliamentary inquiry.
The MAV developed a submission to this inquiry, and covered the topic of flood planning and preparation, including the maintenance of flood mitigation infrastructure.
The reporting date for this inquiry is 31 March 2017.
Changes to the EMMV: MECCs
Emergency Management Victoria has updated both part 6 and part 8 of the Emergency Management Manual Victoria (EMMV).
Changes include removal of the requirement for councils to establish and operate Municipal Emergency Management Coordination Centres (MECCs).
Previously, references to MECCs had been removed during updates to Part 3 and Part 7 of the EMMV.
This is the result of a working group consisting of councils and agencies, established in early 2015 to provide advice to the SCRC Capability and Response Subcommittee on the future of MECCs, and give effect to the Victorian emergency management reform white paper commitment to remove the requirement for councils to maintain and operate MECCs during emergencies.
Fire Action Week
Fire Action Week 2016 took place from 23-30 October. This is Victoria's annual fire planning and preparation week, signaling the start of the Department of Justice and Regulation’s (DJR) annual Summer Fire Campaign in partnership with councils and emergency services agencies.
During Fire Action Week, the State Government provided the below advice and resources to communities to prepare for the upcoming summer period:
- Check the fire risk
- Download the FireReady/VicEmergency app to your mobile device
- Start checking Fire Danger Ratings daily
- Check warnings
- Pack an emergency kit of essentials
- Discuss how you'll know when to leave and where to go to stay safe, and understand family, friends, and neighbours' plans
- Be prepared for power failure in extreme weather conditions. Read the Power Outage Guide.
Councils were provided with a range of materials to use in local newsletters and campaigns.
Further information can be found on the VicEmergency website.
Emergency Management Diversity and Inclusion Framework
Emergency Management Victoria has released an Emergency Management Diversity and Inclusion Framework, which aims to lay the foundation for a diverse and inclusive sector that draws on the full potential of all its members and connects with all communities.
The framework aims to supplement the broader efforts being taken under the Emergency Management Strategic Action Plan 2015-18, and guide development of a sector-wide three year strategic plan for diversity and inclusion.
Current plans for consultation on the development of this strategic plan include the creation of a working group comprising representatives from community, departments, emergency management organisations, not-for-profit organisations, local government and academia.
Victorian Emergency Management Institute
The State Government has launched the Victorian Emergency Management Institute (VEMI), which is a new facility to provide training and education opportunities for Victorian emergency services.
Ambulance Victoria, CFA, Parks Victoria, Department of Health and Human Services, MFB, VICSES and many other departments, municipalities and agencies are expected to use the training facility.
The site is the former Australian Emergency Management Institute’s building and surrounding grounds, with work on the required upgrades for the institute to start this year, and training at the new institute to take place in the first half of 2017.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley has created a video with more information about the VEMI launch.
Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare Plan launch
The State Government has recently launched a revised Victorian Emergency Animal Welfare (VEAW) Plan to protect animals during natural disasters.
The plan aims to:
- Contribute to enhanced public safety and community resilience
- Ensure animals and animal welfare is better considered before, during and immediately after emergencies
- Apply to all hazards across the state, in line with the new emergency management framework for Victoria.
This is the plan that councils provided input into during its development in 2015.
The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources also facilitates the VEAW Committee, which is made up of representatives from the State Government, local government officers, the MAV, and the Australian Veterinary Association. The membership of this group will be reviewed following this coming summer season.
Inspector General for Emergency Management reports
The Inspector General for Emergency Management (IGEM) has recently released two reports; the 2013–14 Fire Season Compliance Report - 2016 Final Progress Update, and the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission - 2016 Progress Report.
The 2013–14 Fire Season Compliance Report - 2016 Final Progress Update is the final of three annual progress reports on the implementation status of actions and recommendations relating to improvements to road traffic management, community involvement, initial attack and utilisation of resources, cross-border fire arrangements and other systemic issues.
The Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission - 2016 Progress Report is IGEM’s second report on the implementation of the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission’s recommendations and actions. All but two ongoing actions are now complete. The two outstanding items include:
- Develop guidelines for retrofitting class 9 buildings, led by the Victorian Building Authority
- Amend Building Regulations 2006 to adopt performance requirements, led by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
This report was tabled in Parliament on 13 October and concludes IGEM’s reporting responsibilities. The two remaining ongoing actions will have their completion reported directly to the minister.
Beat the Bite mosquito campaign
Recent heavy rains and floods in September and October have created large amounts of stagnant water across the state, making it ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes. While mosquitoes are annoying and can leave a nasty bite, some mosquitoes can carry and spread serious diseases.
The Department of Health and Human Services has developed some useful communication resources as part of a new Beat the Bite campaign. Flyers, posters and fact sheets can be downloaded from the Better Health Channel.
Crime Stoppers arson campaign
Crime Stoppers is currently undertaking an arson awareness campaign to raise awareness of the large scale danger and devastation that recklessly and deliberately lit fires can cause, and to increase understanding and vigilance within the community.
The campaign will be touring high-risk locations around Victoria later this year, and will be in contact with those councils to invite council representatives to the events.
The Crime Stoppers website includes further background information, and campaign resources such as posters, soundbites, and social media templates.
The FireReady App will be updated and replaced during this month by the new VicEmergency app. This transition will take place automatically when the app is next updated. New users will be able to download VicEmergency from the App Store or Google Play.
The new VicEmergency app will align with the VicEmergency website to provide timely information about all emergencies. This will include warnings for fires, floods, storms, earthquake, tsunamis and water safety, and even shark sightings.
The VicEmergency app will bring together emergency information and warnings from agencies including:
- Country Fire Authority
- Department of Economic Development and Transport and Resources
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Life Saving Victoria
- Metropolitan Fire Brigade
- Victoria State Emergency Service.
Emergency Management Victoria has created a promotional video to discuss the changes.
Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability Grants Program
The Victorian Government has established a $35 million Emergency Services Volunteer Sustainability Grants Program, which aims to assist with the purchase of operational materials, facility maintenance and improvements, and training and development.
The program is open to volunteers, brigades, units and clubs from:
- Country Fire Authority
- Victoria State Emergency Service
- Marine Search and Rescue providers
- Life Saving Victoria
- Other emergency management organisations identified in the Emergency Management Manual Victoria.