In this issue:                                                                     July, 2013

MAV Gender and Emergency Management Advisory Group
Fire Services Property Levy reporting
Fire Services Commissioner - update
When the Fires Come - DVD launch
Decision delay - defend or evacuate
Draft plans for local fire prevention works
Emergency Management Australia News
Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre
Spatial data services

MAV Gender and Emergency Management Advisory Group

Evidence shows that the incidence of family violence increases post-disaster. Men are more likely to die in floods and bushfires than women, and men strongly influence family decisions to stay and defend homes during bushfires, sometimes with tragic results. To positively change such outcomes, the influence of gender roles and differences must be understood and addressed.

We have developed a gender and emergency management strategy which aims to reduce the negative consequences of gender-blind practices. The strategy was approved by the MAV Board in May.

To help refine the details of the strategy and begin to implement its actions we have convened a Gender and Emergency Management Advisory Group. The group met for the first time in July and is made up of representatives from local government and specialists from the Australian Emergency Management Institute, Women's Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Women’s Health Goulburn North East, Save the Children and Be Ready Warrandyte.

The first meeting provided insight and advice that will greatly help with the further development and implementation of the strategy. The group also discussed its ongoing purpose, the possibility of expanding membership to capture a greater range of stakeholders and the first output of the strategy; which is likely to be a gender and emergency management factsheet. The factsheet, targeted at local government, will help introduce the relationship between gender and emergency management and provide practical advice on some useful first steps that can be taken to improve gender outcomes.

If you would like further information on the strategy or the advisory group please contact Martijn Gough or visit the Gender and Emergency Management page of the MAV website. For broader information and practical resource on preventing violence against women and reducing gender inequality visit our gender equity page.

Fire Services Property Levy reporting

The State Revenue Office (SRO) is required to play an active role in monitoring the collection of levy funds. The level of reporting is aimed at reducing the need to conduct formal audits. Production of the following reports have been outlined in the Manual of Operating Procedures and specified in enhancements to council rating systems:

  • return (an annual return of expected levy to be collected)
  • remittance (four remittances that detail payments collected), and
  • reconciliation (an end of year reconciliation which identifies levy data movement throughout the financial year).

FSPL Express is a secure online system specifically related to the reporting requirements of the levy. It provides councils with functionality complimentary to their primary reporting method via web service, which operates directly from council rate collection systems.

Installation of a digital certificate, previously issued to all councils by the SRO, is required to access FSPL Express. The due date for the annual return has also been revised from 31 July to 31 August.

For further information contact Craig Findlay on 03 9628 6935.

Fire Services Commissioner - update

The Fire Services Commissioner has released an update on the Community Fire Refuges Pilot Program. The update outlines basic information about the pilot program as well as key achievements for refuge sites in the Yarra Ranges and Moorabool Shire Council areas.

The update is available on the Fire Services Commissioner website.

When the Fires Come - DVD launch

A new DVD, When the Fires Come has been distributed to councils across Victoria and to all CFA community education coordinators. The DVD was developed by a working party of Black Saturday fire-affected residents and Fine Focus Film and Photography. The film captured the Black Saturday experiences of nine fire-affected participants from across Victoria.

The people interviewed all put forward strong messages on radiant heat danger, the need for sprinklers, mental and physical preparedness, knowing the area that you live in, and being aware of your surroundings.

The DVD goes through the following chapters: preparation and planning; the fire arrives; and after the fire.

The film will be available on the CFA's YouTube channel shortly.

Decision delay - defend or evacuate

The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre’s Fire Note 112 outlines research into community preparedness undertaken in the Perth Hills over the 2011-12 bushfire season. Findings show that surveyed residents thought there was little difference in the attractiveness between the options of defending a house or evacuating. Fire Note 112 discusses this finding, and presents opportunities and obstacles to overcoming the problems associated with decision delay.

Draft plans for local fire prevention works

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith has encouraged Victorians to find out about planned burning and other fuel reduction activities proposed for public parks and forests in their local area.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is putting its draft three-year Fire Operations Plans on display during August. The Minister has indicated that there is still time to discuss new activities proposed in the plans with DEPI throughout the month.

To view the plan for your area visit your local DEPI or Parks Victoria office or go visit the DEPI website.

Emergency Management Australia News

National Strategy for Disaster Resilience Community Engagement Framework

The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience Community Engagement Framework was approved at the Standing Council of Police and Emergency Management meeting on 4 and 5 July.

Designed specifically for the emergency management sector, the framework offers a practical approach to community engagement - placing community at the centre of the process. It is available for download as Handbook 6 of the Australian Emergency Management Handbook Series.

Communicating with people with disability - National guidelines for emergency management

These guidelines have been designed to support emergency managers to better understand the varied communication needs of people with disability. A quick guide has also been developed that can help emergency managers identify ways to address the communication needs of community members. More information can be found on the Communicating with People with Disability: National Guidelines for Emergency Managers webpage.

EM News Winter Edition – From the Attorney-General’s Department

The latest edition of EM news is now available to download. The issue focuses on a number of international matters as well as topics closer to home including:

  • relief and recovery experiences over the 2012–13 summer
  • pictorial community safety action guides, and
  • exploring the role of social media in complex emergencies.

Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre

The new Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) is now officially operating. The CRC will build on the work of the existing Bushfire CRC and expand research efforts into other natural hazards. The Australian Government will contribute up to $47 million over eight years, while it is expected that state and territory governments who have been closely involved in the existing Bushfire CRC, will continue to make substantial contributions to this important initiative.

Spatial data services

The State Government has released spatial data on the Victorian Government Data Directory, a website that provides Victorians with centralised and greater access to government data.

The initial release in multiple formats – including the underlying raw data – has opened up more than 400 datasets. This first stage of spatial data release includes local government, electoral, urban growth and planning scheme boundaries, rail network and relief contour data and parks and conservation areas.

Upcoming MAV events...

20 August

Volunteer engagement and support workshop

22 August

Solving major community issues via collaboration

23 August

Social media for high impact and engagement workshop


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