In this issue:                                                                  June, 2014

MAV Productivity Commission inquiry submission
Natural Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme funding announced
VCOSS and MAV Emergency Management Forum
Emergency Management Victoria update
Beyond Bushfires second round of surveys
Preparing the mind to survive disaster

Call for submissions for a national review of warnings and information
Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2014

MAV Productivity Commission inquiry submission

The MAV, in consultation with our members, provided a submission to the Productivity Commission regarding their inquiry into natural disaster funding arrangements.

Our submission highlights the importance of current Federal natural disaster funding to local government and raises long-standing issues with the current arrangements such as the eligibility criteria for essential public assets, day labour and betterment. It also includes a set of principles the MAV believes should apply to any reforms or future funding program.

The MAV would like to thank all councils that provided feedback, input, and case studies during the development of this submission.

The MAV submission should be available on the Productivity Commission website shortly.

The draft report is due for release in September. This will be followed by public hearings between October and November. The Commission is expected to hand the final report to Government in December.

For further information about the MAV submission, contact Martijn Gough. To keep informed of the inquiry’s progress, register on the Productivity Commission website.

Natural Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme funding announced

Natural Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme funding of $13 million for projects to boost Victoria’s resilience to natural disaster was announced on 20 June by the Federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, and Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response, Kim Wells.

Funding will go towards 48 projects including year two of the MAV’s cluster pilot project involving the shires of Loddon, Campaspe, Mount Alexander and the City of Greater Bendigo. This project will feature in the MAV’s presentation at the forthcoming Emergency Management Conference 2014.

Also funded was the North West Metro Region collaboration project, and SES flood evacuation planning for eight priority towns across the state.

For further information, contact Ros Handley.

VCOSS and MAV Emergency Management Forum

On Friday 13 June the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) and the MAV held a joint Emergency Management Forum in Seymour. The theme of the day was 'cooperation and collaboration in emergency management: local government and community organisations'. The forum featured presentations under the themes of resilience, volunteering, collaboration and vulnerable people.

VCOSS also launched its Disaster and Disadvantage: Social Vulnerability in Emergency Management Report. The report includes a series of recommendations on how to better prepare for and deliver enhanced emergency response, relief and recovery measures to support socially vulnerable people.

The MAV would like to thank the councils and community service organisations who presented and attended the forum.

Presentations will be available on the members section of the MAV website shortly.

For more information, contact Madelyn Jarvis.

Emergency Management Victoria update

As part of the State’s emergency management reform agenda, Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) will be formally established on 1 July.

EMV will incorporate staff from the Fire Services Commissioner’s office, Integrated Fire Management Planning, the Emergency Management Division of the Department of Justice, as well as some newly created positions.

Two new statutory positions - the Emergency Management Commissioner, and the Inspector-General Emergency Management - will also commence on 1 July.

The Department of Justice issued its third update on the establishment of EMV and other reforms earlier this week.

From August, there will be a series of regional forums jointly held by EMV and Inspector-General Emergency Management to introduce stakeholders, including local government, to these and future reforms.

For further information, contact Emma Lake.

Beyond Bushfires second round of surveys

Beyond Bushfires, a five year study led by the University of Melbourne, recently released a research article exploring the prevalence of mental health issues in communities affected by the Black Saturday bushfires.

The study found that 3-4 years after the bushfires most community members are free from significant mental health burdens. The survey that informed the study indicated that social connections and involvement in local community organisations are associated with positive outcomes for individuals.

The team is conducting a second survey and will soon be contacting anyone who completed their original survey between December 2011 – January 2013. The second survey will help inform how health changes over time and to develop better ways of assisting people and communities in their recovery.

Preparing the mind to survive disaster

The ABC recently released a video by Dr Rob Gordon on mental preparedness for disaster. In the video Dr Gordon suggests that people usually have one of two reactions: either they focus on the threat and prepare themselves to react quickly or they have a period of denial.

People who react with denial will usually need someone to make decisions for them. Further to this, Dr Gordon argues that once adrenalin is high enough a person’s problem solving ability disappears, regardless of how intelligent or experienced that person is.

To help people handle emergency situations they should be encouraged to take in the information that is available instead of relying on their own assumptions. This can include focussing on themselves.

Call for submissions for a national review of warnings and information

The Emergency Management Commissioner Victoria, with the support of a national steering committee, is undertaking a national review of emergency warnings and information. The review is funded through the National Emergency Management Project grants program.

The review will benchmark what is considered best practice by identifying common challenges, emerging trends, innovation and gaps in how we provide information to communities during emergencies. Importantly, it is working across a multi-hazard environment and looking at emergencies such as bushfire, flood, storm, cyclone and other hazards.

Six themes will make up the review: policy and process, channels and systems, construction of warnings, community response workforce capability, and continuous improvement and innovation.

The final report will be presented to the Australia New Zealand Emergency Management Committee in November.

The project team for the National Review of Warnings and Information is currently calling for written submissions by 31 July. Submissions can include research and case studies.

To make a submission, or for further information, contact Deb Symons at Cube Management Solutions via email or on 9654 0933 / 0412 226 830.

Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2014

The Justice Legislation Amendment Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 17 June. The  Country Fire Authority Act 1958 and Emergency Management Act 1986 were amended to remove references to designation of a community fire refuge.

Community fire refuges will now be prescribed in regulations but should still be referenced in plans.

The CFA Act has also been amended to remove the requirement for the MAV Board to nominate two members for the CFA Board.

Upcoming MAV events...

26 - 27 June

MAV Rural and Regional Planning Conference 2014

7 July

Local government’s core business

25 - 27 July

MAV Councillor Development Weekend 2014


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