|Continuation of Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program funding
Victorian councils will have greater certainty around planning for long-term welfare and resilience of their communities with renewed Victorian Government funding announced for emergency management.
Minister Hutchins announced the State has committed $4.56 million to the Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program (MERP) for councils in the 64 Country Fire Authority (CFA) areas for 2016-17. The program was due to conclude on 30 June 2016.
The Minister has written to all councils funded through the program to inform them of continued funding and outlining the next steps.
New funding agreements will take effect from 1 July 2016, and negotiations will include an opportunity for councils that are currently partnered with one or more neighbouring councils to review arrangements for sharing their funding allocation.
The new funding agreements will be informed by outcomes of the MERP evaluation that is currently underway.
LGV intend to reconvene the MERP Steering Committee - which includes Craig Lapsley, the Emergency Management Commissioner, and MAV CEO, Rob Spence to assist DEWLP design the next round of funding and ensure the MERP continues to make a meaningful contribution to supporting the role of local government in emergency management.
The MAV has strongly advocated for the ongoing funding of this vital program and is pleased the government is committed to improving the capacity of councils to plan for the emergency management needs of their communities.
Future of Municipal Emergency Coordination Centres
The State Government has approved a recommendation to remove references to Municipal Emergency Coordination Centres (MECC) from the Emergency Management Manual Victoria (EMMV).
This process should be aligned with the forthcoming process for updating the State Emergency Response Plan (SERP). The new SERP will be updated over the coming months and will be in place by April 2016. References to MECCs as a facility in other parts of the EMMV and other documentation will be removed and edited concurrent to the SERP process.
This result is a positive outcome for councils, and something that the MAV has repeatedly advocated for.
Southern Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook 2015-16
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre has released a hazard note outlining the bushfire outlook for southern Australia 2015-16.
The hazard note includes a map that specifies areas that have an above normal bushfire potential for 2015-2016, along with analysis relating to bushfire conditions, antecedent conditions, seasonal climate outlook, and regional summaries for all Australian states in southern Australia.
Lucinda Nolan announced as CEO of CFA
Victoria’s deputy commissioner for regional operations, Lucinda Nolan has been announced as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority.
Lucinda was selected through a competitive recruitment process and will be the first woman to lead the CFA as CEO. She has held senior roles at Victoria Police over the past 30 years and has a proven track record of providing leadership in a large and complex organisation.
Her role will start in November.
Ken Lay to Chair Ambulance Victoria
Former Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay has been appointed as the chair of Ambulance Victoria.
Mr Lay states that he will modernise the organisation with the use of modern technology to assist the organisation in moving forward.
The board of Ambulance Victoria resigned in 2014 at the request of the newly elected Labor Government following pay disputes with paramedics. A full board will be appointed in the coming months.
Updated Victorian State Smoke Framework
Emergency Management Victoria has completed an update of the Victorian State Smoke Framework which was recently approved and endorsed by the Chief Officers of MFB, CFA and DELWP, Environment Protection Authority CEO, and EMV.
The Framework has been developed by Victorian Government agencies in response to the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry which identified the need for guidance in the management of significant smoke events that impact air quality and the health of communities.
Two key drivers underpin the Framework:
- The need for a more integrated cross-sector approach to dealing with emergencies and managing the short and long-term risks of smoke and other hazardous emissions
- The need to work more closely with Victorian communities.
As the State Smoke Framework is implemented across agencies over the next 12 - 18 months, it will broaden to eventually be applied to a wide-range of situations that may be of public concern. New protocols and standards will continue to be developed, particularly those that offer some context to risks posed by certain events requiring specific monitoring or analysis. This will ensure the Framework remains current and relevant, able to safely respond to changing circumstances, and meet community needs.