In this issue:                                                                     February, 2014

Continuation of the Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program
Sandbag guideline development
Resilient Community Program applications
Special edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management
Upcoming seminars, events and courses
Recently released reports


Continuation of the Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program

The MAV welcomes this week's announcement by Minister Powell that the Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program (MERP) will be funded for a further two years.

The 64 councils within CFA districts will continue to receive the funding to address the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The MERP funding recognises the considerable work undertaken by local councils in emergency management, and the extension of the funding will assist them to continue this work.

For further information, contact Ros Handley or Emma Lake.

Sandbag guideline development

The MAV has been working with councils and VicSES to develop guidelines for the distribution of sandbags during a flood. Currently there are no clearly defined roles and responsibilities in relation to the procurement, storage and distribution of sandbags.

VicSES is leading development of the guideline and expects to complete the project by late June. A steering committee consisting of local councils has been established. VicSES also intends to conduct targeted consultation with councils in the coming months.

For further information, contact Madelyn Jarvis.

Resilient Community Program applications

Applications from rural and regional councils for a Regional Development Victoria (RDV) Resilient Community program are now being sought.

The program provides funding to support community-led projects which build capacity to prepare for, withstand and recover from different hazards. The program replaces the Fire Ready Community grants and forms part of the Regional Growth Fund.

The program supports projects that:

  • Create widespread understanding of local risks and hazards through community education and engagement, about shared responsibility for all hazards across communities
  • Build resilience and capacity for community involvement in emergency management planning
  • Develop flexible, networked local responses to support communities to adapt to and manage adverse events.

Funding is open to 48 regional and rural councils, with the following councils also eligible to apply: Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Knox, Manningham, Melton, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges.

The application deadline is 31 March. For more information, councils should contact their local RDV office.

Special edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management

The January edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management (AJEM) had a special focus on children and youth issues in emergencies. The AJEM is produced quarterly by the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department.

Included is an article about Macedon Ranges youth experiences in emergency management planning. The article details the experiences of participants of a Youth Emergency Management Workshop hosted by Macedon Ranges Shire Council.

The workshop was co-hosted by the council’s Youth Services Development Unit and Emergency Management Unit. Participants were encouraged to identify areas of concern and the possible actions that could remedy those concerns.

A key action from the process was the establishment of a youth sub-committee that feeds into the Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee (MEMPC). Recently, two members from the youth sub-committee were invited to sit on the Macedon Ranges MEMPC.

The AJEM features other articles about child and youth experiences in emergencies, both in Australia and abroad.

Upcoming seminars, events and courses

The RMIT Centre for Risk and Community Safety is hosting a seminar on Measuring Resilience for Disaster Reduction.

The seminar will be held on 1 April from 2-5pm (with refreshments following the seminar).

Professor Joern Birkmann from the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security will be the main speaker.

RSVPs should be sent to Frank Yardley by 24 March.

Monash University Disaster Resilience Initiative (MUDRI) regularly conducts seminars, workshops and short courses through its Professional Development Program.

March offerings include Introduction to Disaster Preparedness and Management (31 March – 4 April), which costs $1500. RSVPs for this course should be sent to Dr Caroline Spencer.  MUDRI courses are open to anyone interested in emergency management.

Recently released reports

The Climate Council has released a report called Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, More Often. The report examines data gathered from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and the CSIRO regarding the severity, duration and timing of heatwaves.

The report found that between 1971 and 2008 the duration and frequency of heatwaves increased. It argues that climate change is making heatwaves worse in terms of impact on people, property and the environment.

The Climate Council argues that by 2050 heatwaves in Victoria could cause an additional 400 deaths annually. Those most at risk of adverse health impacts include the elderly, infants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and outdoor workers.

Friends of the Earth has released a report called Natural Disasters and a Warming Climate; Understanding the Cumulative Financial Impacts on Victoria.

The report uses a compilation of insurance loss statistics to estimate the cost from weather related events in Victoria including fires, floods, storms and heatwaves. The report estimates that from 2003-2013 natural disasters have cost Victoria close to $20 billion.

A new report has been published by the Bushfire CRC, in partnership with Melbourne University. Putting ‘It’ Together: Mapping the Narratives of Bushfire and Place in Two Australian Landscapes aims to understand the underlying social and ecological values people associate with their landscape.

Further, the report examines how scientific, ecological and local intuitive knowledge can contribute to fire management.

The two landscapes examined in the report are the Southern Grampians and the Adelaide Hills (South Australia). Residents from these two areas were asked to ‘mud-map’ their social and ecological landscapes at local and regional scales.

Participants were asked to map out everyday experiences with the landscapes around them.

The report found that the ways people order and prioritise their memory of fire is important in helping them deal with future fire risks.

Upcoming MAV events...

26 - 27 March

Smart Urban Futures

28 March

Urban design, sustainable transport and healthier communities

30 April - 1 May

MAV Environment Conference


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