In this issue:                                                                     September 2014

Natural Disaster Funding
Seasonal Outlook released
Early bird registration for Flood Forum Victoria closing soon
Progress on the National Review of Warnings and Information
Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report released

Resilient Awards finalists
2014-15 Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme
Waste Tyres – Regulatory Impact Statement
Have your say and help create a new Melbourne Flood Strategy

Natural Disaster Funding

On 25 September the Productivity Commission released the Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements Draft Report. A number of the draft recommendations directly affect local government, and if implemented will significantly change the way natural disaster mitigation, relief and recovery is funded across Australia.

The MAV is pleased that the draft report has incorporated a number of issues we raised in our submission to the PC issues paper.

We provisionally support draft recommendations pertaining to councils receiving additional support and guidance from the State Government to effectively implement a number of their responsibilities. However, further investigation is required to understand how these recommendations will work in practice.

We will be considering the draft recommendations and their implications in more detail in coming weeks, and in consultation with our members will provide a formal submission to the Productivity Commission outlining our views.

For more information, contact Martijn Gough.

Seasonal Outlook released

The Bushfire and Natural Hazard CRC has released its Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, with southern and eastern states forecast to experience a trend towards an increasing number of bad fire weather days.

The forecast for Victoria is for an above normal season in many areas of central, north and western Victoria. Key factors informing this forecast are the below average rainfall, a warmer spring, and potential for the fire season to start earlier and end later.

Early bird registration for Flood Forum Victoria closing soon

The Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is hosting a two day flood forum in Mildura on 13-14 November. The forum provides an opportunity for people involved in floodplain management to come together to network, listen, and present on issues of relevance to Victoria.

The event will begin with a dinner cruise along the Murray River on 12 November, with the following two days including presentations from CMAs, Melbourne Water, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, State Emergency Services, the Bureau of Meteorology, local government, the MAV and the private sector.

The forum will also include a late afternoon tour of Hattah Lakes on 13 November.

Registrations are now open. Early bird rates apply to all registrations made by 3 October.

For more information, email Geri Thwaites or call 03 5051 4377.

Progress on the National Review of Warnings and Information

The Emergency Management Commissioner, supported by a national steering committee, has been undertaking a National Review of Warnings and Information. It is also investigating the use of Emergency Alert, the telephony based warning system.

The review aims to share jurisdictional knowledge, and develop a picture of good practice across a range of hazard types, such as fire, flood, storm and cyclone.

To bring together the various work and findings, a national workshop has recently been held in NSW to discuss and explore the emerging themes.

The review encompasses a number of themes including: policy and process, channels and systems, construction of warnings, community response, workforce capability, and continuous improvement and innovation.

Funded by the National Emergency Management Project grants program, and the Emergency Alert Program, the final report will be prepared by November, and presented to the Australia New Zealand Emergency Management Committee.

For more information, contact Deb Symons at Cube Management Solutions, (03) 9654 0933.

Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report released

The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report was tabled in parliament on 2 September.

The report, produced by a government-appointed Board of Inquiry chaired by the Honourable Bernard Teague AO, contains 18 recommendations. The Victorian Government has stated it supports the 12 recommendations which apply to it, 11 of them in full, and recommendation five in principle. The remaining recommendations are directed at the mine owner, GDF Suez.

The report covers issues including health and wellbeing, the mine regulatory regime, fire management planning, land use planning and communications during emergencies.

The Board of Inquiry commended Latrobe City Council for undertaking a door knock of the entire town of Morwell, as well as the efforts of council officers who assisted with the door knock.

Recommendations include:

  • Rec 3: The State enact legislation to require Integrated Fire Management Planning and authorise the Emergency Management Commissioner to develop and implement regional and municipal fire management plans
  • Rec 10: The State extend the long-term health study to at least 20 years, appoint an independent board, and direct the independent board to publish regular progress reports (abrv); and
  • Rec 12: The State, led by Emergency Management Victoria, develop a community engagement model for emergency management to ensure all State agencies and local government engage with communities and already identified trusted networks as an integral component of emergency management planning.

Neil Comrie AO APM, who was Implementation Monitor for the Bushfire Royal Commission, will oversee the implementation of these recommendations.

Resilient Awards finalists

The Victorian finalists for the 2014 Resilient Australia Awards were announced at a ceremony on 22 September. The Resilient Australia Awards recognise the ongoing work of community groups, businesses, state agencies and local councils.

The awards are a national initiative sponsored by the Australian Government’s Attorney General’s Department, in conjunction with states and territories.

The MAV would like to congratulate Nillumbik Shire Council, Moira Shire Council and their partners for their success at the awards, and wish them all the best for the national awards. The Cities of Port Phillip, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Wyndham and Frankston were all involved in projects that received commendations.

2014-15 Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme

Grants are now available under the Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme (NDRGS) towards a range of emergency management projects.

The purpose of the scheme is to support projects leading to strengthening of community resilience to natural disasters consistent with State risk profiles, and providing support to emergency management volunteers.

The closing date for applications is 24 October. For further information, email the NDRGS liaison officer or call (03) 8685 1309.

Waste Tyres – Regulatory Impact Statement

The EPA has released a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) canvassing regulatory and non-regulatory options to achieve safe and efficient storage of used waste tyres. The RIS aims to identify the best way to minimise the environmental, fire and public health effects from the inappropriate storage of waste tyres.

It is estimated that approximately six million waste passenger car tyres were unaccounted for in Victoria in 2012-13, believed to be stockpiled or illegally dumped. Large volumes of tyres can create a serious fire hazard and once ignited are difficult to extinguish and can cause significant environmental, social and economic costs.

The proposed regulations require premises that store more than 40 tonnes or 5,000 equivalent passenger units of whole waste tyres to obtain works approvals and licences from EPA.

Submissions in response to the RIS can be emailed, and are due by 5pm, 31 October.
Have your say and help create a new Melbourne Flood Strategy

Melbourne Water has written to the 38 councils within the MW boundary seeking feedback to help draft a new Floodplain Management Strategy for the Port Phillip and Westernport region.

The strategy will guide how Melbourne Water, and other agencies with flood management roles work with the community to manage flooding and risks into the future.

After holding a series of community and stakeholder workshops, Melbourne Water has developed a Key Concepts and Directions document outlining the issues heard so far, and preliminary objectives and action pathways for the new strategy.

Consultation is open until 5pm, 29 October. For more information email Melbourne Water.

Upcoming MAV events...

3 October

Community, self-reliance, limits to growth and local governance

14 October

2014/15 Summer fire campaign communications briefing

23 October

MAV Annual Conference and Dinner 2014


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