In this issue:                                                                    June, 2013

ABR data for disaster response and recovery
Information Interoperability Blueprint
Harrietville fire report
Flood relief and recovery report
Disaster assistance for June floods
Paper in a Day workshop - Children in emergencies
New guide to help children in emergencies
New evacuation planning handbook
Business FloodSafe case studies launched

ABR data for disaster response and recovery

In late June the MAV, representatives from a number of councils and various state government departments met with the Australian Business Register (ABR) to discuss their Data for Disaster Response and Recovery project.

ABR data, available free of charge, can be used to identify businesses in affected areas that can assist with recovery efforts. The ABR allows government organisations access to additional non-public information, including industry description and contact details, which can allow for improved support to businesses affected by disasters.

In light of recent natural disasters experienced in Tasmania, Victoria, Northern New South Wales and Queensland, the ABR identified an opportunity to improve the service provided to government during these times.

The ABR is currently conducting research for the project and invited Victorian emergency management agencies to discuss how ABR data can be improved to assist in disaster response and recovery.

Responses from this session will be used to help guide the data ABR delivers and how it is provided. If you are interested in this project or increasing your understanding of how ABR data can be used to help inform disaster planning, response and recovery please contact Sandee Harris on 07 3149 5944.

Information Interoperability Blueprint

The Fire Services Commissioner has released the Information Interoperability Blueprint, a strategy for the future provision of information and warnings for all emergencies in Victoria. It aims to enable Victoria’s emergency services to work better together with the community, government, not-for-profit and private organisations. The Blueprint articulates a new approach to delivering information to communities before, during and after emergencies.

The MAV participated in a webinar in June titled Identifying Next Generation Emergency Management, which outlined the Blueprint’s goals and identified some of the steps required to achieve them. This includes the technological platform required to deliver the outcomes detailed in the Information Interoperability Blueprint, which is defined as the Victorian Information Network for Emergencies (VINE).

The MAV will continue to work with the Fire Services Commissioner and consult with local government to ensure these reforms are well communicated, and advocate for the specific needs and interests of councils.

Harrietville fire report

The Minister for Emergency Services and Bushfire Response, Kim Wells has released the report into the 2013 Harrietville fire.

The Minister has also announced that the Harrietville community will work with Victoria’s fire agencies to develop a community emergency management plan for the area.

The development of the plan was a key outcome from a community meeting with the Fire Services Commissioner on 5 June, after May’s release of the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner’s report into the Harrietville fire.

The Harrietville fire which started on 21 January as a result of a lightning strike, was the third major fire in the area in ten years and caused the community significant distress.

Development of the community emergency management plan, which will be facilitated by the Fire Services Commissioner in the initial stages, will be under-way in the next few weeks to be in place before the next fire season.

Flood relief and recovery report

Between September 2010 and March 2011 Victoria experienced some of the most extensive and damaging floods in its history. These floods affected 70 of the 79 Victorian local government areas.

The Victorian Government received $500 million from the Commonwealth to contribute to relief and recovery costs estimated to total $971 million.

The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) has undertaken an audit which assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the state’s relief and recovery arrangements in the aftermath of the 2010-11 floods.

The audit is critical of the governance model chosen by the Government, which it describes as ‘siloed’. The VAGO argues that this approach resulted in fragmented relief and recovery where 45 programs, offered by nine departments, created confusion in communities and constraints on the oversight committee’s ability to lead, intervene and change what departments were doing.

The VAGO also found that the 15 relief and recovery programs examined in the audit provided adequate coverage of social, economic and environmental needs. Relationships and shared knowledge at a local government level played a very powerful role in determining the success of flood relief and recovery in affected communities.

Disaster assistance for June floods

Federal Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management, Mark Dreyfus QC and Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Kim Wells announced on 29 June disaster assistance to help Victorian communities affected by the June 2013 flood event.

The Shires of Bass Coast, Colac Otway, East Gippsland, Mornington Peninsula, South Gippsland, Surf Coast, Wellington and Latrobe City Council will receive disaster assistance under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Information regarding the range of assistance that is available in Victoria for this event can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website.

Paper in a Day workshop - Children in emergencies

The Department of Health and Human Services is holding a free Paper in a Day workshop on the topic of children in emergencies on 1 August. This is supported by National Emergency Management Project funding from the federal Attorney-General’s Department.

Articles produced through the workshop will be considered for publication by the Australian Journal of Emergency Management (AJEM) as part of a special edition on children and youth in emergencies (early 2014).

The day will draw on the experiences of contributors including young people, government and non-government organisations, emergency service organisations and academics, providing an opportunity to document best practice and key learning in the area of children and youth in emergency management.

To participate in Paper in a Day, please register online. For further information contact Janne Bowen on 9096 2086.

New guide to help children in emergencies

A new national guide to help local councils across Australia plan for the diverse needs of children caught up in an emergency has been officially released by the federal Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management, Mark Dreyfus QC and the Victorian Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge.

Emergency Management Planning for Children and Young People – Planning Guide for Local Government is designed to offer councils practical advice on how to recognise and include the unique needs of children and young people into their emergency management plans.

New evacuation planning handbook

Attorney-General and Minister for Emergency Management, Mark Dreyfus QC launched the updated Evacuation Planning Handbook this month. It is the latest in the Australian Emergency Management Handbooks series.

Experts from across Australia worked with the Australian Emergency Management Institute to produce the handbook, which provides information to help emergency managers plan and prepare for evacuation planning.

The Minister also launched Phase Three of the Australian Emergency Management Knowledge Hub.

The Knowledge Hub was opened in 2012 and is an online resource providing the emergency management sector and the general public with access to information and resources.

Phase Three of the Knowledge Hub provides new features including a case study library, an emergency management people network, live conferencing and increased social media interaction through wikis and blogs.

Business FloodSafe case studies launched

Victoria State Emergency Service has produced two video case studies to demonstrate how important it is for businesses to prepare for the threat of flooding.

The videos showcase two businesses - one rural and one in Melbourne's CBD - whose owners share their stories of facing a natural disaster and the lessons learnt.

Floods cost Victorian communities an average of $465 million each year. The aim of the project is to help business understand how a flood may affect them and demonstrate the value of preparedness.

The videos can be viewed online, as can further information on preparing a business for flood risk.

Upcoming MAV events...

12 July

Local government legislative framework workshop

26 - 28 July 

Councillor development weekend

6 September - 4 October

Company directors course


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