In this issue:                                                                     October 2014

MAV submission to Productivity Commission Inquiry
VAGO Heatwave Report
2013-14 Fire Season Compliance Report
State Emergency Relief and Recovery Plan update
Updated EMT arrangements
Future Victoria Forum
Outcome of CFA Regulations consultation
Emergency Management Act Amendment
Harrietville Community Emergency Management Plan
World Disasters Report released by Red Cross
Facebook safety check

MAV submission to Productivity Commission Inquiry

The MAV has finalised its submission in response to the Productivity Commission's draft report on natural disaster funding. We would like to thank councils for their feedback and support for our draft.

We are pleased the draft report has incorporated a number of concerns councils have with the current funding arrangements. Specifically, the Commission has acknowledged that the prescriptive nature of the current funding arrangements have restricted councils’ ability to spend funding effectively. The MAV supports more autonomy being given to councils to distribute funding efficiently and in line with community priorities.

However, we are concerned that a number of the draft recommendations and the reform options proposed by the Commission will lead to a significant financial burden on councils that have limited financial capacity to further contribute to natural disaster funding.

For further information, contact Martijn Gough.

VAGO Heatwave Report

The Auditor-General's report Heatwave Management: Reducing the Risk to Public Health was tabled in parliament on 14 October. The audit examined whether the State’s heatwave framework has been effective in reducing the impact of extreme heat on public health.

It found that while implementation of the framework and the collective efforts of all agencies contributed to reducing the impact of extreme heat in the 2014 heatwave, there were some shortcomings that need to be addressed. The report includes eight recommendations, directed at Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) and the Department of Health. These include that EMV:

  • working with appropriate agencies, clarifies the control and other roles and responsibilities for heatwave arrangements; and, importantly for councils
  • in developing the new emergency management planning legislation, clarifies the role of municipal councils and includes a quality assurance mechanism for municipal emergency management planning.

For more information, contact Emma Lake.

2013-14 Fire Season Compliance Report

The Inspector-General Emergency Management (IGEM) has released his 2013-14 Fire Season Compliance Report. The report is the result of an investigation into the progress and implementation of identified actions from the Post Season Operations Review Fire Danger Period 2013-14, and the Goongerah-Deddick Trail Fire and Mt Ray Fire community reports.

The identified actions investigated included:

  • road traffic management – in particular Traffic Management Points (TMPs)
  • community involvement in fire preparedness, response and recovery.

EMT arrangements

  • initial attack and utilisation of resources
  • cross border fire arrangements
  • other systemic issues identified from the 2013-14 fire season reports.

As part of the process, agencies and organisations were requested to provide IGEM with evidence regarding the progress made in implementing the actions. Relevant stakeholders within the sector and communities in East Gippsland were consulted prior to finalisation of the report.

Findings relating to councils include:

  • In relation to TMPs: the inclusion of persons with local knowledge, including representatives from local government, VicRoads, DEPI and other agencies on Incident Management Teams and Emergency Management Teams, to ensure relevant expertise in relation to traffic management is considered
  • In relation to Community Engagement: IGEM found that East Gippsland Shire Council had made positive progress in engaging with the community and agencies to better prepare and recover from emergencies.

State Emergency Relief and Recovery Plan

The updated State Emergency Relief and Recovery Plan (Part 4 of the Emergency Management Manual Victoria (EMMV)) has been endorsed by the Emergency Management Commissioner.

Relief and recovery arrangements have not changed with this new edition. However, key changes with this version include:

  • Removal of operational guidance, making the plan more concise
  • Removal of duplication of other parts of the EMMV and national arrangements
  • Greater focus on cross-sector responsibilities, resilience, consequence management and accountability
  • Identification of agencies with coordination responsibilities and details of the expectations of coordinators
  • Clarification of DHS’ role in relief and recovery communications
  • An additional recovery environment added, so there are now five (social, built, natural, economic and agricultural)
  • A greater distinction between relief and recovery activities
  • Summary of the matters that need to be addressed by local, regional and state relief and recovery planning
  • Creation of the requirement for a State Relief Coordination Plan and State Recovery Coordination.

The updated plan commences from 1 November and is now available.

For more information, contact Emma Lake.

Updated EMT arrangements

The Emergency Management Team (EMT) Arrangements have been updated for 2014 with the consequential changes arising from the introduction of the Emergency Management Act 2013, the updated EMMV Part 3 - State Emergency Response Plan, the learnings from the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry and other reviews.

There are also additional references to the role of local government. The arrangements guide the operation of EMTs across the readiness, response and recovery phases of emergency management.

Future Victoria Forum

Health and Human Services Emergency Management is hosting a seminar to discuss how Victoria’s social and environmental landscape is evolving.

The event, Future Victoria Forum: A conversation about Victoria's changing social and environmental landscape, will look at the long term impacts of climate change, and how our population is ageing and growing in its diversity. These trends have unprecedented implications for emergency health, relief and recovery planning.

The event will take place at the Melbourne Museum on 5 December.

The event will be opened by Adam Dent, Director, Emergency Relief and Recovery at Emergency Management Victoria, and will include a keynote address from Bernard Salt.

Places are strictly limited and bookings are essential, registrations can be made online.

Outcome of CFA Regulations consultation

The Regulatory Impact Statement for the proposed Country Fire Authority Regulations 2014 was released for public comment on 20 August until 17 September. The Regulations, which will come into effect on 1 November, will be made with the following amendments:

  • A regulation explicitly stating the responsibilities of a forestry industry brigade has been reinstated, to make it clear that forestry industry brigades are responsible for fire suppression on their plantation holdings.
  • The regulation that relates to designating a forestry industry brigade has been amended to better reflect the intended scale of activity that will give rise to the designation of an area; and to make it clear that designated areas for different forestry industry brigades should not overlap.
  • The requirement to supply reasons for a decision or determination under Part 3 has been removed and the proposed Regulations maintain the notification requirements in the existing Country Fire Authority Regulations 2004.
  • Other minor changes have been made to modernise the expression of certain regulations and ensure internal consistency in the use of terms.

The Regulations do not result in a substantive change in policy from the existing Country Fire Authority Regulations 2004, except to increase the fee for emergency attendances at false alarms, false reports, hazardous materials incidents and incidents on vessels.

Emergency Management Act Amendment

The Emergency Management Amendment (Critical Infrastructure Resilience) Act 2014 received Royal Assent this week.

The purpose of the legislation is to amend the Emergency Management Act 2013 to provide for emergency risk management arrangements for critical infrastructure resilience.

The legislation also amended the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Terrorism (Community Protection) Act 2003

Harrietville Community Emergency Management Plan

The Harrietville Community Emergency Management Plan was launched by the local community in Harrietville on 1 October 2014.

John Atkins from the Harrietville Community Forum launched the plan, together with Country Fire Authority Captain Gary Weston. Representatives from the Alpine Shire Council, emergency management organisations, and Emergency Management Commissioner, Craig Lapsley also attended.

The collaborative approach to develop and implement this plan aims to support the local community of Harrietville to become safer and more resilient toward the impacts from priority natural hazards such as bushfire, flood and landslide. An independent evaluation of this approach will also contribute toward developing a broader community-based framework for Victoria.

A copy of the Harrietville plan is available to councils via the MAV e-library.

For further information contact, Madelyn Jarvis.

World Disasters Report released by Red Cross

The World Disasters Report is produced annually by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The report found that more than 100 million people were affected by disasters last year.

The report estimates that disasters in Australia cost more than $2.7 billion in terms of recovery and productivity loss. The report also indicates that over 77, 500 people were affected by disasters in Australia and the Pacific.

Facebook safety check

Facebook has launched a new safety check capability. Facebook users who are near a natural disaster will now have the option to quickly notify members of their newsfeed that they are safe. Find out more here.

Upcoming MAV events...

5 November

Melbourne Water flood strategy workshop

6 & 14 November

Planning and Building 101

19 November

MAV Aboriginal Employment Forum


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