In this issue:                                                                    October, 2013

Financial management of emergencies
Emergency management presentation at MAV’s Best Practice Forums
Emergency management reforms enter Parliament
New transition to recovery template
Location-based emergency warnings broadcast to mobile phones
CFA’s Members Quick Reference Guide updated
The Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab Survey
Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry
New books available that strengthen bushfire safety
Just ask: a conference on the experiences of men after disaster

Financial management of emergencies

The MAV has developed a Financial Management of Emergencies Guide and will hold a forum to strengthen the ability of Victorian councils to manage their organisation’s financial sustainability during and following an emergency event within their municipality.The guide includes recommended processes for tracking expenditure, advice on funding arrangements, and recommendations relating to procurement and financial delegations.

The guide will be launched at the forum, which will include briefings by the Department of Treasury and VicRoads on natural disaster funding arrangements, as well as presentations relating to insurance, the direct experience of council officers, and the Crisisworks (MECC Central) incident management software which enables resource tracking.

Council finance staff are encouraged to attend the forum on Thursday 14 November from 9.30am – 1pm at Treasury Theatre in East Melbourne. Bookings can be made online and the cost to attend is $85 (inc GST).

For further information contact Ros Handley.

Emergency management presentation at MAV’s Best Practice Forums

The MAV recently conducted a round of Best Practice forums for council risk managers. The forums took place in the eastern rural region, north-central rural region, joint metropolitan region and the south-west rural region.  MAV emergency management staff provided attendees with an overview of council emergency management roles and responsibilities, and potential areas of exposure including:

  • legislative responsibilities
  • vulnerable communities and individuals, and
  • emergency shelters, including Neighbourhood Safer Places and Fire Refuges.

Council risk managers were engaged throughout the presentations, and clarified issues relating to insurance and liability of councils in emergency events.

Emergency management reforms enter Parliament

The first tranche of legislation designed to reform Victoria’s emergency management arrangements was introduced to Parliament on 17 October.

The Emergency Management Bill 2013 focuses on introducing new governance arrangements including two new bodies, the State Crisis and Resilience Council, and Emergency Management Victoria (EMV).

The MAV CEO is a member of the State Crisis and Resilience Council, which will act as the peak emergency management advisory body responsible for policy and strategy across the emergency management spectrum. EMV will become the overarching body for emergency management in Victoria.

The legislation also allows for the creation of new emergency management roles. One particular role is the Emergency Management Commissioner (EMC) who will supersede the Fire Services Commissioner and take on a broader ‘all-hazards’ scope. The current Fire Services Commissioner, Craig Lapsley has been announced as Victoria’s first EMC. EMV and the EMC will not become operational until after the 2013/14 summer season and current arrangements will continue for the time being.

This legislation is the beginning of the first major overhaul of Victoria’s emergency management system in 27 years. The reform will take a number of years to complete with legislation introduced in stages. The MAV is continuing to engage the State Government and advocate for councils on the progression and detail of reform proposals.

New transition to recovery template

The Department of Human Services has updated the 'Transition to Recovery' template for use this summer season.  The template was developed to assist in the formal recognition of the transition of responsibility from response coordination to recovery coordination.

The purpose of the template is to enable the Incident Controller and Response Coordinator to facilitate a seamless transition of information, resources, management and coordination of activities to the Municipal Recovery Manager, and if relevant, also the Regional and State Recovery Coordinator/s. The revised 'Transition to Recovery' template now better clarifies its purpose, includes a reference to a new recovery website, and contains an updated checklist of key actions to be completed to fulfil the transition.

Importantly, the template specifies clearly whether transition to recovery has occurred at the municipal level (only) or whether transition has also occurred at the regional and state levels.

The template is available on the MAV’s Emergency Management e-library. To gain access please contact Ros Handley. Any questions regarding the template should be directed to your regional emergency management contact in the Department of Human Services.

Location-based emergency warnings broadcast to mobile phones

During October, the Australian Government launched a significant enhancement to Emergency Alert that now sees location-based warnings broadcast to all Australian mobile phone networks during emergencies.

The service is designed to reach active mobile phones that are roaming on Australia’s networks. The new technology solution enables a text message to be sent to mobile phones in the vicinity of an emergency. Previously emergency warning messages could only be sent to a mobile phone’s registered service address, which meant that visitors to the area would not receive any messages.

The Victorian Government has led the four-year national project to deliver the location-based emergency warning capability, and this launch marks the final milestone in the national telephone-based emergency warning project.

It is important to note that while location-based Emergency Alert is a significant addition to the suite of warnings available, no-one should rely solely on a mobile phone for warnings. People should also listen for updates available on the radio, emergency services websites and by staying aware of conditions outside.

CFA’s Members Quick Reference Guide updated

The CFA has updated their Members Quick Reference Guide on fire safety in the community. The updated pocket guide recognises that all CFA members have a highly respected voice in their community. If you are a CFA member, it will help you create conversations, answer questions and promote fire safety at the local level.

The guide has the following additions:

  • grassfire key messages specifically for those living on the urban fringe
  • updated house fire statistics to assist members to make their point
  • updated images and descriptions of the best resources.

Members can download the guide from Brigades Online or request a hard copy from your district office.

The Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab Survey

The Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab (VEIL) at the University of Melbourne is running a Federal Government-funded research project looking at barriers and opportunities for community disaster resilience.

Part of their project looks at people's perspectives of the future, risks from extreme weather, and ways to prepare. As a result they have created a survey to explore people's perspectives at a broader level. If your work, paid or unpaid, touches on any aspect of emergency management, disaster response or climate change adaptation (as a non-researcher), you can provide input to the project by filling out this online survey.

The survey is anonymous and all questions are voluntary. It should take between 15 - 25 minutes. If you have questions about the survey or the project please contact Che Biggs at VEIL.

Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry

In January 2013, Tasmania experienced a record heat wave which contributed to catastrophic bushfire conditions. A number of bushfires active that day were unable to be controlled for some days, and destroyed significant amounts of public and private property.

In April this year an inquiry into these bushfires was announced. The intent of the inquiry was to learn from these events to ensure that Tasmania can be better prepared for the future, as climate change will result in more extreme weather, more often.

If you are interested in the findings of the Inquiry, the 2013 Tasmanian Bushfires Inquiry Report is now available.

New books available that strengthen bushfire safety

Two books have recently been launched by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), the:

Aimed at policy makers and operational personnel, the updated and revised handbook includes new coverage of climate change adaptation, which has rapidly become central to disaster and emergency planning and management. The handbook is essential for practitioners across the world seeking to improve the quality, robustness and capacity of their disaster management mechanisms. It is available for order from Palgrave MacMillan.

Designed for parents to help discuss bushfire preparation and safety with their children, the ebook is interactive and engaging and outlines how the whole family can help prepare for bushfire. The ebook is available from the Bushfire CRC website, or can be downloaded from the link above.

Just ask: a conference on the experiences of men after disaster

Black Saturday rocked many lives and it became apparent that many men struggled significantly, didn't access formal or even informal support, and sometimes hurt themselves and the people they love.

Women’s Health Goulburn North East, in partnership with Monash University’s Injury Research Institute is holding Just ask: a conference on the experiences of men after a disaster on Tuesday 26 November. The conference will discuss attendees experiences during and after Black Saturday and encourage them to speak up about the issues faced and to ask questions. It draws together representatives from the emergency management sector, all levels of government, and other key organisations.

To register complete the online registration form. For all enquiries please contact the conference organisers, Happenings Australia on (02) 9341 2007.

Upcoming MAV events...

14 November

Financial management of emergencies forum

15 November

Coastal adaptation forum: local and State government working together

18 December

Victorian local government preventing violence against women forum


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