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Emergency management

We support councils to undertake their roles and responsibilities under Victoria’s emergency management arrangements through advocacy, guidance and practical assistance.

We also represent local government on state-level committees and working groups.

Emergency management news

Capability improvement

The emergency management capability of councils is improved through our support of existing programs and activities and the development of the development of new models for sharing knowledge and resources among councils.

This includes helping the local government sector maintain and improve performance standards in the delivery of emergency management services.

We have produced the Local government emergency management handbook for council emergency management practitioners. It is designed to:

  • provide an overview of councils’ emergency management obligations
  • provide guidance on council emergency management planning, structures and roles
  • assist councils to select and develop the right emergency management personnel.

The handbook was developed in association with the Municipal Emergency Management Enhancement Group (MEMEG), with support from the Victorian and Australian Governments. It was produced with funding from the Australian Government through the Natural Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme.

We continue to work with MEMEG on joint projects that enable resource sharing among councils in emergencies and improve the standardisation of emergency management activity and structures within councils.

We also provide specialised services to councils for:

  • developing and procuring complex emergency management systems
  • coordinating inter-council donations during emergencies.

Read more information about capability improvement.

VAGO Heatwave Report

The Auditor-General's report Heatwave Management: Reducing the Risk to Public Health (PDF - 1.88MB) was tabled in parliament on 14 October 2014. 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.

State Emergency Relief and Recovery Plan

The updated State Emergency Relief and Recovery Plan (Part 4 of the Emergency Management Manual Victoria (EMMV) (PDF - 575KB) 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 commenced on 1 November 2014.

For more information, contact Emma Lake.

Emergency management reform

The role of Victorian local government in emergency management has been changing and expanding.

The Victorian Government is reforming the state's crisis and emergency management arrangements. As part of this reform process a Green Paper, Towards a more disaster resilient and safer Victoria, was released in September 2011.

On December 10, 2012 the State Government released the Emergency Management Reform White Paper.

The actions outlined in the White Paper are informed by the Final Report of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, the Final Report of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response, submissions on the Towards a More Disaster Resilience and Safer Victoria Green Paper and the Fire Services Reform Action Plan.

The MAV is pleased that many of the White Paper’s actions are in line with our policy position, advocated through our submission to the Green Paper and our Role of local government in emergency management paper. Our policy position was developed in consultation with our members.

There are, however, actions within the White Paper that are unclear or not specific. These actions require further consideration and consultation with State Government to determine their effect on local government emergency management arrangements, responsibilities and funding.

A members’ brief on the White Paper details MAV’s thoughts on actions within the paper that affect local government. This brief was presented to and approved by the MAV Board on 1 February 2013 and is available to download from this website. The members’ brief forms the basis for MAV’s advocacy to State Government and relevant agencies.

It is important to recognise that the White Paper is the next stage in developing and implementing a reform agenda. Therefore councils will continue to undertake emergency management arrangements consistent with current policy and plans until policy and procedural changes are implemented.

For more information, see: Improving emergency management in local government program.


We work with Victorian agencies, the Victorian Government and councils to increase consistency and integration in fire management.

At the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission we represented local government. We coordinated local government’s response to the commission’s final report recommendations and to the Victorian Government’s implementation strategy.

As part of the State’s response to the 2009 bushfires, neighbourhood safer places (NSPs) were introduced as a last resort bushfire shelter option. We developed guidance and planning documents to support councils’ role to identify and designate NSPs and worked with government departments and agencies to develop land-use consent protocols.

We also represented councils throughout the State’s community fire refuges pilot project which resulted in three fire refuges operating over the 2013–14 fire season.

Recent MAV submissions include responses to the Victorian Government’s Fire services' property levy options paper (2011) and Bushfire shelter options discussion paper (2013).

Read more information about our fire management work.


We are working with the Department of Environment and Primary Industries to influence the Victorian Floodplain Management Strategy and a member of the Project Control Board for the Melbourne Flood Strategy.

We made a submission on behalf of local government to the Victorian review of 2010 – 2011 flood warnings and response.

We also made a submission to the State Parliament Environment and Natural Resources Committee's Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure in Victoria.

Read more information about our on work on flood management work.


Our advocacy had a focus on the role local government would play in the event of a pandemic.

We worked with councils and the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services on resources and plans to clarify the role of councils in a pandemic.

For information about pandemic influenza, visit the Department of Health website.


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