Comrie Flood Review - Interim Report Released
Last week the Victorian Government released an Interim Report for the 2010-11 Victorian Floods Review, which examines aspects of flood response and recovery, emergency warnings and evacuation. The review is being conducted by Mr Neil Comrie AO APM, with the final report due for release on 1 December. In line with the review’s terms of reference, the MAV submission focused on the adequacy of funding provided by the State and Australian governments, as well as the adequacy of service delivery by all tiers of government. Fifteen councils were also consulted by the review team.
The interim report does not include draft recommendations, but rather highlights a number of systemic issues with Victoria’s emergency management arrangements and calls for immediate action to address the flaws in “legislation, policy, procedures and structures to deliver an effective ‘all hazards’, ‘all agencies’ approach to emergency management in Victoria”. The MAV is pleased that the interim report identifies and acknowledges many of the views and concerns raised by local government.
Contact Claudia Laidlaw.
Green Paper announced
In response to the Comrie Flood Review Interim Report, the Victorian Government has announced that a Green Paper will shortly be released to consult with stakeholders on modernising Victoria's emergency management governance and arrangements. The Green Paper process will be wide-ranging and include consideration of factors such as legislative and policy framework, governance mechanisms across government and state-wide capacity to deal with large-scale emergencies.
The MAV welcomes this announcement and looks forward to working with councils to respond to this comprehensive review.
Contact Claudia Laidlaw.
Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure in Victoria
The MAV is preparing a submission to the flood mitigation infrastructure inquiry being conducted by the Victorian Parliament’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
The MAV is seeking input from municipalities during the submission drafting process. Councils who experienced issues with mitigation modelling, river level gauges, or levee, weir, drain and waterway management during the 2010-11 flood events are encouraged to contact Claudia Laidlaw with feedback as soon as possible.
New bushfire planning provisions
A workshop with councils was held on 29 June to provide input into the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) who are responsible for the development of a new bushfire planning framework to implement Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommendations. The MAV consolidated council responses and prepared a submission on behalf of councils, which was sent in early July to DPCD and council CEOs.
A further workshop is planned for August, as well as a series of meetings with councils about hazard mapping. The Regional Bushfire Assessments project is now underway and councils will each be contacted by the consultants to assist in this mapping process.
The MAV has established an email group from those councils who received $120 000 from DPCD for bushfire planning.
Contact Liz Johnstone.
Emergency Management (Fire) Coordinators Briefing Day
The MAV is running a briefing day on 4 August for the 25 newly appointed Emergency Management (Fire) Coordinators, as well as municipal practitioners and managers responsible for emergency management. The briefing day will focus on current emergency management issues in the Victorian local government sector, and will particularly concentrate on fire and projects stemming from the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommendations. Registrations close 29 July.
Contact Claudia Laidlaw.
Incident Management System Tender - Information Sessions
The MAV has recently concluded a tender for the provision of an Incident Management System on behalf of 69 councils. DataLinx Internet Systems was selected as the successful supplier with their MECC Central system. The project is partially funded through the Australian Government’s Natural Disaster Resilience Program.
The MAV and DataLinx will be running a number of information sessions during August to allow councils to obtain further details regarding the project and the chosen system. Sessions include:
Sessions will run from 10.00 am to approximately 2.30 pm. Council emergency management and IT staff are encouraged to attend.
Contact Cameron Spence.
Natural Disaster Insurance Review
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) finalised its submission to the Natural Disaster Insurance Review Panel. ALGA raised the following issues:
The MAV supported ALGA’s submission by providing information on the current reimbursement arrangements and the availability of asset insurance for Victorian councils. The MAV was consulted, along with other local government associations, on the progress of negotiations with state governments and the availability and structure of any asset insurance for councils. The MAV also intends on making a short submission to the Review to compliment the ALGA’s.
- recent changes to the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) have the potential to raise the insurance costs of local government, while funding assistance from the Commonwealth may decrease;
- reduction in the financial risk borne by the Commonwealth through reducing the funding it makes available to the states through the NDRRA will increase the risks and costs carried by councils;
- councils should be able to be reimbursed under NDRRA for use of their day labour in disaster recovery;
- a national flood insurance cover scheme would inequitably shift costs to local government; and
- the Australian Government and peak insurance sector are underestimating the real challenges facing all state and local governments in accuratelymodelling flood impacts.
The Review Panel will prepare a report and recommendations by 30 September.
Contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.
Fire Services Levy
The State Government has released an options paper for its review of the fire services levy. The paper discusses options for the transition to a property-based collection model for fire services in Victoria.
It includes several proposals around the design of a property-based model, as well as a clear preference that councils be responsible for the collection of the levy. Other issues include questions of the valuation used for the calculation of the levy, whether CFA and Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFESB) levies should be separately calculated, and the application of concessions for low income households.
Submissions to the options paper are due by 30 September. The MAV will make a submission to the review.
Contact Owen Harvey-Beavis.
2011 Fire Awareness Awards entries open
Entries for the 2011 Fire Awareness Awards are open and provide an important opportunity to thank people for their efforts in protecting Victorians from fire. Coordinated jointly by DSE, MFB and CFA, the Awards are open to anyone who has been involved in a project that helps to make Victorians safer from bushfires or building fires.
Projects can be entered in a range of categories that include design and construction, new technology, industry innovation and education. At a community level, there are several awards for great work being done on bushfire community preparedness, bushfire recovery work and volunteer work.
The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) is encouraging people to get involved in StormSafe Week, from 15 to 21 August, to learn about how to protect themselves, their homes and their property during storms.
Throughout the week VICSES volunteers will run activities in their local communities to encourage the people to get prepared for storms through assembling emergency kits and plans.
For more information, or to learn about preparing a home emergency plan or home emergency kit, visit the SES website.
Ambulance Victoria MEMPC arrangements
Ambulance Victoria (AV) is currently reviewing its arrangements and representation at Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committees (MEMPC). In June a letter was sent to council Municipal Emergency Resource Officers inviting them to notify AV in advance of upcoming MEMPC meetings, along with agendas and documentation, through a central email address. AV hopes that this centralised process will increase the attendance of AV representatives at MEMPC meetings.
Contact Neil Akers, AV Emergency Management Unit.