MAV Presentation to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure
The MAV has presented at a public hearing for the parliamentary inquiry into Victorian flood mitigation infrastructure. Reinforcing our submission lodged in August 2011, the MAV has called for an urgent review of Victoria’s legislation to clarify roles and responsibilities for waterways, creeks, floodways, drains, levees, seawalls and other essential water and flood mitigation assets.
The MAV has also recommended a statewide assessment of levees, weirs and channels to determine the assets owned by each agency, and which should be maintained, upgraded or decommissioned. Councils advise that the use of levees requires careful consideration in light of the 2010-11 floods. Many Victorian communities are still enduring the long recovery process following the floods, and local councils play a significant part in this recovery process. The MAV explained to the Committee that councils have a role to play and are keen to assist, but the current arrangements limit their capacity to do so.
Contact Claudia Laidlaw.
Improving Emergency Management in Local Government - Program Update
The six MAV projects designed to help councils improve their emergency management performance are progressing well.
The Policy and Role project was completed in December 2011. Following broad consultation with our membership, this project produced a position paper that outlines a set of principles for any future role of councils in emergency management, and advocates for a realignment of the current role to better reflect local government’s normal business. It has been endorsed by the MAV Board and provided to the Victorian Government as an attachment to the MAV’s submission on the Emergency Management Green Paper. It will also be used as the basis for further MAV advocacy, particularly relating to issues around legislative change and sustainable funding for emergency management.
The Legislative Change project is conducting a thorough analysis of all relevant legislation that relates to local government in emergency management, and a series of workshops for councils are planned in coming months to refine the sector’s key priorities. As part of the project, the MAV recently met with councils that border alpine resorts to explore legislative issues relating to their unique circumstances. This project is also developing an additional legislation position paper that will be used to further our advocacy for reform.
The Sustainable Funding project has completed a pilot survey of 10 municipalities (including visits to each) to gather information on the real costs of emergency management for councils. All remaining councils have been asked to complete the survey by the end of February. The strength of the information and data gathered depends on a full return rate across the state, and will form the basis of further MAV advocacy work on behalf of the sector.
The Capability Building project is delivering the first two products identified in its project plan. The EM Capability Building e-library is an online resource sharing database for council EM officers and has many examples of tools and resources that are regularly used in municipal emergency management. The project team is supporting the MAV, MEMEG and a consultant to deliver the new Local Government Emergency Management Handbook – Orientation, Recruitment and Professional Development Kit, which will be delivered to councils by mid-2012.
The Shared Services project has identified a number of priorities to improve sharing across the sector. The MAV is currently developing a draft project plan for an Emergency Management Cluster pilot. This pilot will focus on developing a best practice model for sharing services at the cluster (sub-regional) level. Discussions with key stakeholders about the draft project plan are underway. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by December.
The Performance Measurement project is conducting an environmental scan of local government emergency management performance measurement systems. An analysis of MEMP audit results to determine variables that may be used to predict performance is also being undertaken. On-site visits with councils to determine appropriate questions for a one-off sector-wide baseline survey have also been completed.
Contact Russell Rees.
Natural Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme
Applications are now open for the 2012 round of funding for the Natural Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme (NDRGS). Funded by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and managed in Victoria through the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner (OESC), the scheme is designed to support projects that will enhance Victoria’s resilience to natural disasters through a range of mitigation works and other measures that contribute to safer, sustainable communities better able to withstand the effects of disasters. Applications close on 11 April.
Program scope, eligibility criteria and further NDRGS information is available on the OESC website.
DSE Planned Burning program
As the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria conduct planned burns throughout the state, print and radio advertisements will refer people to the following sources for information about where and when the planned burns are happening. The decision to proceed with a planned burn will be made on the day, depending on weather conditions. Councils are encouraged to refer any enquiries to:
The MAV recently became a member of the DSE Peak Body Roundtable for Land and Fire Management, which focuses on the DSE planned burning program. The roundtable meets quarterly and includes membership from the Victorian Farmer Federation, Asthma Foundation, Victorian Wine Industry Association, Victorian Apiarists’ Association and other peak bodies with an interest in land and fire management. The agenda focuses on planned burning-related communication, research and opportunities for collaboration between roundtable members, DSE and Parks Victoria.
Contact Emma Fitzclarence.
FloodSafe Week 2012
Monday 30 April to Sunday 6 May is FloodSafe Week in Victoria. During the week, VicSES will be reminding people that it is never safe to enter floodwater, with the tagline "you don’t know what you’re getting into". During FloodSafe Week, SES volunteers will run local events and activities to encourage people never to drive, ride, walk or play in floodwater. SES will also be hosting a statewide launch and campaign.
SES welcomes council involvement in local activities and assisting with spreading key messages through your council communications or distribution of FloodSafe materials through council offices. For more information, visit the SES website.
To get involved in the week by hosting displays or to make contact with your local SES unit, contact Frances Haire on 9698 6906.
Visitor Information Centres – better bushfire safety information
Visitor information centres are now better equipped to help visitors understand bushfire safety with new displays installed at 47 centres around the state. Developed by Tourism Victoria in conjunction with the CFA, the new displays show the daily Fire Danger Rating, have the latest updates on local fire restrictions and offer a range of information about fire safety, including local Township Protection Plans.
According to research conducted by Sweeney Research in October 2011, people see visitor information centres, along with the CFA and the media as the primary sources for reliable and credible bushfire information when they are travelling away from home. This initiative is part of Tourism Victoria’s Bushfire Preparedness Program.
Contact Sarah Terry.
Township Protection Plans
There are now 225 unique bushfire Township Protection Plans, which well exceeds the target of 140 plans for the 2011-12 fire season. These have been published in a new format to provide more locally relevant information that allows residents to develop their own bushfire plan.
TPPs have been posted to residents in relevant towns and are also available online. Ten councils participated in an absentee property owner direct mail campaign which delivered TPPs to approximately 40 000 households.
Victorian Bushfire Recovery Three Year Report
The Victorian Government has released the Victorian Bushfire Recovery Three Year Report, which focuses on the progress made in the last 12 months, including the delivery of programs, funding and support for communities and individuals affected by the 2009 bushfires.
Report on the Population Health Impacts of Heat
The Victorian Department of Health (DH) has recently released a report on the findings of the Heat Health Information Surveillance System (HHISS), established in 2009 to monitor the impacts of extreme heat on human health in the state. The report bases its findings on surveillance information obtained from a range of different sources over a two-year period.
Further information contact the DH Health Intelligence Unit.
Disaster Resilient Communities Conference
The Disaster Resilient Communities conference is open to senior executives and policy-makers from all tiers of government, emergency services, community groups and ICT agencies with an involvement or interest in emergency management.
Held from 17-18 April in Melbourne, the conference will examine the prevention and preparedness plans being developed across jurisdictions to assess and understand risk. It will also focus on the relationships and networks being established to deliver this under the national agenda. Innovations in technology and engagement measures available to inform the community about risk will also be explored.
Further information, registration fees and a program overview are available on the Disaster Resilient Communities website.
Monash Injury Research Institute Forum
The Monash Injury Research Institute is holding a forum in Melbourne on 15 March, which will focus on lessons that can be drawn from a number of recent disaster reviews across Victoria. The purpose of the forum is to foster an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas surrounding a broad range of issues, particularly in the context of recent fire and flood emergencies affecting the Victorian community.
Program details and fee information are available on the event webpage.
Climate Change and Extreme Events: Understanding and Managing the Risks
A free public lecture will be held in mid-March to present the key findings of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation”.
The lecture will be held on Monday 19 March from 6.30 – 8 pm at the Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria (Entry 3, 179 La Trobe Street, Melbourne). No RSVP is required.
Email enquiries for further information.