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APPENDIX A

 

Government policy changes since 7 February 2009

The Commission acknowledges that since 7 February 2009, the Commonwealth, the State and a number of Victorian municipalities have developed policies and initiatives targeted at improving bushfire preparedness, response and recovery. In the course of the Commission’s hearings and in the period between their conclusion and the final report going to print, the Commission received and considered evidence regarding the implementation of those policies and initiatives. The tables which comprise this Appendix draw on that body of evidence to provide a description of Commonwealth, state and local government initiatives since 7 February. While some policies and initiatives were due to be implemented prior to the final report going to print, this Appendix does not record those policies and initiatives as having been implemented unless the Commission received evidence confirming this to be the case. Similarly, some of the fields in these tables are left blank because the Commission did not receive information relevant to them.

Commonwealth policies and initiatives since 7 February 2009*

 

Policy/initiative

Implementation

Responsible department

Description

Evidence

Preparedness

Commonwealth pre-season operational briefing

A national briefing was held in Canberra on 25 September 2009. Briefings also occurred with the State between 30 October and 3 December.

Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department

The AGD convened pre-season operational briefings to improve bushfire and seasonal hazard preparedness and planning between Commonwealth agencies and the states.

The briefings included presentations from Emergency Management Australia, the BoM, the Commonwealth Department of Human Services and other departments and agencies.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0016–0017

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0010–0012

Development of major activation procedures for Emergency Management Australia’s incident management facility

Procedures were endorsed in October 2009 and training commenced in November.

AGD

The AGD has finalised formal procedures to activate EMA’s IMF and has implemented a training program to ensure readiness in the event of activation.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0018

Foreign states immunities amendments

Regulations applying to US firefighters came into effect on 1 October 2009.

AGD

Through amendment to the Foreign States Immunities Act 1985 (Cth) the Commonwealth conferred immunity from tort proceedings on US firefighters helping Australian authorities to prepare for, or respond to, bushfires. This enabled a bushfire exchange agreement to be finalised. The agreement was negotiated by the Victorian Government (on behalf of all Australian states and territories), and provides for similar reciprocal immunity for Australian firefighters.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0020

Revised arrangements for bushfire advice and alerts

Arrangements put in place in October 2009.

BoM

In response to recommendation 5.1 of the Commission’s interim report, the BoM has designed a new fire danger severity scale with two additional categories at the top end of the scale. The BoM has restructured its fire weather warnings to reflect these changes and incorporate action statements agreed upon by state and territory fire agencies.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0037–0038

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0008

Inclusion of Forest Fire Danger Index and Grass Fire Danger Index in the BoM’s weather forecasts

January 2010.

BoM

The BoM now incorporates the FFDI and GFDI in its district and township forecasts, and on its website. In late January 2010 the BoM consulted with the CFA and the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment, and agreed to link the Forecast District Fire Danger Index to the main fuel type in the district to avoid any confusion caused by differing indices.

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0008–0009

Satellite phone subsidy scheme

Subsidy will run until June 2013.

Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy

The Commonwealth will subsidise access to satellite phones for individuals, small businesses, educational institutions, Indigenous corporations, community groups, and health and emergency services organisations.

The Commonwealth has extended the scheme until June 2013, and is conducting a public awareness campaign about the scheme and mobile coverage options.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0040–0041

Australian climate change science program

Final report to be made in September 2010.

Commonwealth Department of Climate Change in conjunction with the BoM, CSIRO and selected universities

DCC has funded research into fundamental climate change science to identify likely changes in extreme events. This research will underpin Australia’s planning and preparedness for extreme events such as fires.

The project will develop priority data and projections of climate extremes, such as temperatures, fire-weather, rainfall and tropical cyclones to allow the development of consistent projections across multiple variables.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0042

Climate change vulnerability assessments

DCC commenced the assessment in June 2009 and will deliver the final report in June 2010.

DCC

DCC is assessing climate change and regional fire management in Australia. It will examine:

     the potential impacts of climate change on the determinants of fire regimes in different regions of Australia

     how fire regimes and other drivers such as cyclones, drought and the spread of exotic species may interact as a consequence of climate change

     the regional sensitivity of fire regimes to management inputs, including prescribed burning

     the extent to which adaptive management of fire regimes in the face of climate change, especially the use of prescribed burning, may mitigate risk to multiple landscape values.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0043

Review of incident management response and communication protocols

Ongoing.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

DEEWR is developing and enhancing its stakeholder response and communication plans to support emergency, business continuity and pandemic planning, and help deliver recovery responses.

DEEWR’s review of its emergency responsiveness is focused on determining the information it will need to communicate to its stakeholders in the event of an emergency.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0048

Cooperative research centres program—Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre

Additional funding provided from 2010 to 2013.

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

The Bushfire CRC is a collaboration between publicly funded researchers, industry and government to address challenges associated with bushfires.

The Commonwealth announced in the 2009–10 budget that it would provide the Bushfire CRC with an additional $15 million from 2010–13 to undertake specific research about the 2009 bushfires.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0088

Ban on supply of ‘sky lanterns’

The 18 month ban took effect on 24 September 2009 (a permanent ban may be implemented).

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

The Commonwealth has imposed a ban on the use of sky lanterns due to the associated risk of uncontrolled fire.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0093

Consumer product safety standards for reduced-fire-risk cigarettes

Standard to become enforceable on new stock from 23 March 2010 and on all stock from 23 September 2010.

ACCC

The Commonwealth has developed a safety standard requiring all cigarettes to self-extinguish when no air is drawn through them.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0094

Attorney-General’s Department Coordination Centre fire weather report and bushfire incident brief

The AGDCC has distributed the fire weather report and the bushfire incident brief since October 2009.

AGD

The fire weather report and bushfire incident brief provides information about bushfire threat and bushfire activity to Commonwealth agencies and state and territory governments.

The fire weather report provides a visual and written description of bushfire threat across Australia.

The bushfire incident brief contains information to help maintain situational awareness. The AGDCC produces and distributes the report twice daily when there is significant bushfire activity anywhere in Australia.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0014

Mapping and imagery forum

Forum was scheduled to be held on 25–26 March 2010.

AGD

Emergency Management Australia facilitated a mapping and imagery forum for relevant Commonwealth, state and territory agencies. The forum aimed to:

     identify and improve understanding of current mapping and imagery capabilities

     identify potential mapping and imagery requirements for the bushfire season to facilitate timely requests/deployment

     agree on the next steps and develop a schedule to progress this work

     prepare options for consideration by the Australian Emergency Management Committee

     confirm the arrangements for jurisdictions to request information from the Commonwealth potentially using the COMDISPLAN.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0022–0023

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0031

National work plan to reduce bushfire arson in Australia

A joint working group will provide an interim report to the ministerial councils by the end of April 2010.

AGD

The AGD has developed the national work plan to ensure greater cooperation between fire and police agencies; local, state and territory governments; and between policy makers, social services and the criminal justice system.

The national work plan considers a range of measures to ensure the strongest possible action is taken to prevent and deter arson.

The AGD has developed new offences and penalties for bushfire arson and arson causing death or serious harm, and aims to strengthen the legislative response to bushfire arson causing death.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0027–0028

Exhibit 559 – National Work Plan to Reduce Bushfire Arson in Australia (AGD.914.0001)

Digital regions initiative

Projects to begin in the first half of 2010.

Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy

The Commonwealth will co-fund digital projects (in partnership with state, territory and local governments) to improve services in health, education and emergency services in regional, rural and remote communities.

Two projects have been announced:

     bushfire spotting and response technologies in north-east Victoria

     bushfire prediction technology in Western Australia.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0039

Building Regulation—Bushfire Bunkers and Review of AS3959-2009

Bushfire standard finalised by 24 March 2010 and publicly available by 30 April 2010.

The Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, in collaboration with the Australian Building Codes Board

The ABCB developed a new standard for bushfire bunkers for private use and is reviewing the Australian Standard for Building in Bushfire Prone Areas (AS 3959-2009).

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0086–0087

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0025–0026

Exhibit 313 – National Standards for Bushfire Bunkers (BDC.001.001.0203)

Exhibit 313 – 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission – Bushfire Bunkers (BDC.001.001.0199)

Development of a national resilience strategy

Implementation of the strategy by the end of 2010.

AGD and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

In December 2009 COAG agreed to implement a national resilience strategy to guide natural disaster policy and programs.

The AGD and DPMC are developing a strategy which will incorporate the principle of disaster resilience into all aspects of natural disaster arrangements, including preventing, preparing, responding to, and recovery from disasters. The strategy will include measures to strengthen communities, individuals, businesses and institutions to minimise the adverse effects of disasters on Australia.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0019

 


Policy/initiative

Implementation

Responsible department

Description

Evidence

Response

Streamlining the declaration of a disaster for tax purposes

Amendment took effect on 26 March 2009.

The Treasury

Under tax law, taxpayers receive a tax deduction for gifts to Australian disaster relief funds.

The Commonwealth amended the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to allow the Federal Treasurer to declare an event a disaster for the purposes of establishing Australian disaster relief funds. Previously only the relevant state or territory could declare an event a disaster for this purpose. The amendment may lead to more rapid establishment of Australian disaster relief funds.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0092

Common Alerting Protocol project

A multi-stage project. Stage one commenced in 2009–10. Implementation is ongoing.

AGD

The AGD has undertaken the CAP project in cooperation with the states and territories to establish if CAP is the most appropriate standard for all hazard emergency warning systems in Australia, and if so, to adopt that standard.

The AGD is working with key stakeholders to analyse open standards developments in the international and national context, and options for progressing to a standard that suits the Australian context.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0015

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0013–0014

Exhibit 45 – AFAC Information Exchange Standards Common Alerting Protocol and Inter-CAD Messaging (TEN.004.001.0228)

Exhibit 45 – Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) (TEN.004.001.0019)

Exhibit 45 – The Australian Government’s position on the Common Alerting Protocol and where to from here? Meeting Minutes (TEN.004.003.0013)

National aerial firefighting arrangements

Funding increases from 19 February 2009 until the 2013 Budget.

AGD in conjunction with the National Aerial Firefighting Centre Ltd

In February and May 2009 the Commonwealth agreed to provide additional funding to the NAFC to assist jurisdictions and:

     extend Australia’s firefighting capability for the 2008–09 fire season

     increase funding in the current and next three financial years

     offer greater protection to Australian communities and essential infrastructure threatened by increasingly severe bushfires.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0024

National telephone-based emergency warning capability

Emergency alert was officially launched on 4 December 2009.

AGD in conjunction with Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy.

The Commonwealth, states and territories are responsible for various elements of development and implementation.

The swift development of a national telephone-based emergency warning capability to enhance Australia’s disaster management arrangements. This will enable the states and territories to deliver intrusive warnings to the community on a mass scale, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On 30 April 2009 COAG agreed to take immediate steps to develop a telephone-based emergency warning capability that will enable participating states and territories (all except Western Australia) to deliver warnings to land lines and mobile telephones.

Emergency alert was launched on 4 December 2009 and is able to run multiple warning message campaigns for all types of hazards that may arise simultaneously across jurisdictions. The actual warning content is based on the Common Alerting Protocol. The Commonwealth has prepared extensive public education material for TV, radio and print in 30 languages to alert the community about telephone-based warnings.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0025–0026

Exhibit 325 – 2009 VBRC Interim Report: Commonwealth Response (RESP.6000.001.0001)

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0005–0006

Exhibit 45 – Director General Emergency Management Australia – Brief for Victorian Bushfire Taskforce – Emergency Warning System (EWS.500.0346)

Exhibit 45 – Attorney-General – Brief for Commonwealth Victorian Bushfires Task Force – Emergency Warning System (EWS.500.0349)

Exhibit 45 – Press Release Rudd Government Implements COAG Agreement on Telephone Based Emergency Warning Systems (AGD.533.0211)

Exhibit 45 – Prime Minister of Australia COAG agrees to Establish National Emergency Warning System (TEN.004.002.0561)

Trial of remote forest fire detection cameras

The trial will run until April 2010 with an option to extend, depending on the nature of the fire season.

AGD, in cooperation with the Victorian Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, Forests NSW and the Bushfire CRC.

The AGD, in cooperation with the OESC, trialled remote forest fire detection cameras during the 2009–10 fire season. The Commonwealth will use the trial results to examine how information from remote forest fire detection cameras would assist with operational decisions by fire agencies, including firefighting and issuing warnings to the community.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0030

000 and emergency information lines surge capacity

Measures and assessments are being pursued for consideration by the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management–Emergency Management in November 2010.

AGD in cooperation with the states, territories and Telstra.

The Commonwealth is considering three initiatives to improve the operation of 000 at state and territory answering points and emergency information lines during extreme events:

     ensuring the provision of robust 000 and emergency information services in extreme events (including staff sharing and surge capacity arrangements)

     developing a national protocol for the use of extreme event recorded voice announcements

     raising public awareness about alternative information sources to reduce the demand on 000.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0031–0032

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0020–0023

Disaster response framework

Implemented.

Australian Taxation Office

In responding to disaster events, the ATO focuses on ensuring appropriate and timely arrangements to relax tax obligations, and providing tailored assistance to taxpayers, businesses and tax agents.

The disaster response framework outlines key roles and activities the ATO will consider depending on the nature and scale of the disaster. The framework aims to ensure a targeted and effective response to future natural disasters.

The ATO continues to provide rapid and authoritative advice to the Victorian bushfire appeal fund through a liaison function.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0034–0036

National Employment Standards—legislated entitlement to community services leave

Implemented in January 2010.

Fair Work Australia

From 1 January 2010 the National Employment Standards provide employees (including casual employees) with an entitlement to leave to carry out certain community services activities, such as voluntary emergency management activity.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0047

Centrelink emergency reserve force

Launched on 13 October 2009.

Centrelink

Centrelink has created a reserve force of volunteer staff who can be quickly deployed during an emergency. Centrelink has developed a database of volunteers, their experience, skills, location and availability to support this initiative, and will provide community recovery training to certain staff.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0053

Centrelink’s emergency management guide

To be implemented by early 2010.

Centrelink

Centrelink has implemented a number of new initiatives in its emergency management guide, including improvements to national crisis coordination, and the development of an incident management framework.

Under the new arrangements responsibility for strategic decision making rests within a national crisis coordination framework, activated in response to a significant incident.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0054

National emergency call centre surge capability project

Negotiations to be explored in early 2010.

Human Services Portfolio

The NECCSC leverages significant Commonwealth call centre resources for use by states, territories and relevant Commonwealth agencies in the event of an emergency or disaster that overwhelms local capacity.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0063

Residential aged care—risk management for emergency events

Intense activity since February 2009 to raise awareness for the 2009–10 bushfire season.

Department of Health and Ageing, Office of Aged Care Quality and Compliance

The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing has been working in collaboration with the Victorian Department of Health to develop and distribute resources to assist providers of residential aged care in Victoria to plan for and respond to significant emergency events. That collaboration has led to the:

     development of a database of alternative accommodation for the elderly

     identification of 25 homes for the elderly in 52 areas nominated as high risk, and preparation of those homes for emergency events

     development of the residential aged care services bushfire resource.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0071–0072

Participation in Commonwealth and inter-jurisdictional forums

Ongoing.

Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia participated in pre-season briefings about the Commonwealth’s geospatial information capabilities that may lead to increased requests for support from the states and territories during major events.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0084

Rapid inventory collection system

Extension of an existing program.

Geoscience Australia

Geoscience Australia is making RICS available for natural hazard impact assessments for pre- and post-disaster situations.

The RICS is able to collect information quickly about damaged or undamaged infrastructure following a natural disaster such as a major bushfire. This is a portable facility that can be rapidly deployed.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0085

National lineworker refresher training recognition protocol for emergency situations

The protocol was signed on 7 September 2009.

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism

The protocol is an agreement between industry, government and unions for nationally consistent refresher training units to enable lineworkers to provide mutual aid to a natural disaster-affected electricity network. The protocol facilitates the deployment of distribution and transmission lineworkers to restore electricity supply following a natural disaster, such as a bushfire.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0089

Upgrade of wireless priority service system

Upgrade may require a staged approach to enhance capability in time for the 2010–11 summer bushfire season.

AGD

The WPSS provides authorised users, including key decision makers and emergency responders, with priority mobile phone connectivity throughout Australia during times of network congestion.

The WPSS was activated on the Telstra 2G network in 2007 and is in place to continue until at least 30 June 2010. The AGD is seeking to upgrade the WPSS to 3G technology during 2010–11.

The upgrade to 3G may require a staged approach and the Commonwealth may extend the contract for 2G WPSS for 12 months while the upgrade to 3G is being completed.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0033

Recovery

Funding for community legal centres

25 February 2009 to 31 March 2010.

AGD

The AGD provided one off funding to nine Victorian community legal centres to offer legal assistance to Victorians affected by the bushfires.

Some of the funding was used to prepare two information kits: practical information for affected community members; and a resource for lawyers.

The AGD will prepare an integrated service delivery plan based on the identified needs of affected communities. This will also serve as a template to assist future disaster recovery planning for legal service delivery.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0021

Revisions to natural disaster relief arrangements

Proposal endorsed on 7 December 2009 and implemented in the first half of 2010.

AGD

This extended the period within which the states and territories may incur partially-reimbursable costs for personal and financial counselling from 12 to 24 months.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0029

Employment strategy for bushfire-affected areas

Implemented and continued until June 2010.

DEEWR

DEEWR has developed an employment strategy for bushfire-affected areas. A DEEWR officer worked with the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority and Centrelink until June 2010 to coordinate the strategy. It includes job creation activities and return to work for bushfire-affected jobseekers.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0044–0045

Special child care benefit

Longstanding benefit.

DEEWR

The benefit provides full child care fee relief for parents of children affected by a declared local state of emergency. The Commonwealth has provided the special child care benefit to some families affected by Victorian bushfires.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0049

Survey of employers in Victorian bushfire-affected areas

Results available for discussion mid-December 2009.

DEEWR

DEEWR conducted a survey in conjunction with VBRRA about how bushfires impacted employers and what type of assistance DEEWR should provide them. The survey also looked at employment in bushfire-affected regions, recruitment experiences since the bushfires and future recruitment expectations. The survey was conducted in October 2009.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0050

Caring for our country bushfire recovery program

Program announced in March 2009.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

The program will provide assistance to community, local government and non-government organisations, and landholders in bushfire-affected areas to undertake targeted natural resource management bushfire recovery works.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0051

Solar hot water rebate for rebuilt homes in bushfire- affected areas

Available until June 2012.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts

The Commonwealth has extended the rebate to people rebuilding after the Victorian bushfires to help them save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The rebate is not normally available for new homes, but the Commonwealth has made an exception for homes destroyed in the Victorian bushfires.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0052

Community service hubs

Implemented in the immediate aftermath of the bushfires.

DHS through Centrelink

In the immediate aftermath of the fires, community service hubs were located in 10 communities across Victoria. DHS was invited to co-locate with the Victorian DHS in order to make available a broad range of Commonwealth Government services through one point of contact.

The initial focus was on bushfire-related programs, such as ex gratia payments and grants. The service was then expanded to include brokered services for other Commonwealth programs for bushfire-affected people.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0055

Commonwealth DHS/ Victorian DSE MOU Enhancements for Call Centre Surge Capacity

Completed in October 2009.

DHS and Victorian DSE

DHS has worked with the Victorian DSE to integrate their operations in emergency situations more effectively. They have developed protocols for sharing information about call types and volumes, and predicted weather patterns, during the bushfire season in preparation for events which may require Commonwealth call surge capability.

They have also developed new standby procedures for days of extreme danger.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0056

Exhibit 841 – Consolidated Commonwealth Delivery Report (RESP.6006.001.0001) at 0018–0019

Emergency management— technology infrastructure services and support

Trial ended in late March 2010.

Centrelink

Centrelink has trialled new technology to improve its ability to respond to emergencies and natural disasters, including:

     laptops on standby specifically for emergency management use which can be quickly deployed ‘on the ground’

     mobile office functionality—Centrelink is testing new technology to enable it to place a point of presence at any location with similar response times to those in standard offices

     Blackberry systems as a secondary communications channel.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0057

Identity management in a disaster

Generic templates available from November 2009.

National identity security coordination group

The NISCG has developed template forms suitable for use in all jurisdictions to facilitate the streamlined replacement of proof of identity documents following a disaster. In November 2009 the NISCG endorsed two templates that states and territories may adapt to suit their own arrangements.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0058

Improved Commonwealth payment capability for emergency relief payments

Real time gross settlement has been available since June 2009; reverse EFTPOS capabilities have been available from December 2009.

Centrelink

Centrelink is expanding the options available to deliver relief payments to those affected by emergency or disaster events and reduce reliance in urgent situations on cash, manual cheques and electronic benefits transfer cards.

Centrelink is trialling the integration of Reverse EFTPOS to enable it to transfer funds directly to customers’ accounts. Centrelink is also trialling integration of real time gross settlement, building on existing direct link facilities with the Reserve Bank, to process emergency payments more quickly.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0059

Improvements to the Commonwealth disaster recovery payment claim form

The form was first used in July 2009.

Centrelink and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

The claim form has been streamlined and reduced to two pages. It now only captures the information required to determine eligibility for payment.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0060

Joint service delivery in disaster recovery

COAG convened a working group in June 2009.

DHS in conjunction with the Disaster Recovery Sub-Committee of the Natural Disaster Arrangements Working Group.

In June 2009 COAG convened NDAWG to oversee a number of projects in relation to improving disaster arrangements for the forthcoming fire season.

In October 2009 a number of Commonwealth human services portfolio agencies, together with the DRSC, submitted a report, Commonwealth and State/Territory Joint Service Delivery in Disaster Recovery, which included the joint service delivery working plan.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0061–0062

Victorian bushfire case management service

Implemented with Commonwealth staff and ceased on 18 December 2009.

Human Services Portfolio

The Commonwealth provided over 100 staff and made its social work network available to provide case management to affected individuals or families living outside Victoria.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0064

Financial assistance grants to local government bodies

2009–10.

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government

The department administers the Commonwealth financial assistance grants under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995.

In response to the 2009 bushfires (and the floods in Queensland) the Commonwealth provided $40.6 million in quarterly payments to 24 local governments directly affected by the fires. The funding was provided to assist councils deliver essential community services in the immediate aftermath of the bushfires at a time when greater demands would be placed on affected local governments, and when their capacity to raise revenue through rates was substantially reduced.

While the Act allowed the Commonwealth to alter the timing of its payments to local governments within a financial year, it did not allow for the re-phasing of payments across financial years. Accordingly, the Commonwealth amended the Act in May 2009 to allow greater flexibility to respond to unforeseen events that affect a large number of local communities in any jurisdiction.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0065–0067

Mental health response to the Victorian bushfires

Parts of the response were implemented within a week of 7 February.

Department of Health and Ageing collaborating with professional organisations

The department implemented a mental health response to the bushfires comprising:

     additional funding for psychological services under the access to allied psychological services program to immediately increase capacity to support people most impacted

     training and support for professionals providing services to impacted people

     funding for additional telephone based counselling services to increase capacity to immediately respond to broader levels of distress in the community

     capacity building for affected communities to reconnect and recover from trauma over the long term, particularly targeting children, young people and community leaders.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0068 – 0070

Additional funding—early childhood services in bushfire-affected communities

Additional funding announced in March 2009.

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Commonwealth funding allowed Playgroup Victoria to deliver support to families with young children in Kinglake, Murrindindi, Bendigo, Wandong and Traralgon. The funding assisted 29 playgroups.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0073

Additional funding— emergency relief

Following 7 February.

DFHCSIA

The objective of emergency relief is to assist people in financial crisis to deal with their immediate situation in a way that maintains the dignity of the individual and encourages self-reliance.

The Commonwealth provided $6 million of additional funding to 171 organisations to meet increased demand for emergency relief in Victorian bushfire-affected areas, and to link clients with other community supports.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0074

Additional funding—volunteer resource centres

Additional funding announced on 18 May 2009.

DFHCSIA

The Commonwealth provided $484,661 of additional funding to 13 volunteer resource centres that manage, train and coordinate volunteers and the organisations which use them. The funding was allocated to help manage the surge in demand for volunteer assistance following the Victorian bushfires and the increased offers of help from volunteers across the state.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0075

Australian Government disaster recovery payment

8 February to 7 August 2009.

DFHCSIA

The payment was payable to eligible Australian residents who were adversely affected by a declared major disaster. The assistance comprises a payment to the claimant and an additional amount for each child for whom they are the principal carer.

From 8 February 2009 people were eligible for the payment if:

     they were seriously injured

     they were the immediate family member of a deceased Australian

     they had lost their principal place of residence in the bushfires

     their principal place of residence had sustained major damage

     they were unable to return to their principal place of residence for a period of 24 hours or more as a direct result of the bushfires.

On 14 February 2009 the Commonwealth amended the eligibility criteria to include people:

     who had experienced psychological trauma

     whose principal place of residence experienced a utility failure for a period of 48 hours or more

     who were the principal carer of an adversely-affected child.

The payment provided immediate financial assistance in the form of a one-off payment of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child.

As of 30 November 2009, 57,089 claims had been granted, totalling $65.4 million.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0076

Coordination for Rebuilding Together: A Statewide Plan for Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery

Plan was launched on 16 October 2009.

DFHCSIA

The Commonwealth has committed $117 million to the Rebuilding Together Plan. It sets out priorities driven by local communities to rebuild essential town buildings and services, generate business growth and investment, and rehabilitate key local attractions central to future prosperity.

VBRRA will manage the plan, administer funds, and continue to work with community recovery committees and local councils to refine and deliver the plan.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0077

Exhibit 843 – Rebuilding Together: A Statewide Plan for Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery (WIT.3003.001.0257)

Ex gratia assistance—income recovery subsidy

Subsidy was available from 10 February to 10 November 2009.

DFHCSIA

The Commonwealth developed the income recovery subsidy in response to the Victorian bushfires to provide temporary income support to employees, small business operators and farmers who lost income as a direct result of the fires.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0078–0079

Ex gratia funeral assistance

Claims could be made until 28 February 2010.

DFHCSIA

The assistance comprised a one off funeral/memorial payment of $5,000 to the closest immediate family member of each person who lost their life or was declared missing as a direct result of the bushfires.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0080

Family relationship service

Funding announced on 20 February and 18 May 2009.

DFHCSIA

The Commonwealth provided $440,000 of additional funding to its family support program to facilitate counselling support services through community organisations in and near bushfire-affected areas.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0081

National partnership agreement on social housing

Announced on 8 November 2009.

DFHCSIA

The Commonwealth contributed $2.4 million towards the construction of 11 new affordable homes in Marysville and Kinglake to replace public housing properties destroyed in the bushfires. Those homes, identified by the Victorian Government as priority projects, will be funded under the social housing initiative, part of the national building and economic stimulus plan.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0082

Support for young people

Funding announced on 18 May 2009.

DFHCSIA

$900,000 of additional funding to provide counselling and various community development support services to young people affected by the bushfires.

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0083

Victorian bushfires tourism industry support package

March 2009 to June 2010.

Joint Commonwealth and Victorian Initiative. Responsible Commonwealth agency is the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism

The support package is administered through a taskforce jointly chaired by DRET and Tourism Victoria. It also includes representatives of Tourism Australia, Parks Australia, Parks Victoria and a regional tourism industry representative.

The taskforce was established to ensure projects funded under the package:

     support tourism businesses and regions adjoining fire-affected areas

     align broadly with the objectives in Victoria’s 10-year tourism and events industry strategy

     promote environmentally sustainable outcomes

     align with the objectives of National Landscapes.

The package comprises:

     cooperative marketing and brand rebuilding

     events funding

     visitor functions.

 

Exhibit 842 – Statement of Popple, Annexure 3 (WIT.6006.001.0013) at 0090–0091


This table groups the initiatives the Commonwealth has implemented since 7 February 2009 on the basis of whether the Commonwealth has directed those initiatives at bushfire preparedness, response, or recovery. In some cases the Commonwealth initiatives are relevant to more than one of those categories. To avoid repetition, this table records each initiative only once. For example, an initiative directed at both bushfire preparedness and response will only appear in the preparedness section of this table.

State policies and initiatives since 7 February 2009

 

Policy

Period of implementation

Responsible

department

Description

Evidence

Preparedness

Community education and engagement

Fire communications campaign

The CFA implemented key programs by mid-April 2010, and is conducting a post-bushfire season evaluation.

CFA

The CFA has developed a print, radio, television, online and outdoor advertising campaign to provide the community with information regarding bushfire preparedness and risk.

Examples of key initiatives include fire action week activities and the use of key terms and slogans, such as ‘Prepare. Act. Survive.’ and ‘FireReady’.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0006–0007

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0051–0059

For a table of key publications, media campaigns and educational programs see Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0056–0058

Exhibit 796 – Statement of Appleford (WIT.3024.005.0295)

Summer fire campaign/FireReady Victoria campaign

Commenced with fire action week from 11–18 October 2009.

The CFA will complete an assessment of the effectiveness of the Household Bushfire Self-Assessment Tool by 30 June 2010.

The campaign is part of a three to five-year FireReady awareness and planning strategy.

The 2009–10 summer fire campaign was implemented throughout the fire season from October 2009 to the end of March 2010.

CFA, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Department of Justice

Includes the following CFA and DSE initiatives:

     a FireReady kit, comprising information about bushfire risk and bushfire preparedness, and a Household Bushfire Self-Assessment Tool supported by a CFA helpline

     FireReady Victoria preparedness meetings, community meetings and bushfire planning workshops

     encouraging communities to form community fireguard groups

     implementation of strategies to increase bushfire information accessibility.

DSE also led an information campaign relating to fuel-reduction through planned burns.

DOJ managed the 2009-10 summer fire campaign—part of a long-term behavioural change campaign—comprising public awareness, communications, and education campaigns such as: FireReady and Prepare. Act. Survive.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0007–0010

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0045–0048, 0064–0067

For a table of key publications, media campaigns and educational programs see Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0056–0058

Exhibit 79 – Summer Fire Readiness Warning Authorised by the Victorian Government (CFA.001.016.0091)

Exhibit 831 – Summer Fire Campaign: Benchmark Research (RESP.3001.015.0076)

Exhibit 831 – Summer Fire Campaign: Wave 1 Research (RESP.3001.018.0347)

Exhibit 79 – FireReady Radio Ad: 3AW (CFA.001.016.0161)

Exhibit 137 – DSE/CFA Community Meetings and FireReady Sessions (DSE.HDD.0016.0643)

Exhibit 137 – DSE/CFA – FireReady Kits: Bushfire Information (FireReady) Kit (DSE.HDD.0016.0668)

Exhibit 137 – DSE/CFA – FireReady Kits: Bushfire Information (FireReady) Kit (DSE.HDD.0016.0669)

Summer fire campaign/FireReady Victoria campaign continued

 

 

 

Exhibit 753 – Making Victoria FireReady – Preparing for Bushfire (DSE.HDD.0052.1576)

Exhibit 831 – Preparing your property: Make your Home Bushfire Ready (RESP.3001.001.0047)

Exhibit 831 – FireReady: What You Need To Know For The Fire Season (RESP.3001.001.0330)

Exhibit 831 – FireReady – Your Guide to Preparing for the Fire Season Ahead (RESP.3001.001.0351)

Exhibit 831 – Residential Aged Care Services Bushfire Ready Resource (RESP.3001.014.0216)

Exhibit 9 – FireReady: Bushfire Survival Plan (TEN.001.001.0068)

Exhibit 828 – Brigade: Fire, Ready, Action – Helping Victorians Prepare (WIT.3004.041.0193)

Exhibit 679 – Making Victoria FireReady: Vegetation Removal for Bushfire Protection (WIT.3018.001.0677)

Exhibit 679 – Making Victoria FireReady: Managing Erosion and Landslip Risks (WIT.3018.001.0686)

Exhibit 831 – Summer Fire Campaign Evaluation 2009–2010 (RESP.3001.025.0001)

Exhibit 831 – Advice to the Community Before and During Bushfire (RESP.3001.025.0092)

Exhibit 831 – Communications Strategy-Summer Fire Campaign 2009-2010 (RESP.3001.025.0115)

Exhibit 831 – Fire Ready Campaign – Creative Rotation – Booked Media –Preparedness and NSP Schedules (RESP.3001.025.0153)

Exhibit 831 – Fire Action Week (RESP.3001.025.0156)

Exhibit 831 – Fire Ready-What You Need to Know for the Fire Season (RESP.3001.001.0330)

Exhibit 831 – Fire Communications Task Force 2009/2010 Summary (RESP.3001.025.0197)

Exhibit 831 – Online Campaign Analysis (RESP.3001.025.0198)

Exhibit 831 – Online Campaign Analysis (RESP.3001.025.0199)

Summer fire campaign/FireReady Victoria campaign continued

 

 

 

Exhibit 831 – October 2009-March 2010 Bushfire Season ‘Fire Ready’ Post Analysis (RESP.3001.025.0200)

Exhibit 831 – Department of Justice Summer Fire Campaign Wave 2 Research (RESP.3001.025.0328)

Exhibit 831 – Examples of 2009/2010 Campaign (RESP.3001.026.0001)

Fire safety officers (wildfire)

Officers commenced duties at the start of September 2009.

CFA

The CFA appointed 10 fire safety officers (wildfire) whose role is to assess the defendability of properties and advise property owners about bushfire risk.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0008

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0059–0060

Internal CFA communication campaign and facilitator training

The CFA conducted training and briefing sessions in the lead up to and during the 2009–10 bushfire season.

CFA

The CFA provided information to all its staff and volunteers about changes to its approach to community communications. The CFA:

     provided its brigades with a summer information kit containing key messages for the community

     conducted professional development workshops for staff whose role involves facilitating community FireReady and community fireguard meetings

     revised a range of CFA publications to reflect changes to the ‘stay or go’ policy.

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0060–0063

Exhibit 101 – Community Fireguard Facilitator Manual (WIT.3004.003.0448)

Exhibit 831 – Community Fireguard: A Bushfire Safety Program (RESP.3001.001.0121)

Exhibit 9 – CFA Website: Are you at risk? (TEN.001.001.0052)

Exhibit 9 – CFA Website: Leave or Stay? (TEN.001.001.0053)

Exhibit 9 – CFA Website: Make a Bushfire Plan (TEN.001.001.0055)

Exhibit 9 – CFA Website: Protect Yourself (TEN.001.001.0057)

Exhibit 9 – CFA Website: Protect Your Property (TEN.001.001.0060)

Exhibit 9 – CFA Website: Essential Equipment (TEN.001.001.0063)

Exhibit 9 – CFA Website: In the Event of Fire (TEN.001.001.0066)

Exhibit 9 – FireReady: Bushfire Survival Plan (TEN.001.001.0068)

Exhibit 908 – CFA Website: Neighbourhood Safer Places (TEN.275.001.0001)

Emergency management and planning

Township protection plans project

TPPs were in place prior to the 2009–10 bushfire season.

The State is conducting a 2009–10 bushfire season review of this initiative.

CFA ,

Municipal Association of Victoria

The CFA and MAV have developed TPPs for 52 communities in high bushfire risk areas. The TPPs include guidance on the operational response to bushfires and (in some cases) fire mitigation measures, as well as information to improve community preparedness, planning and response to the threat of bushfires.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0011–0012

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0055–0056

Exhibit 617 – Statement of Armstrong (WIT.3004.033.0001); Armstrong T13318:1T13332:5

Exhibit 831 – Township Protection Plan Status Report (RESP.3001.011.0001)

Exhibit 831 – Township Protection Plans (RESP.3001.005.0001, RESP.3001.005.0017, RESP.3001.005.0144, RESP.3001.005.0160, RESP.3001.005.0176, RESP.3001.005.0207, RESP.3001.005.0223, RESP.3001.005.0246, RESP.3001.005.0264_R, RESP.3001.005.0280, RESP.3001.005.0192, RESP.3001.005.0311, RESP.3001.005.0327, RESP.3001.005.0343, RESP.3001.005.0365_R, RESP.3001.005.0381, RESP.3001.005.0397, RESP.3001.006.0001, RESP.3001.006.0170, RESP.3001.006.0187, RESP.3001.006.0219_R, RESP.3001.006.0235, RESP.3001.006.0320, RESP.3001.006.0339, RESP.3001.006.0355_R, RESP.3001.006.0371, RESP.3001.006.0391_R, RESP.3001.007.0001, RESP.3001.007.0041, RESP.3001.007.0060, RESP.3001.007.0076, RESP.3001.007.0093, RESP.3001.007.0111, RESP.3001.007.0127, RESP.3001.007.0143 RESP.3001.007.0167, RESP.3001.007.0189, RESP.3001.007.0203, RESP.3001.007.0221, RESP.3001.007.0237, RESP.3001.007.0252, RESP.3001.007.0283, RESP.3001.007.0297, RESP.3001.007.0330, RESP.3001.007.0359, RESP.3001.007.0391_R, RESP.3001.007.0407, RESP.3001.008.0001, RESP.3001.008.0017_R, RESP.3001.008.0037_R, RESP.3001.008.0053, RESP.3001.008.0069_R, RESP.3001.008.0085, RESP.3001.008.0126, RESP.3001.008.0141)

Victorian Fire Risk Register

As at January 2010, 24 municipalities had completed the VFRR process, 11 municipalities were progressing the process and nine municipalities were about to commence the process.

CFA in collaboration with DSE, MFB and Municipal Committees

VFRR is a bushfire risk mapping tool which identifies people and assets at risk from bushfires and any measures which may mitigate those risks.

The VFRR produces risk tables, treatment tables and maps which councils and emergency services will use to support bushfire management planning.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0012–0013

Exhibit 146 – State Fire Management Committee Information Paper: Victorian Fire Risk Registry (CFA.001.019.0235)

Exhibit 146 – State Fire Management Committee Decision Paper: Implementation of the Victorian Fire Risk Register (CFA.001.019.0249)

Exhibit 831 – Victorian Fire Risk Register: Supports and Informs Your Plan (Handout) (RESP.3001.017.0077_R)

Exhibit 831 – Victorian Fire Risk Register: Supports and Informs Your Plan (Reference Guide) (RESP.3001.017.0087_R)

Exhibit 831 – Victorian Fire Risk Register: Supports and Informs Your Plan (Vegetation Guide) (RESP.3001.017.0146_R)

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0067–0070

Bushfire At-Risk Register

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development last updated the Bushfire At-Risk Register on 17 December 2009

DEECD

A register of schools and children’s services which are at high risk from bushfire.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0013

Revision of emergency management procedures for schools

 

DEECD

DEECD has implemented new arrangements to improve the ability of schools and children’s services to respond to a bushfire emergency, including:

     developing and distributing a bushfire risk self-assessment tool to Victorian schools and children’s services

     developing guidelines for the mandatory closure of schools and children’s services on the Bushfire At-Risk Register on code red days

     revising, in conjunction with the Department of Transport, school bus transport arrangements

     providing training to school principals and directors of children’s services in high risk areas

     revising the department’s children’s services emergency management policy, including developing a Bushfire Resources Kit for children’s services

     introducing revised emergency management arrangements for school camps and off-site activities

     overhauling the incident control systems

     developing a new geo-mapping tool that maps all schools, school bus routes and centre based early childhood services in Victoria.

DEECD has commissioned an audit program for 250 high risk schools and children’s facilities. It is also developing a new compliance and review system for emergency management plans in schools and children’s services for implementation in 2010.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0013–0015

Exhibit 148 – Statement of Cook (WIT.3029.001.0001)

Exhibit 831 – Bushfire Resources Kit: Schools (RESP.3001.004.0122)

Bushfire response: clients and services policy 2009–10

 

Department of Health, Department of Human Services

The policy provides an overarching framework for bushfire response, and contains specific DHS program guidelines.

DH and DHS have also developed:

     an online summer preparedness self-assessment tool

     a residential aged care services BushfireReady resource.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0015–0016

Exhibit 831 – Bushfire Reponse: Client and Services Policy 2009-10 (RESP.3001.014.0333)

Management of the natural and built environment

Building Amendment (Bushfire Construction) Interim Regulations 2009

The Regulations came into operation on 11 March 2009 (except for Regulations 8, 9 and 10, which came into operation on 9 March 2010).

Department of Planning and Community Development

The Interim Regulations require new homes built after 7 February 2009 to be constructed to improved safety standards.

The State has implemented a range of training and information initiatives to educate industry and consumers about the Interim Regulations and building related matters.

The Building Commission has implemented a range of projects relating to the Interim Regulations, including working with industry to develop windows that will meet the new building standard.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0017–0018

Exhibit 169 – Supplementary Statement of Arnel (WIT.3000.002.0220_R)

Exhibit 168 – Statement of Arnel (WIT.3000.002.0001) [150]–[153]

Reconstruction initiatives—Victoria Planning Provision amendments

The amendment was made on 14 May 2009.

DPCD

The Minister for Planning introduced clause 52.39 into the VPPs to ensure that homes destroyed in the 2009 bushfires were reconstructed in a manner that reduced bushfire hazard.

The new clause requires local councils to approve a site plan before reconstruction can commence that shows vehicle access, water supply and the siting of the reconstructed home.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0018

Exhibit 678 – Clause 52.39 2009 Bushfire Replacement Buildings (TEN.111.001.0054)

Reconstruction initiatives—building amendment (Bushfire Construction) Further Interim Regulations 2009

Introduced on 1 September 2009.

DPCD

The Further Interim Regulations provide that the reconstruction of homes destroyed in the 2009 bushfires must only occur once the site has an adequate water supply and access for emergency vehicles if it is subject to a Wildfire Management Overlay.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0018

Building and planning initiatives

Direction took effect on 1 February 2010.

DPCD

The Minister for Planning issued a direction under section 30 of the Project Development and Construction Management Act 1994 to strengthen bushfire safety requirements for government-funded public-use buildings from 1 February 2010.

The direction requires public-use buildings to undergo a bushfire attack level assessment and improve use of bushfire resistant designs.

The Minister also approved a streamlined planning scheme amendment process for Wildfire Management Overlays.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0018–0019

DSE vegetation management

The State expects to complete strategic fuel breaks in the first half of 2010.

DSE

DSE will continue to conduct native vegetation clearing and fuel reduction burning as part of its preparations for each bushfire season.

It is also constructing strategic fuel breaks to help protect Melbourne water catchments and Otways communities from the effects of bushfire.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0019–0020

Exhibit 716 – Supplementary Statement of Fogarty (WIT.3024.005.0143)

Exhibit 719 – Supplementary Statement of Tainsh (WIT.3024.005.0182)

Exhibit 721 – Supplementary Statement of Lawlor (WIT.3024.005.0199)

Exhibit 729 – Statement of Wilson (WIT.3024.005.0265)

Exhibit 753 – Statement of Miezis (WIT.3024.004.0315)

Exhibit 749 – Statement of Dripps (WIT.3024.005.0124)

Exhibit 761 – Statement of Fogarty (WIT.3024.004.0331) [12]–[31]

Managing native vegetation on roadsides: a guideline for implementing agreements under the local government public road exemption

As at 18 February 2010, 37 councils had entered into agreements with DSE.

DSE, Department of Transport, VicRoads, councils

DSE has entered into agreements with the Department of Transport and local councils regarding roadside clearing.

The State has developed guidelines to assist VicRoads and councils understand their obligations when removing native vegetation on roadsides.

The guidelines apply to all councils that have entered into a formal agreement with DSE.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0020

Exhibit 745 – Statement of Liddle (WIT.3027.001.0001)

Exhibit 746 – Statement of Brown (WIT.3027.001.0070)

Exhibit 749 – Statement of Dripps, Attachment 4 (DSE.HDD.0052.1867)

Vegetation management—VPPs amendments

Gazetted 10 September 2009. The State made clarifying amendments on 22 January 2010.

DPCD

The Minister for Planning introduced a new clause 52.43 into the VPPs to simplify residents’ ability to clear native vegetation around their homes.

Amendment VC65 to the VPPs (gazetted 22 January 2010) amended Clause 52.43 and further clarified the permit exemptions for vegetation removal.

DSE has published information and updated its website to educate residents about their entitlements under the VPPs.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0020

Exhibit 679 – Statement of Gilmore (WIT.3018.001.0001)

Exhibit 682 – Statement of Sturzenegger (WIT.3004.028.0166)

Exhibit 684 – Statement of Fox (WIT.3004.028.0202)

Exhibit 685 – Statement of Dripps (WIT.3024.005.0081)

Exhibit 678 – Clause 52.43 Interim Measures for Bushfire Protection (TEN.077.001.0005)

Enhancement of CFA advisory role in relation to vegetation management

 

CFA

The State has provided the CFA with funding to enhance its advisory and assistance roles for vegetation management on private land, roadsides and rail corridors.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0021

Exhibit 759 – Statement of Strickland (WIT.3004.034.0025)

Exhibit 748 – Witness Statement of Leslie (WIT.3004.028.0001) [24]–[27], [28]–[33], [54]–[58]

Community information and warnings

Memorandum of Understanding between the CFA, DSE and BoM regarding the National Fire Danger Ratings System

12 December 2009.

CFA, DSE

The BoM, the CFA and DSE have entered into a MOU about the operation of FDRs and the determination of FDR levels.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0021–0022

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0034–0039

Exhibit 847 – Second Supplementary Statement of Haynes (WIT.3004.035.0200)

Exhibit 324 – Australia’s Revised Arrangements for Bushfire Advice and Alerts – 2009/2010 Fire Season (RESP.7500.001.0001)

Exhibit 324 – Australia’s Revised Arrangements for Bushfire Advice and Alerts – 2009/2010 Fire Season (Appendix 1 – Participants) (RESP.7500.001.0014)

Exhibit 324 – Australia’s Revised Arrangements for Bushfire Advice and Alerts – 2009/2010 Fire Season (Appendix 2 – National Framework for Scaled Advice and Warning to the Community) (RESP.7500.001.0016)

Exhibit 324 – Australia’s Revised Arrangements for Bushfire Advice and Alerts – 2009/2010 Fire Season (Appendix 3 – Forecast Fire Danger) (RESP.7500.001.0017)

Exhibit 324 – Australia’s Revised Arrangements for Bushfire Advice and Alerts – 2009/2010 Fire Season (Appendix 4 – Messaging the Community) (RESP.7500.001.0020)

Exhibit 831 – New Fire Danger Ratings. Look for Them, Act on Them (RESP.3001.014.0190)

Exhibit 831 – Understanding Fire Danger Ratings (RESP.3001.001.0119)

Exhibit 705 – CFA Website: Fire Danger Ratings (EXP.019.001.0215)

National Framework for Scaled Advice and Warnings to the Community

The Framework was agreed to by the Australasian Emergency Management Committee on 4 September 2009.

AEMC, representing all states and territories

The Framework includes a three-stage warning model and links the new fire danger ratings with trigger points for issuing messages to the community.

The framework comprises the alert messages: ‘advice’, ‘watch’, ‘act’ and ‘emergency’ predicated on the estimated time before impact, the fire danger rating, and severity of the fire.

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0025–0026

Exhibit 11 – Statement of Esplin (WIT.005.001.0001)

Country Fire Authority Act (1958) amendments

The Emergency Services Legislation Amendment Act 2009, which inserted a new Part IIIA in the CFA Act, commenced on 2 December 2009.

CFA, DSE, MFB,

Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, Victoria Police, DOJ

The amendments provide that the CFA Chief Officer will be responsible for issuing warnings and providing information to the community about bushfire risks.

On 24 December 2009 the Chief Officer delegated that responsibility to the Chief Fire Officer, DSE, and the Chief Officer, MFB, in circumstances where the delegate’s agency is the control agency for the fire.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0022

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0101–0103

Exhibit 614 – CFA Act Part IIIA – Improving Community Safety (WIT.3004.032.0164)

CFA/DSE joint standard operating procedure on incident information and warnings

The State issued the SOP on 3 February 2010.

CFA, DSE

The CFA and DSE have developed the SOP regarding warnings to the community and relocation recommendations.

It requires Incident Controllers and others in IMTs to issue warnings to the community in appropriate circumstances.

The CFA and DSE have also revised processes and procedures to ensure that where a level 3 Incident Controller or officer of equivalent ranking is satisfied that a bushfire warning is required, then they are authorised to release a warning where the designated Incident Controller is temporarily unavailable.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0022–0023

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0048–0049, 0100

Exhibit 701 – CFA and DSE Joint SOP (J4.01): Incident Information Unit Management (DSE.HDD.0012.1341)

Common Alerting Protocol

In use since October 2009.

CAP templates were to be reviewed after the 2009–10 bushfire season.

CFA, DSE

The CAP provides the CFA and DSE with template warning messages to the community regarding fire danger and recommended actions.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0023

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0021–0022

Exhibit 828 – Common Alerting Protocol (Bushfire Messages) Victoria (RESP.3001.021.0003)

Exhibit 45 – Common Alerting Protocol Presentation (TEN.004.001.0019)

One Source–One Message software tool

Phase 1 of OSOM has been in use since October 2009.

Phase 2 is scheduled for mid-2010.

CFA, DSE

OSOM enables warnings (including CAP warnings) to be delivered from incident control centres to a variety of outlets simultaneously, including CFA and DSE websites, Victorian Bushfire Information Line operators and media outlets.

Approved information officers upload specific information about a fire and OSOM will generate a message using a standard template. Under phase 1 of OSOM, only the CFA and DSE have the capacity to upload information. Once phase 2 is implemented, MFB will also gain access to the system.

CFA/DSE joint SOP 4.01 provides that the OSOM tool should be the primary method of warning message distribution.

CFA and DSE have also issued a joint OSOM reference guide and have revised their guidelines for the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0023

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0021–0022, 0039–0041

Exhibit 831 – One Source One Message Reference Guide (RESP.3001.017.0180)

Bushfire severity scale project

DSE and the Bushfire CRC commenced work on the project in January 2010.

Research is to be completed by July 2010.

DSE

This project aims to identify options for the development of a severity scale that denotes a ‘going’ bushfire’s risk.

The research will describe the power of bushfires and their potential impact on communities and the services on which those communities rely.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0023–0024

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0023–0024

Exhibit 831 – Bushfire Severity Scale Project (RESP.3001.017.0174)

Memorandum of Understanding— broadcasters and the State

Some of the MOUs were in place prior to the 2009–10 bushfire season.

The State’s negotiations with other broadcasters are ongoing.

Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner

The State has entered into a revised MOU with the ABC in relation to the broadcast of bushfire warnings and information.

The State has also entered into MOUs with Commercial Radio Australia (on behalf of commercial radio operators) and radio broadcaster 3UZ.

The MOUs:

     contain the undertaking of both parties to support timely and accurate emergency warnings to the community

     commit the relevant radio operators to interrupt programming and broadcast emergency messages in an agreed form

     make provision for continuous coverage during major emergencies and the use of standard emergency warning signals in accordance with the guidelines.

The State has finalised a similar MOU with Sky-TV news, and is in negotiation with SBS, community radio broadcasters and free-to-air television operators.

The OESC has developed a practice note that outlines procedures for implementing the MOUs.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0024

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0028–0029

Exhibit 831 – Letters to various emergency services agencies who participated in MOU development with broadcasters (RESP.3001.014.0016, RESP.3001.014.0018, RESP.3001.014.0020, RESP.3001.014.0022, RESP.3001.014.0024, RESP.3001.014.0026, RESP.3001.014.0028)

Emergency Alert (formerly NEWS)

The State implemented phase 1 of Emergency Alert in December 2009. Work on phase 2 is ongoing.

OESC

Emergency Alert allows warning messages to be delivered to the fixed and mobile phones of residents under threat from a bushfire.

The second phase of Emergency Alert proposes the delivery of warning messages to mobile phones based on the user’s location (currently warnings are delivered based on the user’s billing address).

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0024–0025

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0022, 0032–0033

Exhibit 828 – Emergency Alert: Quick Reference Guide (WIT.3004.041.0137)

Standard Emergency Warning Signal Guidelines

The State Emergency Response Plan was amended to include specific reference to the SEWS in October 2009.

Victoria Police

The State has developed revised guidelines on the use of the SEWS which specify the purpose of the signal, the circumstances when it is to be used (and not used), the duration, and processes and administrative arrangements surrounding its use.

The State’s new MOUs with emergency broadcasters require the emergency broadcasters to follow the SEWS guidelines.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0025–0026

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0027–0028

Exhibit 831 – The Standard Emergency Warning Signal and Guidelines for its Use in Victoria (RESP.3001.002.0179)

Guidelines for the use of CFA and community sirens

The CFA will review its sirens policy on 30 October 2012.

The OESC guidelines are interim guidelines until March 2010, but will be extended until 30 October 2012 to coincide with the CFA’s review of its sirens policy.

OESC, CFA

The OESC developed guidelines to assist communities and local brigades in the use of existing brigade sirens (or community sponsored and run sirens) to alert the community to a bushfire threat.

The CFA has issued a complementary policy (included in an appendix to the OESC guidelines) which details the CFA position on the use of existing sirens and other types of community alert sirens.

The CFA and OESC guidelines identify the steps to be taken, the parties that should take them, and the issues to be addressed to obtain or use a siren as a community alert.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0026

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0030–0032

Victorian Bushfire Information Line Service Extension Project

2009–10 bushfire season.

DSE

DSE has made improvements to the VBIL including:

     increasing phone line and on-hold message capacity

     improving ‘triage’ arrangements to ensure that the most urgent calls are given priority

     increasing the casual operator pool and call centre seating

     enhancing existing overflow arrangements with Centrelink and discussing new overflow arrangements with the State Revenue Office and VicRoads

     ensuring that information from operational sources is provided directly to the VBIL at the same time as other agencies (through OSOM)

     developing new FAQ templates and investigating their automation with OSOM warnings.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0026

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0041–0043

Health and Human Services Fire Communications Strategy

Implemented prior to the 2009–10 bushfire season.

DH, DHS

The State developed the Health and Human Services Fire Communications Strategy to ensure human services providers receive timely, comprehensive and consistent fire information through:

     a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter

     messages targeted at vulnerable groups.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0026–0027

Social media initiatives

Launched in mid-March 2010.

CFA

The State plans to use social media to assist the community to gauge its level of fire readiness and to communicate important information on fire danger ratings, total fire ban status and fire warnings.

The State has invested in the development of customised Facebook and free official FireReady iPhone applications, which will extract relevant information from the CFA’s website.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0027

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0055

Shelter options

Private shelters—Building Amendment (Private Bushfire Shelter Construction) Interim Regulations 2009 (Interim Shelter Regulations)

The State introduced the Interim Shelter Regulations as a temporary measure pending the development of national standards, expected to be introduced in 2010.

The Regulations came into operation on 11 November 2009 (except for Regulations 9 and 10, which come into operation on 9 November 2010).

Department of Planning and Community Development

The State has introduced the Interim Shelter Regulations to regulate construction and installation of private bushfire shelters.

The Interim Shelter Regulations make private bushfire shelters a new class of building under the Victorian Building Code.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0027–0028

Exhibit 169 – Supplementary Statement of Arnel (WIT.3000.002.0220_R)

Exhibit 313 – Bushfire Bunkers (BDC.001.001.0199)

Exhibit 500 – Fire refuges: Implementation Plan (EXH.500.0003)

Neighbourhood Safer Places

The Emergency Services Legislation Amendment Act 2009 amended the CFA Act to include provisions relating to NSPs. It came into operation on 2 December 2009.

As at 7 November 2009, all 52 towns identified as most at risk from bushfires had potential NSP sites considered and 50 of those sites met CFA criteria.

As at 16 March 2010, 62 NSPs had been designated.

The State conducted a post 2009–10 bushfire season review of the NSP initiative.

CFA

The Victorian Parliament has enacted legislation requiring local councils to designate NSPs in existing buildings or spaces that can be accessed as a last resort to provide some protection from bushfire.

Amendments to the CFA Act in 2009 introduced the following process for establishing a site as an NSP:

     identification of potential sites by local councils

     certification of sites satisfying the criteria in the CFA’s Guidelines (see below)

     formal designation of the site as an NSP by a local council.

When designating a site as an NSP, councils may:

     develop a Municipal NSP Plan, which relates to the identification, suitability and designation of NSPs and the inspection, maintenance and decommissioning of designated NSPs

     develop a specific management plan for the site

     conduct a separate assessment of the site for access, egress and capacity.

Where the NSP is not situated on council controlled land, local councils must obtain the consent of the land occupier/controller to use the site as an NSP.

Where a site is on Crown land, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change has consented to the use of identified Crown land reserves as NSPs by notifications contained in Special Government Gazettes. DSE is working with MAV to develop a consistent statewide process for managing consent and maintenance arrangements for these NSPs.

For the 2009–10 bushfire season the State and local councils gave priority to the identification and designation of NSPs in the 52 communities facing the highest risk of bushfire.

The CFA analysed the community outcomes resulting from the implementation of township protection plans and NSPs. It found: there appears to be a good understanding that NSPs are a place of last resort; there is considerable misunderstanding about the role of NSPs and the introduction of NSPs has not been accompanied by increased household planning.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0028–0030

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0074–0077, 0086

Exhibit 617 – Statement of Armstrong (WIT.3004.033.0001)

Exhibit 614 – Statement of Hayes (WIT.3004.032.0147)

Exhibit 831 – Emergency Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 (Vic) Explanatory Memorandum (RESP.3001.002.0001)

Exhibit 831 – ‘Neighbourhood Safe Places: Places of Last Resort’ Interim Assessment Guideline (RESP.3001.001.0127)

Exhibit 831 – Statewide NSP Location Spreadsheet (RESP.3001.014.0158)

Exhibit 831 – Signage guidelines for NSPs (RESP.3001.011.0262)

Exhibit 620 – Municipal Council Neighbourhood Safer Places Plan (TEN.168.001.0001)

Exhibit 831 – Township Protection Plans CFA Progress Report (RESP.3001.026.0012)

NSP Guidelines

The CFA published interim NSP assessment guidelines in October 2009.

Guidelines issued under the CFA Act (as amended by the ESA Act) were published in the Government Gazette and placed on the CFA website on 11 February 2010.

CFA , MAV, OESC

The CFA has issued guidelines specifying criteria and other considerations relating to the assessment of NSPs, and has trained 20 CFA personnel on the assessment methodology.

The MAV has developed a NSP plan template to assist councils with the NSP designation process.

The OESC has published guidelines to assist councils to fulfil their obligations to ensure designated NSPs are identified with appropriate signs.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0028

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0074–0076

Uniform NSP signage

The State endorsed the signs and their accompanying guidelines on 9 December 2009.

As at 16 March 2010, state approved signage had been installed at all 62 approved NSPs.

OESC

The OESC, in consultation with the CFA and MAV, have developed a standard sign identifying NSPs.

The signs were: designed in accordance with AS 2341-1992, use an internationally recognised symbol for fire assembly points, and clearly state that the NSPs are places of last resort and are specific to bushfires.

In producing the NSP signage, the MAV added additional text on secondary signs to give readers information about: what to expect at an NSP, the risks associated with NSPs, and the limitations of NSPs in offering bushfire protection.

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0082–0085

Exhibit 831 – Signage guidelines for NSPs (RESP.3001.011.0262)

Maintenance of NSP list

The CFA notified key agencies of the website listing in December 2009.

The CFA sent a list of compliant NSP sites to DSE in December 2009 for inclusion in VicMap, and to the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority for inclusion in its computer aided dispatch system.

On 30 December 2009 the State requested the VBIL to update the NSP FAQs with the information provided on the CFA website in relation to new NSPs.

On 23 February 2010 the State gave in principle endorsement of the draft guidelines for notifying agencies of newly designated NSPs.

CFA

ESA Act amendments to the CFA Act require the CFA to maintain a statewide list of NSPs on its website and provide the list to the Secretary to DSE, Chief Commissioner of Police, CEO of the SES, MAV and the VBIL.

The CFA website lists the current NSPs, including those that are non-compliant or are yet to be assessed, and the single community fire refuge in Woods Point.

The interim process for the maintenance of the list provides that MAV will inform the CFA of newly designated NSPs or NSPs to be removed, and the CFA will notify ESTA and DSE accordingly. The CFA will then update its website and notify all related parties.

The State has developed draft guidelines for notifying agencies of newly designated NSPs, which clarify the responsibilities of councils, CFA, DSE and ESTA.

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0085–0086

Review of state fire refuges policy

The Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner presented an initial draft discussion paper to the State Coordination and Management Council on 8 December 2009, and a further draft on 2 February 2010.

The review was ongoing as at 22 April 2010.

OESC

The OESC is undertaking its review of the State’s current fire refuges policy in the context of other measures and policies the Commission considered, such as the use of NSPs, the role of relocation and bunkers, and consideration of stay or go.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0030

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0072–0074

Exhibit 902 – Supplementary Statement of Bruce Esplin (WIT.3007.001.0001)

Assessment and upgrade of school refuges

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has completed a review of all refuges in all schools in areas at risk of bushfire.

As at 10 February 2010, upgrades had been completed on 20 schools with work continuing on at least five others.

DEECD

The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority assessed 36 school fire refuges to ensure they complied with the safety standards contained in various building regulations.

Infrastructure consultants, GHD, reviewed the information and recommendations contained in the VMIA reports, scoped the necessary rectification works for each school, and developed a budget estimate for the completion of those works.

The GHD reports covered a range of relevant considerations based on appropriate standards and documentation.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0030–0031

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0087–0090

Exhibit 831 – DEECD Schools Fire Refuge Program (RESP.3001.019.0005)

Review of bushfire protection measures in children’s services facilities

DEECD completed the review on 31 March 2010.

DEECD

DEECD has developed a comprehensive improvement program to ensure that all Victorian schools and children’s services, including kindergartens, child care centres, preschools and early learning centres, are well prepared for bushfires.

This program has identified 30 projects that DEECD is currently progressing or participating in as a stakeholder.

The process involved the development and distribution of a bushfire self-assessment tool for children’s services and to all schools (including Catholic and independent) and early childhood facilities in Victoria. The purpose of the tool was to raise awareness of the need for facilities to consider bushfire risks, and allow them to get a better understanding of their risks and level of preparedness for all emergencies.

DEECD has also issued schools and children’s services with a Bushfire Resources Kit and is developing a mapping tool to enhance its emergency management capability by allowing users to speedily locate, identify and communicate with schools and children’s facilities.

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0091–0094

For a table containing an overview of the main issues identified by the self-assessment tool and audit process and the Department’s responses. see Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0092

Exhibit 831 – Children’s Services Bushfire Resource Kit – Children’s Services – Version 1 (RESP.3001.004.0001)

Exhibit 831 – Schools Bushfire Resource Kit – Children’s Services – Version 1 (RESP.3001.004.0122)

Exhibit 831 – Children’s services Bushfire and Emergency Management Self-Assessment (RESP.3001.002.0044_R)

Exhibit 831 – Schools Bushfire and Emergency Management Self-Assessment ()RESP.3001.002.0088_R

Response

Procedures and Guidelines

Review of the State Emergency Response Plan

The review was complete as at 31 March 2010.

Victoria Police

In response to the Commission’s interim report, the State amended the SERP to increase its emphasis on control, command and coordination principles and roles.

These substantial amendments appear to address the matters raised in the interim report. In particular, the amended SERP provides that the control agency for a fire is responsible for issuing and communicating warnings.

The revised SERP has been incorporated into the Emergency Management Manual Victoria.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0032

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0027, 0043–0045, 0103–0104, 0110–0112

Exhibit 443 – Statement of Overland (WIT.3010.009.0229) [8]

Exhibit 443 – Statement of Overland, Annexure 1 (WIT.3010.009.0244)

Interim Command, Control and Coordination Arrangements

The interim arrangements were introduced for use by agencies during the 2009–10 bushfire season.

Parliament amended the Emergency Management Act 1986 (EMA Act) in 2009.

Victoria Police, DSE, CFA, MFB, VIC SES

The police Chief Commissioner introduced interim command, control and coordination arrangements for the 2009–10 bushfire season.

The State amended the EMA Act to help implement the interim arrangements.

In November 2009 the chief (fire) officers of the CFA, DSE and MFB signed the Heads of Agreement, State Command and Control Arrangements for Bushfire in Victoria. That document reflects the amendments to the EMA Act and the Emergency Management Manual. It also describes the agreed principles for establishing and exercising command and control.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0032

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0106–0110

Exhibit 443 – Statement of Overland (WIT.3010.009.0229) [9]–[16]

Exhibit 547 – State Command and Control Arrangements for Bushfire in Victoria (CFA.001.032.0300)

Emergency Management Manual Victoria

The OESC released updates to the Manual in November and December 2009.

OESC

The State has revised the Manual to include:

     interim command, control and coordination arrangements

     revisions made to the State Emergency Response Plan

     policy and procedural changes introduced for the 2009–10 bushfire season, particularly in relation to stay or go, warnings and relocations.

OESC is currently working on a project with DOJ to develop an online version of the Manual. This version will provide enhanced navigation and search functionality for users.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0032

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0104–0106

For tables showing EMMV updates/revisions see Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0105–0106

Exhibit 831 – Emergency Management Manual Victoria (RESP.3001.003.0001_R)

Relocation—CFA and DSE joint SOP on incident information and warnings

Issued on 3 February 2010, the SOP was to be reviewed after the 2009–10 bushfire season.

CFA, DSE

DSE and the CFA have developed SOP J4.01. It includes procedures for disseminating warnings to the community and making relocation recommendations.

The SOP indicates that the individual has the responsibility for making a decision to relocate, and that the Incident Controller’s role is to provide advice to threatened communities on appropriate responses to an incident, which may include advice to relocate.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0022–0023

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0048–0049

Exhibit 701 – CFA and DSE Joint SOP (J4.01): Incident Information Unit Management (DSE.HDD.0012.1341)

Revision and replacement of fire agency SOPs

SOP J3.03 was finalised on 3 February 2010.

CFA, DSE

The CFA and DSE have revised or replaced a number of SOPs including:

     J2.03 on IMT preparedness arrangements, which identifies trigger points and default staffing preparedness levels for incident control centres and IMTs on days of predicted elevated fire danger

     J3.03 on incident action planning, which provides that incident action plans must include strategies to enhance the protection of NSPs where they are likely to be threatened

     J3.08 on the appointment of Incident Controllers which provides for their appointment and requires a joint CFA and DSE register to be maintained of personnel endorsed to perform the role

     J3.10 on traffic management during bushfires, which provides that when an Incident Controller requests the establishment of a roadblock, he or she must consider whether simultaneous advice or warnings should be issued to the community.

 

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0032–0034

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0116–0117

Exhibit 547 – Statement of Haynes (WIT.3004.023.0011)

The revised Guidelines for roadblocks during wildfires

The TMP Guidelines were reviewed, and revised guidelines were introduced for the 2009–10 bushfire season.

Victoria Police, CFA, DSE

The TMP Guidelines:

     establish access levels for various groups at roadblocks

     provide for wristband identification of residents and others requiring access

     adopt more flexible means of establishing identity.

The State has allocated funding to educate the community about the new traffic management and access arrangements.

Victoria Police has also distributed information cards regarding the revised TMP Guidelines to its members, published a TMP public information pack on its website, and issued 25,000 individually numbered wristbands to its regions, which are held in police stores and are distributed to local areas.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0034

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0113–0116

Exhibit 540 – Statement of Walshe (WIT.3010.009.0300)

Exhibit 269 – Guidelines for the Operation of Traffic Management Point during Wildfires (WIT.3004.013.0299)

Exhibit 540 – Guidelines for the Operation of Traffic Management Points during Wildfires (WIT.3010.009.0361)

Advance notice for Telstra and the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority

9 November 2009.

Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, CFA, ESTA, Telstra

The OESC, CFA, ESTA and Telstra 000 have developed arrangements so that ESTA and Telstra receive advance notice of severe weather events. This will allow them to anticipate high emergency call demands.

In November 2009 the State amended the OESC Significant Incident–Severe Weather Notification SOP 2.199 to add a new section titled, ‘Severe Weather Notification’. It sets out the key procedural steps in the event of the declaration of a severe, extreme or code red day. Those amendments are reflected in ESTA and CFA SOPs which came into effect in November and December 2009.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0034–0035

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0118–0120

Revision of State Health Emergency Response Plan

The State revised the SHERP for the 2009–10 bushfire season.

The State’s remedial works for health facilities were due to be completed in April 2010.

DHS, DH

The revised SHERP provides coordinated support for communities and ensures access to essential services during an emergency.

DH and DHS have inspected each of their facilities and provided them with a bushfire self-assessment tool to assist with their bushfire preparedness. Priority has been given to facilities located within the 52 high fire risk townships.

The State has also provided $1.25 million to local government to assist vulnerable people.

DHS, in conjunction with the State Emergency Service, has developed a State Coordination Agreement to better deliver services in relief centres. From April 2010 DHS will have state and regional responsibility for emergency relief.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0035

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0126

Exhibit 843 – State Health Emergency Response Plan (WIT.3003.001.0062)

Emergency Relief Centre Guidelines

Planned for completion before the 2009–10 bushfire season.

An Interim Guidance Note was provided to councils on 30 October 2009.

Councils, with State support

To support municipal emergency planning, VIC SES, DHS, DOJ, Victoria Police and MAV are developing guidelines for the operation of emergency relief centres. Key elements to be addressed are:

     standard processes, including location, capacity, activation, roles and facilities

     geographic coverage

     community education and expectations

     management and scope of activities standardised operating procedures.

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0050

Exhibit 831 – Local Government Emergency Relief Centre Guidance Note (RESP.3001.011.0003)

Personnel, infrastructure and resources

Upgrade of State Control Centre facilities

 

 

The upgrade will improve the SCC’s operational capacity, and includes:

     an increased seating and media capacity that will allow all relevant emergency services organisations to station officers at the SCC

     enhanced telephone and IT capabilities

     a new layout to improve information flow

     the revision and preparation of new SOPs for operation of the SCC

     improved connectivity with incident control centres across Victoria.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0036

Exhibit 210 – Statement of Brown (WIT.3024.002.0280)

Upgrade of DSE and CFA incident control centres

As at 30 October 2009 the State had earmarked an upgrade for the 43 level 3 incident control centres and:

     completed upgrade works on 17

     scheduled completion of upgrade works for 24 by November 2009

     scheduled completion of the Geelong Incident Control Centre by January 2010

     scheduled completion of the Mt Gambier Incident Control Centre by June 2010.

The State expects to complete the upgrade project in June 2010.

CFA, DSE

The CFA and DSE state duty officers have been given direct responsibility for ensuring pre-designated level 3 incident control centres within their control are properly staffed and equipped to enable immediate operation in the case of a fire on high fire risk days.

Equipment—the focus has been on upgrading level 3 incident control centres to ensure that they comply with CFA and DSE agreed minimum standards. Upgrade works include increasing seating capacity, upgrading equipment, and enhancing telephone and IT facilities.

Staffing—the State has retained overseas and interstate specialists to increase the number of qualified level 3 personnel available during the summer fire season. The CFA and DSE are also developing a long term strategy to attract, train and retain members with advanced skills and competencies required for level 3 IMT roles.

Pre-formed IMTs—will be deployed to strategically located incident control centres based on forecast conditions and capability requirements.

The CFA and DSE have determined that they can sustain 12 level 3 IMTs at any one time to the required capacity.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0036–0037

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0094–0097

See further Exhibit 831 – Level 3 ICCs – Upgrade Project of 15 September 2009 (RESP.3000.003.0060)

Exhibit 547 – Statement of Haynes (WIT.3004.023.0011) [199]–[206]

Improvement and alignment of CFA and DSE IMT training

Joint training packages by 30 June 2011.

CFA, DSE

The State has taken steps to ensure that all CFA and DSE IMT personnel shall be endorsed to a standard as agreed between those agencies. DSE and the CFA have agreed to develop joint training packages for key IMT personnel, where they do not currently exist, by 30 June 2011.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0037

Exhibit 547 – Statement of Haynes (WIT.3004.023.0011) [158]–[169]

Exhibit 202 – Statement of Slijepcevic (WIT.3024.001.0109) [47]–[53]

DH and DHS Incident Controller training programs

 

DH, DHS

DH and DHS have developed training programs to ensure that health and human services staff are trained to the same level as DSE and CFA Incident Controllers.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0037

Trial of new water bombing plane

 

National Aerial Firefighting Centre

The State allocated funding to trial a new water bombing plane, the Very Large Air Tanker, to boost the State’s firefighting capacity during the 2009–10 fire season and assess its effectiveness in fighting fires in Victoria.

NAFAC ran the procurement process.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0037–0038

Funding for improvements to emergency services communications

The State’s investment in enhanced radio communications, provision of ESTA services, and improved radio coverage will be made over four years.

Installation of the satellite downlink system in the first aircraft has been completed and is underway in the second aircraft.

The cross-training of police call takers was completed on 3 November 2009.

An additional 15 workstations and related equipment were available on 11 November 2009.

Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority

The State has contributed $1.042 million toward improving ESTA surge capacity, including 15 additional work stations in Ballarat.

The State has invested in:

     enhanced radio communications between emergency services organisations and capacity to manage 000 calls

     funding for emergency services organisations and ESTA for the ongoing provision of ESTA services

     improved radio coverage in metropolitan and regional areas experiencing emergency communications ‘black spots’

     upgrading the connectivity of DSE’s incident channels and office redundancy to provide an alternative communications link that can be used by incident control centres in a bushfire emergency

     installing a satellite downlink system in two aircraft to allow data transfer from fire detection line scanners

     greater call-taking capability through additional workstations at ESTA’s Ballarat and Tally Ho communications centres and additional training in fire call taking for ESTA staff at its Ballarat centre.

ESTA has also implemented a number of other initiatives, including the creation of a virtual queue, cross training of police call takers in fire call taking, and protocols with the VBIL.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0038–0039

Exhibit 840 – Statement of Comrie, Annexure 1 (WIT.3031.001.0004) at 0120–0122

Exhibit 62 – Statement of Foster (WIT.012.001.0001)

Exhibit 868 – Statement of Lloyd (WIT.3028.001.0001)

Review of Emergency Services Communication Strategic Framework

Review is in progress.

The State

The State is currently reviewing the framework.

It aims to strengthen and enhance emergency services communications by upgrading voice, alerting and data communications, and to further integrate call taking and dispatch into those systems.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0039

Exhibit 867 – Emergency Services Communications Strategic Framework (DOJ.001.005.0159)

Review and upgrade of emergency alerting pager system

Review is continuing.

ESTA

The first phase of this review, the message type review, has rationalised customer message protocols and reduced system congestion providing an improved message throughput.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0039

Exhibit 867 – Update on Emergency Alerting System (DOJ.001.004.0307_R)

Exhibit 867 – Update on Emergency Alerting System (DOJ.001.004.0308)

Funding to improve the capacity and capability of fire services

42 new ultra light tankers were due by June 2010, with 22 units previously delivered.

The State will provide funding to assist the CFA to retire aged heavy tankers and replace its fleet of heavy pumpers in 2009–10.

The State will provide funding to replace or upgrade rural fire stations over the next two years.

DSE, CFA

The State has invested in the following improvements:

     upgrading fire service intelligence gathering, analysis, and alerting capability. In particular, DSE has trained additional staff as air observers, situation officers and fire behaviour analysts, and updated DSE and Networked Emergency Organisation staff in how to use the OSOM tool for the 2009–10 bushfire season. The CFA has purchased new portable field IT kits

     training, briefings and communications exercises on the changes were introduced for the 2009–10 bushfire season

     ordering 42 ultra light tankers and providing funding to enable CFA Brigades to acquire another 27

     constructing 18 new fire stations

     upgrading or replacing over 60 rural fire stations.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0039–0040

Investigation of funding options for fire services

The State released its Green Paper on funding options for fire services in October 2009.

The Victorian Parliament enacted legislation in December 2009 to enable a pilot study of those options.

The State proposes to release a White Paper stating its final position within six months of the tabling of the Commission’s final report.

The State

The State will conduct a pilot study to collect and analyse data relating to options for funding Victoria’s fire services in a fair and sustainable manner.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0040–0041

Victoria’s volunteering strategy

Released in May 2009.

The State

The strategy aims to support the growth of community volunteering. Key actions include:

     a community awareness campaign to encourage volunteering

     a new web portal to provide an easy access point for volunteering opportunities and information about organisations

     tools, resources and strategies to encourage groups currently excluded from or under-represented in community volunteering

     support to organisations to provide new volunteering opportunities to suit the way young people are able to donate their time

     small grants to community organisations seeking to create new opportunities for diverse groups of volunteers.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0041–0042

Exhibit 843 – Victoria’s Volunteering Strategy (WIT.3003.001.0240)

Recovery

Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority

The State and Commonwealth established VBRRA on 10 February 2009.

The State in partnership with the Commonwealth

VBRRA will oversee and coordinate the recovery and rebuilding program.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0042

Exhibit 837 – Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority Report (VBRA.300.001.0001)

Bushfire Appeal Fund

Established within 24 hours of 7 February. Closed in April 2009.

The State, in partnership with the Commonwealth and the Australian Red Cross; DHS provided staffing support.

The Bushfire Appeal Fund was established to raise funds to support individuals and communities in towns and suburbs affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0042

Case management system

 

DHS

DHS established a case management system (including a call centre) to provide a case manager to every family affected by the 2009 bushfires.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0042–0043

Exhibit 137 – DHS Assistance: Victorian Bushfire Case Management Service (DSE.HDD.0016.0600)

Compassionate assistance funding

 

The State

State funding for assistance such as temporary housing, funeral expenses, emergency medical services, counselling services and emergency hardship grants.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0043

For psychosocial response / recovery see Exhibit 538 – Statement of Grigg (WIT.3001.001.0001)

Community Recovery Fund

February 2009.

DPCD in partnership with the Commonwealth

In the first six months after 7 February, the Community Recovery Fund made 26 sporting grants, 17 arts program grants, and a number of other grants for individual community events.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0043

Funding for clean-up of bushfire-affected areas

 

The State

The State provided funding to help with the clean-up of bushfire-affected areas and allow rebuilding and reconstruction works to start.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0043

Recovery, reconstruction and clean-up activities— amendments to the Victoria Planning Provisions.

The amendments came into effect on 23 February and 12 March 2009 respectively.

DPCD

The Minister introduced clause 52.38 of Amendment VC53, and Amendment VC54 into the VPPs.

Taken together, the amendments support recovery and reconstruction operations by clarifying that a planning permit is not needed for activities directly associated with bushfire recovery, including site clean-up and safety, demolition and temporary accommodation, and for the reconstruction of a home destroyed by the 2009 bushfires.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0043

Exhibit 678 – Clause 52.38 Bushfire Recovery (TEN.111.001.0052)

Restoration of health and education services

 

The State

The State has replaced destroyed health centres, ambulance services and schools.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0044

Business assistance packages

 

The State

The State has developed packages to help small businesses and primary producers affected by the bushfires.

Assistance is provided in the form of business assistance grants, low-interest loans and business restart mentors.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0044

Business information line

 

Small Business Victoria, Rural Finance Corporation

The information line provides information on the types of assistance available, such as counselling and mentoring services.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0044

Architects Bushfire Homes Service

 

Office of the Victorian Government Architect, VBRRA, Victorian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, Building Commission

The service provides a range of bushfire-safe home designs for those seeking to rebuild.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0044

Environmental regeneration and rehabilitation activities

 

 

These activities include protection of endangered species, re-seeding forests with mountain and alpine ash eucalypts, weed control, replacement of fencing and the rehabilitation of fire control lines.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0044

Rebuilding Together: A Statewide Plan for Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery

Plan released on 16 October 2009.

The State

This plan outlines the progress of the recovery and reconstruction effort since the bushfires and announces additional state funding, including insurance money and departmental reprioritisation, to carry out the medium to long-term reconstruction and recovery effort, including funding to:

     rebuild public infrastructure and re-establish core services

     regenerate the environment

     restore local economies.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0044–0045

Exhibit 843 – Rebuilding Together: A Statewide Plan For Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery (WIT.3003.001.0257)

Update of Emergency Coordination Centre arrangements

Ongoing.

DH, DHS

The update aims to improve cross-agency integration and documentation triggers for the activation of recovery services.

New SOPs have been developed to reflect new recovery services and coordination.

This work has included the development of an operations manual for community service hubs to provide guidance on long-term recovery and assistance.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0045

Reissue of State Recovery Operation Plan

The Plan was reissued prior to the 2009–10 bushfire season.

DH, DHS

The Plan reflects new and changed recovery initiatives introduced for the 2009–10 bushfire season.

Exhibit 843 – Statement of Robertson (WIT.3003.001.0001) at 0045

           

 

 

Municipal Association of Victoria and local government policies and initiatives since 7 February 2009**

 

Organisation

Description

Evidence

Preparedness and response

Municipal Association of Victoria

MAV participated in the following reviews:

     Part 3 Emergency Management Manual Victoria—State Emergency Response Plan Review

     emergency relief arrangements

     fire refuges.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0004

MAV

MAV participated in a DEECD working group to address the emergency preparedness of schools and early childhood facilities. The working group sought to clarify agency and local government responsibilities, and improve agency coordination and communication in the event of a bushfire.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV supported DEECD with bushfire preparedness for Victorian children’s services and consulted with councils to ensure compliance with requests for information.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV provided advice to DSE and DPCD about potential issues and the implications of changes to planning schemes for vegetation management.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV organised a briefing and provided additional guidance materials for councils on the new planning scheme exemptions for vegetation management.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV surveyed councils about local laws that might conflict with the 10/30 planning scheme exemptions.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

In consultation with DSE and DPCD, MAV developed The Bushfire Protection—Vegetation Removal on Public Land Guidance Note.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV participated in a working group with VicRoads, the CFA and DSE to develop a Roadside Standard for Clearing for removal of high risk vegetation on priority roads identified in township protection plans.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV provided input to VicRoads on the roadside firewood collection guidelines.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV provided new fire danger rating signs to municipal fire prevention officers in each municipality where the former signs currently exist.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV hosted eight regional and two metropolitan bushfire information sessions for councils during September and October 2009 to address recent government reforms to bushfire management. This included township protection plans, NSPs, vegetation clearance regimes and local government responsibilities.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV, in conjunction with the OESC and the CFA, facilitated education briefings about the 2009–10 fire season program.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV reported to the OESC, DOJ and the CFA about the outstanding issues and concerns of councils in relation to NSPs, township protection plans, community engagement in fire preparedness, native vegetation and other matters.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV surveyed local government human services directors to determine existing local government initiatives regarding bushfire and heatwave preparation for vulnerable groups, and identified where additional assistance was required.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV, having liaised with the CFA, provided councils with a summary of the process for determining fire danger ratings and total fire ban days.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV worked with the Municipal Emergency Management Enhancement Group to enhance municipal capacity in emergency management and replicate the MEMEG model regionally, with the establishment of regional MEMEGs.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003

MAV

MAV consulted with the CFA, DSE and Victoria Police to assist the OESC to review and improve practices for rapid impact assessment and coordination in an emergency.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

Alpine Shire Council

The Alpine Shire Council:

     distributed newsletters to all residences about fire preparedness

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     trained staff in the use of municipal emergency coordination centres and the MECC emergency computer system.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0005

Banyule City Council

The Banyule City Council:

     increased slashing of reserve trails, embankments and escarpments throughout Darebin Creek, Plenty River and Yarra River corridors

     appointed additional deputy municipal recovery managers

     reviewed and updated the disaster plan for animal management

     conducted risk assessments of council reserves with the CFA

     developed the Plenty Gorge Fire Management Plan with Banyule, Nillumbik and Whittlesea Councils, the CFA and Parks Victoria.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0005

Bass Coast Shire Council

The Bass Coast Shire Council:

     increased slashing of roadsides

     developed MECC SOPs

     developed relief centre operating procedures

     conducted MECC and relief centre exercise and debriefs.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0005

Baw Baw Shire Council

The Baw Baw Shire Council:

     supported fire prevention awareness activities in conjunction with Landcare and the CFA.

     appointed an environmental management officer to assist the public in preparing applications for vegetation removal

     reviewed bushfire-prone area boundaries.

In terms of emergency response preparedness the Baw Baw Shire Council:

     upgraded potential emergency relief centres, including the Longwarry Public Hall, Neerim South; Longwarry Bells Stadium, Rawson; and Exhibition Hall, Warragul

     entered into a MOU with facility owners to increase the range of services that can be delivered for emergency relief centres

     reviewed MECC facilities including prioritising improvements and sourcing funding

     reviewed the staff structure for emergency events response and recovery and allocated additional staff to these roles and developed a training program for new staff

     established an internal 2009–10 Bushfire Coordination Group to meet weekly

     liaised with DHS and aged care facilities to develop emergency management plans

     attended monthly meetings with the Gippsland Emergency Recovery Committee to discuss recovery and preparation for future emergencies

     participated in MECC exercises with the Bass Coast Shire Council

     conducted a MECC exercise with emergency response agencies

     arranged for environmental health officers to attend an EMA five day emergency management course.

In terms of roadside vegetation management, the Baw Baw Shire Council:

     applied the 10/30 rule. This involved the clearing of vegetation on public land adjoining dwellings and fence lines

     allocated an additional $160,000 to complete roadside vegetation clearance for secondary fuel breaks, and conducted further assessments of reported dangerous trees in fire-affected areas

     identified areas for roadside fuel-reduction burns and notified the CFA.

In terms of public information the Baw Baw Shire Council:

     publicised FireReady brochures, information about fire danger ratings, the fire hazard inspections program, the 10/30 rule and Red Cross REDiPlans

     developed a database of council contacts to distribute fire information from the CFA, police and other agencies in the MECC, to be passed on to communities

     supported the Labertouche website with information about fire preparedness and recovery

     distributed cards displaying the emergency hotline and bushfire information numbers.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0005 - 0006

Benalla Rural City Council

The Benalla Rural City Council:

     publicised information regarding the clearing of fire hazards and provided early clearing of hazards

     provided free green waste disposal to residents

     established systems to address the 10/30 rule

     liaised with the CFA to prepare vegetation and dwelling maps for risk assessment purposes

     provided water to all remote CFA water storage tanks and placed additional tanks and CFA fittings at all emergency drought water supply points

     improved telecommunications infrastructure in the MECC

     reviewed plant and associated funding requirements.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0006

Boroondara City Council

The Boroondara City Council:

     conducted a FireReady session, targeting residents that live near Yarra Bend Park

     published an article in the Boroondara Bulletin covering fire preparedness

     improved and tested the MECC

     prepared emergency relief centres for activation

     worked with other councils to develop regional responses to fire. Staff were trained in relief and recovery in conjunction with other councils

     liaised with the MFB and Parks Victoria concerning fire risks in the Yarra Bend Park

     reviewed team structures under the Emergency Management Group. This was done to ensure that there are appropriately trained staff and adequate resources to respond to emergencies

     developed plans for heatwaves and pandemics

     developed processes to contact vulnerable people on the Home and Community Care Register

     reviewed the thermal working conditions risk management policy for delivering meals on wheels on hot days

     reviewed a report regarding the adoption of the MAV protocol for inter–council emergency management resource sharing.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0006 – 0007

Buloke Shire Council

The Buloke Shire Council:

     published fire preparedness notices in local newspapers

     circulated fire preparedness information at community ‘fireshed’ meetings as part of the ‘Now Planning Ahead’ program

     revised the draft of the Roadside Management Plan and placed the draft revised Plan on public exhibition

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     acted on recommendations arising from an audit of the MECC

     established administrative arrangements for plant and staff resources required to be on standby for code red days.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0007

Campaspe Shire Council

The Campaspe Shire Council:

     formed a Community Fire Plan for Rushworth

     published information concerning emergency management in local newspapers

     consulted with the Rotary Club on emergency management

     reviewed Wildfire Management Overlay areas in consultation with the CFA, implemented changes via a Planning Scheme Amendment, and aligned the Bushfire-prone Areas under the Building Code of Australia with the WMOs under the Campaspe Planning Scheme

     implemented the land developer fire prevention program

     trialled and improved the MECC

     developed an Extreme Temperature Plan

     participated in DPI’s ‘Operation DIVA’ exercise and MAV forums on emergency management.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0007

Cardinia Shire Council

The Cardinia Shire Council:

     appointed a bushfire community engagement consultant

     developed a policy about wildfire preparation and vegetation management on private property

     reviewed the Roadside Management Plan

     trained staff for emergency relief centres

     updated the training plan for operational staff on bushfire awareness and integrated environmental management.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0007

Casey City Council

The Casey City Council:

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     provided free green waste disposal to residents

     installed extra telephone lines and wireless internet connections at the MECC.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0007

Central Goldfields Shire Council

The Central Goldfields Shire Council:

     published information on bushfire preparedness, CFA information and brochures

     implemented the Victorian Fire Risk Register

     conducted MECC awareness training for emergency and services agencies

     trained staff in bushfire awareness

     developed a new MECC and had a MECC set up for the entire bushfire season

     conducted sub-committee meeting of the Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee to address the Maryborough Education Centre Emergency Management Plan

     attended the Advancing Emergency Management in Local Government forum

     attended the Central Highlands Mayors and CEOs meeting with DSE and the CFA on fire preparedness.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0007 – 0008

Colac Otway Shire Council

The Colac Otway Shire Council:

     worked with community groups to develop a Community Fire Plan to ensure consistency of council information, messages and position

     consulted with the community of Forrest and Gellibrand, in partnership with DSE and the CFA, to create a Community Fire Plan

     publicised information about fire management and bushfire survival plans

     sourced funds for a back up generator for the MECC

     in collaboration with the CFA, established water supply points

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     developed a relief centre SOP, updating standards to meet new SES guidelines, training staff and central relief agencies

     along with other emergency services agencies, activated the MECC for a training exercise

     established a sub-committee of the Municipal Emergency Management Plan Committee to allow middle level members of key agencies to discuss issues at a municipal level

     attended forums with state and regional DHS officers regarding relocation and community engagement strategies in the recovery plan

     developed Community Emergency Management Plans and Community Fire Plans

     created a senior municipal emergency management coordinator role to oversee fire prevention processes, strategic fire planning and emergency management planning.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0008

Corangamite Shire Council

The Corangamite Shire Council:

     distributed newsletters and other media to residents and consulted with the CFA in developing locations for fire meetings

     adjusted policy so that new vegetation controls can be implemented on council land

     sourced funding for a new fire access track

     established MECC training and procedures, planning rosters for key MECC staff and identified staff for emergencies on code red days

     created a dedicated fire position role to implement findings from the Commission.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0008

East Gippsland Shire Council

The East Gippsland Shire Council:

     encouraged the establishment of Local Incident Management Plans

     revised WMOs, in consultation with the CFA, DSE and Parks Victoria

     implemented the Victorian Fire Risk Register

     in conjunction with the CFA, established the roadside heavy timber reduction strategy

     increased the slashing of roadsides

     implemented fuel-reduction burns in conjunction with DSE, the CFA and Parks Victoria

     provided pagers to emergency management staff

     trained staff in the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System, Incident Control System, emergency management and ERC courses

     agreed to MOUs with neighbouring councils for resources and staffing

     installed information screens at tourist information centres.

The East Gippsland Shire Council is auditing emergency relief centres and identifying those which require hardwiring for back up power. It is also considering the implementation of video conferencing screens between the incident control centre and the MECC.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0008 – 0009

Frankston City Council

The Frankston City Council:

     published FireReady information in local newspapers and distributed emergency management booklets to all residents

     provided free green waste disposal to residents

     conducted FireReady Victoria sessions

     implemented the 10/30 rule and prepared FAQs

     increased the slashing of roadside vegetation

     tested the MECC

     increased the number of Municipal Fire Prevention Committee meetings

     conducted fortnightly fire coordination meetings

     conducted patrols on council-managed reserves.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0009

Gannawarra Shire Council

The Gannawarra Shire Council:

     distributed notices relating to the 10/30 rule

     set up the MECC on all days rated catastrophic.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0009

Glenelg Shire Council

The Glenelg Shire Council:

     distributed newsletters concerning FireReady preparation and personal safety

     coordinated information sessions in conjunction with the CFA and Tourism Victoria for high risk areas

     published Guidelines for the preparation of land management plans to protect and enhance natural resources

     conducted risk assessments for farming and rural living, interface living, industry and state infrastructure, bush and parks.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0009

Golden Plains Shire Council

The Golden Plains Shire Council:

     distributed fire management FAQs

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     appointed a municipal emergency manager

     identified extra staff for emergency management

     conducted internal risk management assessments.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0009

Greater Bendigo City Council

The Greater Bendigo City Council:

     communicated with residents regarding bushfire awareness, FireReady and CFA messages, the 10/30 rule and open air burning

     promoted and attended CFA community FireReady meetings

     replanted vegetation on fire-affected land as a part of the Community Recovery Plan and implemented weed control

     trained additional staff for the MECC; reviewed the Emergency Management Operations Manual; and purchased additional electronic resources for use in the MECC

     trained and appointed staff members as deputy municipal emergency response officers

     trained staff in fireground safety and assisting firefighting operations

     participated in a Victoria Police MECC exercise in preparation for the bushfire season.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0009 – 0010

Greater Geelong City Council

The Greater Geelong City Council:

     published articles produced by the municipal fire prevention officer

     installed ‘In an Emergency Tune to 774AM’ boundary signs on the main roads

     adopted amendment C172 aligning WMOs with Bushfire-prone Areas

     reviewed strategic fire management roads and fire access tracks

     appointed an emergency management officer

     installed electronic equipment in the MECC

     trained staff about emergency management liaison officers, MECC administration support, emergency recovery and wildfire

     circulated an information kit for emergency management liaison officers and a communication strategy for emergency events

     appointed temporary full time positions to accelerate the Fire Prevention Unit hazard inspection program

     developed a community awareness program focusing on emergency management

     held an extraordinary MEMPC meeting about the Commission’s interim report recommendations and agency preparedness

     liaised with local volunteer resource centres about spontaneous volunteering.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0010

Hepburn Shire Council

The Hepburn Shire Council:

     publicised Fire Action Week, FireReady meeting dates, the ‘Time to Clean Up’ brochure, and issued bushfire awareness keyrings to tourist accommodation providers

     co-hosted Tourism Victoria bushfire information awareness sessions

     assisted aged and disability services staff to identify vulnerable residents and to develop bushfire plans

     funded Hepburn Relocalisation Network community bushfire awareness meetings

     reviewed the Municipal Strategic Statement proposed for 2010

     provided free green waste disposal to residents

     increased slashing in townships

     investigated emergency power requirements for the MECC and improved phone systems at the alternative MECC

     commenced staff training in SES emergency management and attended emergency simulations

     attended SES-led local emergency management meetings

     appointed coordinators, deputy recovery managers, emergency relief centre staff, a post impact assessment coordinator and assessors

     implemented a policy about code red warnings and employees in relation to all council offices and worksites on code red days

     resolved to conduct weekly cross-portfolio fire preparedness staff meetings.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0010 – 0011

Horsham Rural City Council

The Horsham Rural City Council:

     conducted a ‘Living with Fire’ Expo in partnership with the CFA and other agencies

     increased slashing of roadsides

     participated in a training exercise—‘Operation Relationship’—in which the incident control centre, MECC and relief centre were opened.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0011

Hume City Council

The Hume City Council:

     published articles in the Leader Newspaper and the Hume Pride Magazine

     conducted community awareness meetings

     increased slashing on roadsides

     hosted IEM training courses through the SES

     reviewed emergency relief centres in light of guidance notes

     liaised with other councils to conduct shared emergency relief centre training

     revised relief centre SOPs.

The Hume City Council attended the:

     DHS bushfire preparedness workshop

     Fawkner Divisional Emergency Response Planning Committee meeting

     Gisborne incident control centre workshop

     emergency management awareness sessions

     DEECD regarding pre-emptive closure of schools and early childhood services.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0011

Indigo Shire Council

The Indigo Shire Council:

     developed and distributed a bushfire information pack to all residents

     held green waste disposal days

     published information in the Indigo Informer Newsletter

     introduced a WMO

     increased the slashing of roadside vegetation

     implemented a community strengthening project

     inspected township areas for roadside fuel-reduction burning.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0011

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council:

     developed a communications strategy in line with the CFA’s key messages

     published information on bushfire preparedness

     developed a heatwave strategy campaign

     developed bushland signage to be displayed during fire prevention works

     reduced fees for removal permits

     reviewed Bushfire-prone Area boundaries

     distributed a letter to residents providing advice about the removal of the need for a permit to burn off on appropriate days, and distributed letters regarding residents’ responsibilities

     increased slashing of roadsides and reserves

     trained staff for the MECC and operated a mock MECC

     created a Bushfire Preparedness Project Working Group that meets fortnightly

     developed processes that enable the deployment of staff to neighbouring councils

     conducted a Knox City Council Emergency Management Awareness Day

     developed a policy regarding extreme and severe fire danger rating days

     participated in the DHS review of at risk community members

     convened an extraordinary bushfire preparedness meeting of MEMPC.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0011 – 0012

Macedon Ranges Shire Council

The Macedon Ranges Shire Council:

     in partnership with the CFA, published bushfire preparedness information in council newsletters and local newspapers

     audited at risk Home and Community Care clients to assist in developing and recording emergency plans

     provided bushfire vehicle safety kits to HACC direct care workers

     trained HACC staff in bushfire awareness

     used the Australian Red Cross REDiPlan to aid seniors in making plans and established a seniors forum for bushfire preparedness and emergency planning

     met with schools and aged care providers to present information about emergency planning and preparedness. This was done in partnership with the CFA, Victoria Police and other agencies where relevant. The Council also conducted a forum for business and tourism operators in conjunction with Tourism Victoria and the CFA

     distributed information regarding emergency management to parents and carers using REDiPlan. Fire danger ratings are displayed in council children’s services facilities

     upgraded fire access tracks under the fire access road subsidy scheme

     installed generator power outlets at the Gisborne MECC

     trained staff in relief centre exercises, MECC exercises, and emergency management

     consulted with local disability services regarding the needs of disabled people and considered an additional relief centre

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0012

Macedon Ranges Shire Councilcontinued

     redirected resources into a dedicated bushfire planning and preparation team

     developed a policy to close various council facilities and services on code red days

     formed the Business Continuity Committee, Macedon Ranges Shire Council Organisational Plan for Fire Danger Days and considered staff availability for code red or extreme days

     developed detailed procedures for emergency relief centres in relation to staffing and roles

     developed ‘hot day out centres’—venues opened on code red and extreme days for people with limited options for relocation when leaving early (in partnership with the Victorian Council of Churches)

     liaised with DEECD regarding potential school closures in high risk areas.

 

Manningham City Council

The Manningham City Council:

     prepared and implemented a bushfire strategic communications plan

     attended the Warrandyte Fire Expo to provide information on fire prevention and the 10/30 rule

     commenced publication of a bi-monthly newsletter and articles in the local newspaper regarding bushfire preparedness

     distributed ‘Bushfire Checklist and Tips for Preparing your Property’ to 300 high risk properties

     conducted a public seminar on ‘Improving Urban Design for Bushfire Defence’

     conducted a geographical information system fire mapping project with the CSIRO and reviewed WMO boundaries and local planning policy

     produced a geographical information system map to define exemptions to the 10/30 rule

     consulted with Parks Victoria to install a 100,000 litre water tank at Haslams Track

     increased the slashing of roadside vegetation

     implemented the Wildfire Prevention Preparedness Plan for major reserves

     consulted with the CFA about improved access during bushfires, vegetation clearance and turning areas

     identified an additional emergency relief centre

     reviewed MECC operation and recruiting, and investigated an emergency power supply for the MECC

     created a municipal emergency management coordinator role to expedite emergency planning and preparedness and strengthen resourcing and recovery roles

     considered the operation of community facilities on code red days and developed a human resources policy to limit council activities in high bushfire risk areas on code red days

     implemented the Victorian Fire Risk Register

     provided free green waste disposal to residents

     expedited a 24-hour turn-around of complaints regarding fire hazards on private land

     consulted with Victoria Police regarding improved Yarra River access in emergencies.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0012 – 0013

Mansfield Shire Council

The Mansfield Shire Council:

     published flyers and fire notices

     introduced a WMO

     produced a draft Roadside Conservation Plan

     upgraded the power supply of the MECC and council offices

     increased the slashing of roadside vegetation

     practiced MECC operations and appointed new officers to the MECC

     provided free green waste disposal to residents

     waived the requirement for a permit to burn in built up areas

     installed a fire indicator sign in conjunction with MAV.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0013

Melton Shire Council

The Melton Shire Council:

     developed a communications plan to educate about early warnings and alerts, distributed Prepare. Act. Survive. literature and stickers, and published feature articles in the council newsletter

     upgraded fire access tracks

     hosted emergency management training and awareness campaigns

     established minimum requirements associated with various levels of the fire danger ratings

     appointed a full time emergency management officer

     upgraded the MECC, including improvements to IT, phones and layout, and resolved to conduct MECC training exercises.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0013 – 0014

Mitchell Shire Council

The Mitchell Shire Council:

     implemented the 10/30 rule and the 4 metre rule

     installed static water tanks, upgraded fire plugs and replaced/built bridges to improve access to fire tracks

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     improved communications at the MECC.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0014

Moira Shire Council

The Moira Shire Council:

     provided emergency management officers to the community, schools and other interested groups for fire preparedness and planning

     implemented a scheme to provide information to tourists. This campaign involved emphasising FireReady principles, publishing flyers and a visitors’ book to encourage tourists to register their location and details of intended stay

     built strategic CFA water filling points

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation and the grading of roads

     trained approximately 40 additional staff in emergency management

     provided accommodation at the council’s offices for a CFA liaison officer.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0014

Moorabool Shire Council

The Moorabool Shire Council:

     published information on bushfire preparedness in community newsletters, FireReady kits and fire danger rating barometer brochures. The council has also established a fire preparedness page on its website

     attended FireReady community meetings and made presentations

     reviewed WMOs, with the mapping placed on public exhibition

     provided additional funding for 40 new council fire access tracks

     resolved to open respite centres on severe, extreme and catastrophic days.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0014

Mount Alexander Shire Council

The Mount Alexander Shire Council:

     trained staff and direct care workers to ensure consistent distribution of information about bushfire preparedness and personal emergency management plans

     published bushfire information in public spaces and via local radio

     hosted forums on preparing personal emergency management plans

     reduced roadside fire fuel, enhancing township protection and improving access/egress roads

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     trained HACC staff in conjunction with the Red Cross for operations on code red days

     appointed focused community development officers

     audited possible relief centres.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0014 – 0015

Moyne Shire Council

The Moyne Shire Council:

     published FireReady information in brochures and local newspapers

     installed new water tanks at waste facilities

     established water supply dams

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     developed a draft SOP for the MECC and produced a roster

     implemented the Victorian Fire Risk Register

     developed draft procedures for council activities on code red days

     upgraded fire hazard inspection equipment and software

     developed a fire management program for waste facilities.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0015

Murrindindi Shire Council

The Murrindindi Shire Council:

     appointed a municipal recovery manager, deputy manager and deputy MERO

     improved amenities and administrative procedures in the MECC

     installed 35,000 litre static water tanks

     reviewed the recovery manual and development handbook for managers of the emergency relief centre

     implemented regular meetings with neighbouring councils.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0015

Nillumbik Shire Council

The Nillumbik Shire Council:

     mailed residents regarding the Township Protection Plan, including fridge magnets

     provided information to residents regarding land owners’ responsibilities and distributed the FireReady kit

     conducted tours with residents in high fire danger areas in the Plenty Gorge

     installed new fire danger rating signage supplied by the OESC

     distributed packages communicating works on roadsides, including the issuing of 4,200 new permits for the removal of roadside logs and branches

     participated in a multi-agency exercise in Plenty Gorge

     assessed the ability to deploy staff into rural parts of the shire on days of high fire risk

     participated in sub-committees chaired by DSE focusing on water, sub-catchment and vegetation, and participated in the National Environment Regional Taskforce

     engaged fire behaviour specialists to assess reserves

     recruited and trained additional MECC staff.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0015 – 0016

Northern Grampians Shire Council

The Northern Grampians Shire Council:

     distributed information packs about amendments to vegetation legislation

     conducted meetings for at risk members of the community by the HACC coordinator

     increased the slashing and spraying of roadside vegetation.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0016

Pyrenees Shire Council

The Pyrenees Shire Council:

     made available Prepare. Act. Survive. booklets at council outlets

     published bushfire preparedness articles in local newspapers

     assessed risks as part of the Victorian Fire Risk Register rollout

     implemented the community emergency management champions.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0016

Queenscliffe Borough Council

The Queenscliffe Borough Council:

     distributed fire prevention brochures

     facilitated the creation of Personal Emergency Plans for vulnerable persons

     removed vegetation around Point Lonsdale to provide for 4x4 clearance

     appointed a project officer to review MECC procedures and emergency relief centres.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0016

South Gippsland Shire Council

The South Gippsland Shire Council:

     distributed information brochures

     conducted a Bushfire Awareness Expo and a Wellbeing Expo focusing on fire preparedness

     installed static water supply tanks

     committed to work on Baths Road Reserve, Mirboo North, to improve access/egress

     purchased new furniture for the MECC, upgraded electronic communications and developed portable kits containing equipment required to establish an emergency relief centre

     trained staff in IEM, relief and recovery, incident control and fireground access

     implemented the Victorian Fire Risk Register

     appointed a municipal emergency manager

     resolved to increase the frequency of MEMPC meetings.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0016

Southern Grampians Shire Council

The Southern Grampians Shire Council:

     prepared emergency plans for HACC clients

     provided free green waste disposal to residents

     increased slashing of roadside vegetation

     introduced a WMO

     implemented tanks of the Rocklands to Cavendish, and Casterton to Coleraine, Pipelines.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0016

Stonnington City Council

The Stonnington City Council has published information about bushfire preparedness via its website. It is targeted at residents owning properties within other municipalities more likely to be affected by bushfires.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0017

Strathbogie Shire Council

The Strathbogie Shire Council:

     distributed a fire preparedness sheet to all households and businesses, together with an information card with fire ratings, contact numbers, website and radio stations, and fridge magnets. It was available in large format for older citizens

     conducted MECC exercises.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0017

Surf Coast Shire Council

The Surf Coast Shire Council:

     distributed the Prepare. Act. Survive. brochure to all ratepayers and to Melbourne municipalities where holiday homeowners reside

     conducted ‘Fire Jam’, a music, environment and bushfire awareness event as part of FireReady Week

     introduced the MAV Application to Modify Vegetation on Council Reserves (10/30 rule and 4 metre boundary rule) and advised residents

     reviewed vegetation planting plans and programs

     reviewed all emergency relief centres, made enhancements to access systems for centres, and nominated preferred centres with potential to accommodate pets and animals

     reviewed the Great Ocean Road Traffic Management Plan and established a sub-committee of the MEMPC

     installed ‘In case of emergency tune to 774AM’ and ‘National Fire Danger Index’ signs

     implemented the Victorian Fire Risk Register

     appointed assistant community fire safety and environment officers

     implemented the Weeds to Mulch program

     provided free green waste disposal to residents

     provided HACC assistance to clients and developed plans for code red days

     developed a Business Continuity Plan, Code Red Fire Danger Index Plan and Heatwave Plan.

The Surf Coast Shire Council conducted additional meetings of the following bodies:

     MEMPC

     The Township Integrated Fire Management Planning Committee

     The Region 2 Division 2 Victoria Police Divisional Emergency Management Planning Committee and the R2D2 Emergency Management Recovery Committee

     The Community Safety and Inclusion Project Steering Committee.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0017

Swan Hill Rural City Council

The Swan Hill Rural City Council:

     published newspaper articles and pamphlets with local CFA representatives

     upgraded fire access roads under the fire access road subsidy scheme

     relocated the MECC, in conjunction with Victoria Police, the SES and the CFA

     trained extra staff as fire prevention officers.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0017

Towong Shire Council

The Towong Shire Council:

     conducted additional track work through the CFA fire access road subsidy scheme

     upgraded the MECC, including installing hard wired auxiliary power, a generator and an overhead projector.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0017

Wangaratta Rural City Council

The Wangaratta Rural City Council: developed a relief centre plan.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0017.

Wellington Shire Council

The Wellington Shire Council:

     implemented a policy to make it easier for residents to comply with fire prevention notices

     attended fire awareness days

     increased the slashing of roadside vegetation

     published a communication strategy for the 2009–10 bushfire season for the public and media.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0017 - 0018

West Wimmera Shire Council

The West Wimmera Shire Council:

     increased slashing and mulching

     trained the recovery management team

     reviewed relief centre locations

     upgraded the MECC to provide for emergency back up power.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0018

Whittlesea City Council

The Whittlesea City Council:

     increased the number of community fire information briefings

     published fire information at the Whittlesea Show and in weekly articles in local newspapers

     formed a roadside risk assessment team

     trained staff in road management, general emergency management, response, personal support and SES emergency management

     upgraded and dedicated response teams to the MECC and relief centres

     participated in the multi-agency exercise for the Plenty Gorge Parkland. The exercise also involved the Shire of Nillumbik, the CFA, Victoria Police, Parks Victoria and DSE

     appointed a municipal emergency management coordinator and made other appointments for specific tasks.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0018

Wodonga City Council

The Wodonga City Council:

     formed a list of vulnerable persons/groups

     reviewed operation of the Wodonga Retained Environment Networks to balance native vegetation law and fire prevention requirements

     implemented new fire/fuel-reduction requirements for stock use.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0018

Wyndham City Council

The Wyndham City Council:

     distributed Prepare. Act. Survive. brochures and stickers

     identified vulnerable groups and supported fire preparedness with these groups

     coordinated bush/grass fire awareness sessions

     implemented exemptions from the need for a permit to remove vegetation in close proximity to a dwelling

     conducted flora and fauna studies to determine whether existing vegetation should be preserved or removed once development takes place

     implemented projects to enhance the emergency relief centre activation plan and management plan, and provided detailed resource kits to each potential centre

     audited potential relief centre sites in line with the Guidance Note

     enhanced the MECC with new phones and laptops.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0018 - 0019

Yarra Ranges Shire Council

The Yarra Ranges Shire Council:

     conducted an Emergency Safety Expo

     installed new ‘Fire and Safety’ signage

     developed a bushfire preparedness communications strategy

     developed a strategy for firewood collection from roadsides

     installed and upgraded a fire hydrant, tanks and emergency fire access roads

     supported early warning systems

     reviewed the roadside slashing and fuel-reduction program. This included allocating additional funds for the roadside fuel-reduction program and fuel-reduction on roadsides within Township Protection Areas

     reviewed the use and operation of fire access roads

     developed a new regional model for emergency relief centre arrangements

     trained staff in AIIMS and ERC

     conducted emergency exercises to test MECC operation

     implemented a restructure of the MECC, including IT infrastructure

     established operational field staff in key emergency management roles in relief centres

     developed a key strategy for activation of relief centres on high fire risk days and total fire ban days

     recruited staff to key emergency management roles in relief centres

     reviewed protocols and policies relating to arrangements and response activities

     dedicated a senior and administrative team to bushfire preparedness activities.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0019

Yarriambiack Shire Council

The Yarriambiack Shire Council:

     promoted awareness about vegetation removal around dwellings and fence lines

     installed 60, 25,000 litre water tanks for firefighting purposes

     increased slashing and spraying of roadside vegetation

     trained staff in emergency relief centre management.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0019

Recovery

MAV

MAV conducted research on response, clean-up and rebuilding in respect of previous bushfires in Victoria and other Australian states to inform its response. This included advocating for a comprehensive clean-up response coordinated by the State.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV developed a spreadsheet that listed common issues and concerns for all bushfire-affected councils as well as those specific to individual councils.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV consulted with VBRRA and other relevant government agencies on issues for councils.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV enhanced the MAV Inter-Council Emergency Management Resource Sharing Protocol.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV established a resource register of about 1,000 local government staff and resources and coordinated the deployment of more than 250 staff to bushfire-affected councils.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV provided operational support to councils following the fires.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

The MAV Local Government Bushfire Recovery Fund was established to assist critically affected councils with their recovery.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV worked with DPCD to coordinate and centralise data collection about bushfire-affected properties.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV assisted the Australian Defence Force, DHS, the Office of Housing, DSE, Victoria Police, the CFA and the OESC to develop a risk assessment for emergency staff, volunteers and members of the public in bushfire-affected areas, and to address issues related to safe site access.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV assisted councils and key stakeholders to ensure that site inspections are coordinated to include environmental, arborist and building representation.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV advised councils in relation to Emergency Orders and accessing the State’s coordinated clean-up program.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV worked with DHS to ensure integration of community service hubs with established response activities, including council operated centres.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV worked with DPCD and councils regarding the development of amendments to Victoria’s Planning Scheme to exempt various activities in bushfire-affected areas from the requirement to obtain a permit.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0001

MAV

MAV established the Bushfire Affected Councils Planning Directors’ Forum to identify common planning or building issues arising in recovery or rebuilding, and develop a consistent approach.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV participated in the Built Environment Bushfire Support Roundtable to coordinate an effective response across industry groups and governments.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV coordinated queries from councils about clearing and disposing rubble from damaged buildings. This included managing the volume of inspections required, legal access to the sites, requirements for handling potentially hazardous materials, access to technical expertise, and information and guidance to support safe return to a site and the likely approval process.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV worked with the Building Commission, the Plumbing Industry Commission, DPCD and the Office of Housing to develop a Guide for Safe Return to Your Property for bushfire-affected property owners and occupiers.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV worked with the Building Commission, the building industry and local government to address various issues arising from amendments to the Building Regulations 2006.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV participated in a meeting of the Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group, the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, the Building Commission and others to provide advice to municipal building surveyors about building safety and rebuilding issues.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV consulted with DHS and participated in the Victorian Psychosocial Recovery Plan Advisory Group and the Victorian Bushfire Case Management Coordination Committee regarding state recovery planning, psychosocial planning, case management, community service hubs and the community development officer program.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV convened a Bushfire Affected Councils Workshop in July 2009 for the mayors and CEOs of bushfire-affected councils.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV coordinated a relief centre debrief session in May 2009 with DHS, SES and bushfire affected councils to share learnings. It participated in the subsequent working group and steering committee with DHS, SES, the MEMEG, Victoria Police and the Red Cross, concerning emergency relief centre management.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0002

MAV

MAV participated in the following committees and working groups:

     Fire Affected Councils Planning Directors’ meetings

     Victorian Bushfire Case Management Coordination Committee

     VBRRA Statewide Plan Implementation Group

     VBRRA Inter-Agency Taskforce (ceased)

     VBRRA Expert Reference Group

     Bushfire Data Inter-Departmental Committee

     Community Recovery Fund—working group

     Community Recovery Fund—panel

     Joint Logistics Group

     Bereaved Community Recovery and Memorials Projects Committee

     Victorian Emergency Management Council Coordination Group

     State Emergency Management Team

     State Coordination and Management Council

     State Natural and Built Recovery Planning Sub-Committee

     vegetation removal on strategic roadsides

     CFA Household Assessment Tool

     Bushfire preparedness week—working group (ceased)

     Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Tracking Working Group

     Schools and early childhood services bushfire preparedness.

Exhibit 987 – Schedule One MAV Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0001) at 0003–0004

Alpine Shire Council

The Alpine Shire Council managed recovery in the Mudgegonga, Barwidgee, Dederang and Rosewhite areas. This included holding community meetings, dealing with fence replacement, silting of dams, dangerous tree removal, social matters and producing community newsletters.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0005

Corangamite Shire Council

The Corangamite Shire Council developed plans to aid recovery in relation to the Pomborneit fire.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0008

Golden Plains Shire Council

The Golden Plains Shire Council established a Municipal Recovery Planning Committee and a Post Impact Assessment Committee.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0009

Greater Bendigo City Council

The Greater Bendigo City Council has:

     formed the Community Recovery Committee and developed a strategic framework for fire recovery. The Committee comprises the City of Greater Bendigo, DHS, and Centrelink

     established an Assistance Centre in Long Gully for counselling services

     formed a Community Reference Group to determine direction for recovery

     developed a Community Recovery Plan to identify needs and ideas

     conducted community forums in relation to recovery, rebuilding and fire preparation.

The State has also appointed a DHS community development officer as a fire recovery coordinator to assist the Community Recovery Committee in the recovery process.

 

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0009 – 0010

Horsham Rural City Council

The Horsham Rural City Council has:

     reviewed post impact assessments and MOUs

     appointed an emergency recovery planning officer

     mapped emergency fire tank locations and ground bore positions for distribution to agencies.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0011

Indigo Shire Council

The Indigo Shire Council has developed community recovery plans for Bruarong and Stanley.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0011

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council has:

     reviewed emergency relief centres, in partnership with neighbouring councils under the SES Relief Centre Guidelines

     developed relocation arrangements to complement the relief and recovery arrangements

     supported residents affected by the Quarry Road fire in Ferntree Gully. This included site management after the fire, felling of dangerous trees and inspecting fire-affected homes.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0011 - 0012

Mitchell Shire Council

The Mitchell Shire Council has:

     appointed bushfire recovery officers and a bushfire volunteer support community development officer

     arranged supplies for recovery and relief centres

     formed community advisory groups and a community recovery committee.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0014

Mount Alexander Shire Council

The Mount Alexander Shire Council has:

     developed a community recovery committee and four sub-committees

     commenced publication of a bi-weekly community newsletter for the recovery effort

     evaluated the response to Black Saturday, relief centres and the recovery process

     liaised with state government agencies about the Redesdale fire recovery

     trained staff in emergency response and recovery responsibilities, MECC operation and emergency management.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0014 – 0015

Murrindindi Shire Council

The Murrindindi Shire Council has:

     audited relief centre venues

     appointed new recovery and relief team members

     liaised with state government agencies about community recovery and reconstruction.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0015

Nillumbik Shire Council

The Nillumbik Shire Council has:

     implemented a SMS service for use by the Community Recovery Committees

     hosted community fireguard forums to share experiences from Black Saturday

     published: weekly and fortnightly community bulletins about the rebuilding process, community events and Community Recovery Committees; VBRRA news; fact sheets regarding legislative change to vegetation removal; and Getting Ready

     adopted standard operating procedures for relief centres, completed an audit of relief centres, and consulted with other councils about sharing resources.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0015 - 0016

South Gippsland Shire Council

The South Gippsland Shire Council has participated in various forums for recovery and response, and the recovery committee with Parks Victoria, DPCD, VBRRA and Regional Development Victoria.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0016

Southern Grampians Shire Council

The Southern Grampians Shire Council has:

     established a community recovery committee to oversee the recovery of the Coleraine fires

     liaised with the Coleraine RSL and re-established the avenue of honour that was destroyed in the Coleraine fire.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0016

Wellington Shire Council

The Wellington Shire Council has:

     established community recovery committees

     trained additional staff in relief centre operation

     audited relief centre facilities

     provided housing recovery teams and case workers

     provided a training venue for relief centre staff

     recruited emergency staff.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0017 - 0018

Whittlesea City Council

The Whittlesea City Council has:

     assisted residents to fast track recovery by obtaining planning and building permits

     restored bridges destroyed in the Black Saturday fires

     inspected Fire Access Tracks, carried out remedial works and replaced burnt signage

     installed additional and replacement water tanks.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0018

Yarra Ranges Shire Council

The Yarra Ranges Shire Council published a bushfire recovery newsletter and weekly press release on bushfire preparedness.

Exhibit 988 – Schedule Two Council Initiatives (DOC.MAV.003.0005) at 0019


This table groups the initiatives that the Municipal Association of Victoria and local governments have implemented since 7 February 2009 on the basis of whether those initiatives are directed at bushfire preparedness, response, or recovery. In some cases the MAV and local government initiatives are relevant to more than one of those categories. To avoid repetition bushfire preparedness and response have been grouped together.

 

 

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