Victorian Emergency Management Reform

The Victorian Government is undertaking major reform to the State's crisis and emergency management arrangements to create a more disaster resilient and safer Victoria.

Victoria's emergency services are among the best in the world, but like many places, Victoria will continue to face significant emergency risks. Victoria needs a modern 'all-hazards' (both natural and man-made) emergency management system to better prepare us for the future.

The Government's White Paper on Victorian Emergency Management Reform provides a 'road map' for emergency management reform over the next ten years that will result in more resilient and safer communities.

This is a long-term commitment that will require sustained effort as well as cultural and behavioural change from the Government, emergency service agencies and the Victorian community.

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

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Building disaster resilient communities: case studies

"A disaster resilient community is one where.... people work together with local leaders using their knowledge and resources to prepare for and deal with disasters. They use personal and community strengths, and existing community networks and structures; a resilient community is enabled by strong social networks that offer support to individuals and families in a time of crisis."
(National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, page 5)

One of the key message from recent disaster enquiries is that communities are seeking greater involvement in preparing for disasters. Communities have local knowledge about the risks they live with, and together with emergency services, want to develop actions that will focus on planning for events that may have a direct impact on them.

Developing community resilience to disasters is not a "top down" government program. As the White Paper makes clear, a key to this is "peer to peer" learning: that is communities learning from each other rather than from an abstract handbook.

We must also not forget that there are many different types of communities, including "communities of place" which are in a specific geographic location; and "communities of interest" which include people linked by belief or common interest.

DPC has prepared four case studies by talking to a number of communities about what they are doing themselves. They illustrate how communities have, for many years, built their own resilience and developed their own plans that suit their own needs. This approach is at the heart of the resilience approach to managing emergencies.

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Need more information?

The Final Report of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission is available at www.royalcommission.vic.gov.au

The Final Report of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response is available at the Victorian Flood Review website www.floodsreview.vic.gov.au

The Fire Services Reform Action Plan is available at www.emv.vic.gov.au

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Last updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014