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Victorian Government Proposes Reforms To Emergency Management

The Victorian Government has proposed major reforms to Emergency Management services and procedures.

The Premier, Ted Baillieu, and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Peter Ryan, today released a white paper and spoke at a press conference on the proposed changes.

The White Paper is shown below.

  • Listen to the Baillieu/Ryan press conference (38m)

Text of a media release from the Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu.

Coalition Government unveils vision for Emergency Management

The Victorian Coalition Government has today unveiled its vision for the future of emergency management in the state.

Premier Ted Baillieu and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Peter Ryan released the Emergency Management White paper, which flags the biggest reform the sector has seen in three decades.

Mr Baillieu said Victoria had faced flood, fire, heatwaves and other emergencies over the past five years and it was time to act on the lessons learned.

“Victoria has one of the best emergency services in the world. Staff and volunteers do a tremendous job responding to serious challenges and emergencies,” Mr Baillieu said.

“However, the time has come to modernise and streamline our emergency management to ensure the state can provide the best response possible to emergencies into the future.”

Mr Ryan said the major overhaul of emergency management was the first since 1986 and would help to create a more sustainable and efficient system.

“The reforms will move the sector towards a genuine all-hazards, all agencies approach and improve emergency management, with a strong emphasis on risk mitigation,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said the changes would include:

  • A new overarching emergency management body, Emergency Management Victoria, which will make sure agencies and departments plan and work together as well as share resources before, during and after an emergency. For the first time, one agency will oversee response and management for natural disasters and emergencies from preparation right through to community recovery;
  • The creation of an Emergency Management Commissioner, who will assume the operational responsibilities of the current Fire Services Commissioner and oversee control arrangements for fire, flood and other emergencies;
  • The establishment of a State Crisis and Resilience Council as the Government’s peak body responsible for developing and co-ordinating emergency management policy and strategy and overseeing its implementation;
  • Reducing more than forty government committees involved in emergency management down to four;
  • A volunteer consultative committee called the Volunteer Consultative Forum to give volunteers direct input into the reform process; and
  • The statutory role of Inspector General for Emergency Management will be established to review and monitor performance of Victoria’s emergency management arrangements.

Mr Ryan thanked staff in Victoria’s emergency services organisations and the thousands of volunteers who respond to all types of emergencies across the state.

“Volunteer participation in Victoria’s emergency management is a major strength of our system and needs to be acknowledged, encouraged, and enhanced,” Mr Ryan said.

Victoria’s current emergency management arrangements will continue to operate over the coming months with transition to the new arrangements commencing in 2013.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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