The Victorian emergency management sector has undergone significant reform in the 10 years since the 2009 Victorian bushfires.
Much of this reform has been guided by major reviews including the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, the Review of 2010–11 Flood Warnings and Response, and the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry.
The Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) considered that the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires presented an opportunity to consider whether the significant program of reforms introduced since 2009 are effective in supporting Victorians to become safer and more resilient.
Over an 18-month period, IGEM examined emergency management reform through five key themes:
- capacity and capability
- community engagement and preparedness
- rebuilding and recovery
- safety and resilience.
Through the review, IGEM found that many aspects of the sector are significantly improved since 2009. The creation of new enabling legislation, bringing with it the establishment of Emergency Management Victoria, the Emergency Management Commissioner, and the Inspector-General for Emergency Management have been pivotal.
In its report, IGEM makes eight observations, 33 findings, and five recommendations identifying good practice and opportunities for continuous improvement.
The recommendations relate to the critical areas of risk management, community information, recovery, outcomes frameworks, and capability and capacity.