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Priority 3

Planning and building for the future

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and other recent reviews into Victoria’s fire services have made it clear that the existing structures that support our firefighters are outdated and that these structures need to modernise.

“Their Governance arrangements and governing legislation hail from an earlier era and support a rigid organisational approach rather than a sector-wide one.”Fire Services Review

A key recommendation from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was that the state should appoint a Commissioner with responsibility for providing periodic advice on the boundary between CFA and MFB. This recommendation was accepted by the then Government, and legislation to establish the Commissioner passed in 2010.

In 2014, this position evolved into EMV, and the EM Commissioner, who have since played an important role modernising Victoria’s emergency services and improving the way that they work together. This role will continue, and the work of EMV will be complemented by the initiatives outlined in this Statement.

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s Recommendation 63 will be implemented through the establishment of the independent Fire District Review Panel.

Any future changes to areas covered by Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and CFA will be determined by this independent panel.

Periodic reviews will be undertaken by the Fire District Review Panel in consultation with affected groups. Future changes will be based on expert demand modelling and objective criteria that reflect emerging risks and changes to our population and environment.

This reform will ensure that our fire services adapt in line with our state and that Victorians can rely on a service that is modern and responsive to local needs, regardless of their location.

Further work is also required to make sure that all of Victoria’s fire services have modern, safe and appropriate facilities. The Emergency Services Infrastructure Authority (ESIA) will be established and tasked to ensure that Victoria’s emergency infrastructure remains world class.

ESIA will bring together project management and procurement expertise to better support the connectedness of our fire services and other emergency services. ESIA will ensure more effective and efficient planning and delivery of new infrastructure.

The Government will invest $12 million in 2017–18 to establish and operate ESIA for its first four years.

ESIA will be responsible for delivering built infrastructure for CFA, FRV and other emergency services. One of its first tasks will be to work with CFA to plan for and deliver projects under a new $44 million CFA station building program.

This will include any upgrades required at stations where CFA volunteers and FRV services are co-located, as well as upgrades and rebuilding of volunteer stations across the state.

The staging of ESIA’s establishment will be the subject of consultation with Victoria State Emergency Service, Life Saving Victoria, FRV, CFA and representatives of volunteers and staff.

Any costs in implementing fire services reforms will not be met through the Fire Services Property Levy. In addition, the Government will ensure that the total amount collected for the levy for the next two years (2017/18 and 2018/19) will not exceed the amount collected in 2016/17.

Last updated: May 18, 2017

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