Since the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, progress has been made under successive governments.
Reflecting the Commission’s recommendations, Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) was established under the leadership of the Emergency Management Commissioner. EMV has responsibility for coordinating the preparation and response to major emergencies.
Its role includes developing procedures so that Victorian emergency services work seamlessly together in responding to incidents. EMV also has responsibility for providing timely emergency information to communities across the state.
EMV has played a key role in improving the way our fire services work together. Areas of progress in recent years include a MFB/CFA secondment program, a joint recruit course for career firefighters, and the standardisation of equipment.
The Government has also made significant investments in CFA, so that it can meet the needs of its communities. Services for Melbourne’s outer suburbs and major regional centres are currently being strengthened through the recruitment of an extra 450 career firefighters and the rollout of the Emergency Medical Response program. The number of CFA career firefighters has also doubled to more than 1,000 since Black Saturday.
Tens of millions of dollars have been provided to our CFA volunteers with funding for more than 100 new trucks for CFA volunteer brigades since 2015. The Government has also invested in equipment and station upgrades, as well as delivering a new regional training ground for firefighters in Ballan and upgrading the Huntly training facility.
Bushfire preparedness and management has been a major focus of recent progress. Safer Together, released in November 2015, provides a coordinated whole-of-government approach that has transformed bushfire management in Victoria.
The Victorian State Budget 2017/18 included $273.3 million to further implement Safer Together initiatives. Through Safer Together, all fire services will work together in a state-wide approach to undertake more risk planning, bushfire mitigation, targeted fuel management, and a new community-based bushfire management model.
There has been a renewed focus on firefighter safety, wellbeing and culture. The Government is acting on every recommendation from the Inquiry into CFA Training College at Fiskville, including improving accountability for the health and safety of firefighters.
EMV has also developed a framework to increase diversity and inclusion in the sector. And since 2016, the CFA Policy and Performance Consultative Committee has brought career and volunteer firefighters together with management and the Government.
While progress has been made, more needs to be done to fully deliver on the recommendations of the 2009 Bushfires Royal Commission and other recent reviews to keep Victoria safe.
The Fire Services Statement outlines the next steps in reforming Victoria’s fire services.
Key developments since 2009
- Establishment of the Emergency Management Act 2013.
- Establishment of EMV.
- Improved connections between our fire services – CFA/MFB secondment program and a joint CFA/MFB firefighter recruit course.
- Investing in CFA – 350 more career firefighters, more than 100 trucks for volunteer brigades, plus station and facility upgrades.
- 100 additional MFB career firefighters.
- Safer Together – $273.3 million for bushfire preparedness and mitigation.
- Action in response to the Inquiry into CFA Training College at Fiskville – $80.7 million to audit and repair CFA training facilities, plus $46.2 million to establish a new firefighting training centre in Ballan, and upgrade the training facility at Huntly.
Last updated: May 18, 2017