Thank you for your participation

The Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) thanks all those who contributed their ideas and experiences to help inform the scope of this review.

Your comments, alongside feedback from the emergency management sector, have informed the decision to evaluate five themes in the review '10 years of reform in Victoria’s emergency management sector'.


Over the last decade there have been many changes to Victoria's emergency management arrangements.

Independent inquiries and reviews following significant Victorian emergencies including the devastating 2009 bushfires, the 2010-11 floods, the 2014 Hazelwood Coal Mine fire and 2016 thunderstorm asthma event have aimed to improve the way we prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies such as bushfire, flood, storm and heatwave.

For example, Victoria takes an ‘all hazards, all communities’ approach to emergency management. This approach places greater emphasis on building community resilience; improving coordination and cooperation between agencies; providing clear and timely warnings and information; and offering tailored and inclusive services for all Victorians.

It is now worth reviewing if our emergency management arrangements are bringing better outcomes for Victorians – before, during and after emergencies.

IGEM is conducting a broad review of emergency management reform to be completed by December 2019.

This significant review is being conducted over an 18-month period. It will involve a range of opportunities for individuals, organisations and emergency management agencies to share their insights and experiences.

Ultimately, the review will allow us to understand if Victoria’s emergency management arrangements are bringing better outcomes for our communities.

Themes to be reviewed

IGEM will examine five themes through this review. You can read out about each theme and how we'll evaluate them below.

Governance refers to the overarching legislation, policies and organisational systems that the emergency management organisations work within.

Key questions raised are:

  • To what extent have changes in executive and operational governance created cooperation and coordination between agencies?
  • Have new governance arrangements built a sector better prepared to mitigate and respond to all kinds of emergencies, including the complex and often long-lasting needs of Class 2 emergencies such as a heatwave, marine, pandemic, urban fire and smoke events?

Evaluating reform at this level includes reviewing whether:

  • arrangements are streamlined and ongoing
  • roles and responsibilities are clear
  • decision-making is shared
  • terminology is consistent
  • evaluation and learning systems are in place for continuous improvement.

Capability and capacity refers to the effectiveness of agency operations, incident management and emergency services personnel to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all emergencies.

This entails:

  • creating networked systems
  • providing adequate equipment
  • sustainable funding models
  • new forms of training and accreditation
  • the ability to evaluate the consequences of response activities for recovery outcomes.

Evaluating reform at this level involves reviewing whether:

  • interoperability is improved through better leadership
  • there is support for volunteers
  • a culture of learning is established
  • the workforce is mentally and physically fit for purpose and prepared to work together
  • the needs of vulnerable, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities are included in planning and activities.

Community engagement and preparedness refers to working with diverse communities to build awareness and resilience to prepare, prevent, respond to and recover from emergencies and their consequences.

Sharing responsibility for safety outcomes has involved improving sectoral dialogue and collaboration with people and communities. This includes tailoring strategies and communications with people who are vulnerable and who are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

Evaluating reform at this level includes reviewing whether:

  • public consultations represent broad and diverse sections of the community
  • safety outreach programs have increased in number and effectiveness
  • funding schemes to build local capacity and leadership are flexible and sustainable
  • local knowledge is integrated in agency plans and activities
  • diverse communities are better informed and know where to access emergency information and warnings.

When emergencies create lasting damage, restoring wellbeing and rebuilding homes, facilities and infrastructure is critical to recovery.

In the last ten years, the emergency management sector has increasingly recognised the need for community-led and trauma-informed approaches to recovery after emergencies

Evaluating reform at this level includes reviewing whether activities and services from private and government agencies are:

  • coordinated, holistic and flexible
  • structured to empower people as active participants
  • supportive of local initiatives
  • culturally sensitive and orientated to the long-term.
  • capable of reaching people who are vulnerable and who are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

Resilience refers to the capacity of local systems and networks to support people to anticipate, prepare, respond and bounce back from stresses and shocks from emergencies.

The Victorian Government has increasingly framed safe communities as resilient communities.

Evaluating reform at this level includes reviewing whether:

  • interventions to build resilience has improved the coping capacity of communities
  • safety is improved by specific policies and processes relating to fuel management; access and egress; building and planning; information and warnings; smoke protocols; and incident management
  • technological advancement has unanimously improved the ability of agencies across the sector to protect life and property.

Frequently asked questions

Emergency management involves the plans, structures and arrangements which are established to bring together the endeavours of government, voluntary and private organisations and communities in a comprehensive and coordinated way to deal with the whole spectrum of emergency needs, including prevention, response and recovery.

Victoria’s emergency management arrangements cater for dealing with emergencies of all sizes, from small to very large. In particular, they deal with emergencies where more than one organisation is involved.

The Emergency Management Act defines the emergency management sector to include agencies, bodies, departments and other persons who have a responsibility, function or other role in emergency management.

The safety of Victorians is a priority for the Victorian Government.

Response to significant emergencies including the devastating 2009 Victorian Bushfires, the 2010-11 floods, the 2014 Hazelwood coal mine fire and 2016 thunderstorm asthma event has introduced changes to the way Victoria prepares, responds and recovers from emergencies.

Conducting this review will allow IGEM to understand if the improvements introduced over the past 10 years are bringing better outcomes for our communities before, during and after emergencies such as fire, flood, storm and heatwave.

In late January 2018, IGEM released its Annual Forward Plan of Reviews 2018 and Forward Projection of Reviews.

This confirmed IGEM would conduct a review of emergency management reform since 2009.

You can read this document at


IGEM is not re-examining event details, nor the findings or recommendations made by inquiries and policy papers such as:

  • 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission
  • Review of the 2010–11 Flood Warnings & Response
  • Victorian Emergency Management Reform White Paper - 2012
  • 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry
  • Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21–22 November 2016.

IGEM will not re-address the monitoring activities conducted and acquitted on behalf of the Victorian Government, other than where communities raise concerns as to the longer-term effectiveness of strategies implemented in response to recommendations made.

Organisations involved in this review include:

  • Australian Red Cross
  • Country Fire Authority (CFA)
  • Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)
  • Department of Education and Training (DET)
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC)
  • Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF)
  • Emergency Management Victoria (EMV)
  • Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA)
  • Local Government Victoria (LGV)
  • Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFB)
  • Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)
  • Victorian Council of Churches (VCC)
  • Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS)
  • Victoria Police (VicPol)
  • Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES)

Opportunities to provide input to this review - and learn about our findings - will be published on this website and promoted through local outlets in 2019.

How we use your information

Information shared with us is treated confidentially, and will not be published and anonymity preserved. It will be held by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management and only used for the purposes of this review.

We'd also like to keep you updated as our review progresses, including how we used information shared and future consultations.

You can provide your email through this page, visit us online or follow us on Twitter @IGEM_Vic.