The Victorian Government asked the Inspector-General for Emergency Management to review the emergency response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21-22 November 2016.

The Inspector-General invited public comments and submissions in response to this review, its scope and lines of enquiry which were used to inform their final report to government.

Final Report

The government released the Inspector-General for Emergency Management's Review of response to the thunderstorm asthma event of 21-22 November 2016 - Final Report on 27 April 2017. The report and the government's response are available on the IGEM website.

The Review

From 6pm on 21 November 2016 Ambulance Victoria and hospital emergency departments across Melbourne saw an unprecedented surge in patients with asthma and respiratory distress. This was most likely associated with the late evening thunderstorms and high pollen levels.

The primary goal of this review was to identify opportunities to learn from this event in order to improve future preparedness and response arrangements and performance. This includes the provision of recommendations, where required, about potential improvements to future public health emergency planning and response arrangements.

In conducting the review IGEM considered the following lines of enquiry:

  • the appropriateness and adequacy of the response under the Public Health Response Plan during events of 21 and 22 November, including the speed of escalation
  • the role of, and coordination between the Emergency Management Commissioner, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other relevant agencies in respect of this public health event, and the adequacy of support provided to emergency and public health services
  • the triggers for, and provision of, public warnings and information and health advice, taking account of predictability, preventive steps and methods of distribution available for this type of emergency
  • the identification of any other relevant matters or opportunities for improvement.


If you have any queries about the consultation process please email with the subject heading Thunderstorm asthma review.


Submissions are now closed.