In February 2016, the Victorian Government committed to a high-level reform plan to better support the crucial service provided by the Marine Search and Rescue sector. This decision followed the 2014 Parliamentary Inquiry into Marine Rescue Services in Victoria, which found that increased governance and regulation would be beneficial in supporting a more effective service.
In December 2017, the Victorian Government announced that MSAR flotillas will receive $11.3 million over a two year period to improve their service delivery.
Part of the Government’s response involved the establishment of an MSAR Office within EMV to engage the sector, establish more appropriate governance arrangements, and manage operational command systems and accreditation processes. This will help MSAR units to identify future training, equipment and funding needs.
A Marine Search and Rescue Working Group was established in 2016 to develop the overarching strategy for the sector, as well as manage daily operations on reform delivery.
A strategic decision-making body called the MSAR Reform Implementation Board was also established to oversee initial implementation of proposed reforms. The Reform Implementation Board is guided by the advice of the MSAR Working Group and includes:
- The Emergency Management Commissioner (Chair)
- Victoria Police
- Transport Safety Victoria
- Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
- Head of the MSAR Office within EMV
- Two volunteer advisors comprising one from the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard and one representing the independent MSAR units
Three other committees have also been established to support the reform program including:
- the MSAR Finance and Insurance Project Group
- the MSAR Vessel, Risk and Capability Project Group
- the MSAR Training and Assessment Project Group