After the extreme weather event in June 2021, we established a Learning Review with the Victoria State Emergency Service. Its goal was to capture lessons of state-wide, multi-agency significance.
The review has identified aspects of particular interest to affected communities. It includes lessons identifying areas of good practice and opportunities to improve. We are sharing these lessons across the emergency management sector and with affected communities through the release of the June 2021 Extreme Weather Event Learning Review - Community Report.
We used lessons management methodology outlined in:
- Victoria’s Lessons Management Framework (EM-LEARN)
- the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR): Lessons Management Handbook .
Several themes have emerged. They highlight what has worked well and areas where there is room for improvement. Some affected communities expressed gratitude for the high levels of support they received in the relief and recovery phases. This support came from agencies, departments and other community members.
Customers who were power-dependent or experienced prolonged outages received initial welfare calls from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and AusNet Services. These were greatly appreciated. This outreach was enhanced when Victoria Police began in-person welfare checks.
We know there were challenges. Extreme weather and significant impacts on critical infrastructure affected intelligence sharing and communication. Areas to improve include:
- weather intelligence
- command and control arrangements during simultaneous emergencies
- clean-up processes
- financial support.
In response, we have been working to ensure we can provide better intelligence based on access to and understanding of extreme weather forecasts, alongside other available data and information. We are reviewing emergency management arrangements, clean-up and how communities can access financial support. We also have people positioned in key roles 24/7 at a state level, including public information and warnings personnel. They support local incident and regional management teams to issue timely, tailored and relevant information at a moment’s notice.
We collected information from the Local Government and Bushfire Recovery Victoria community conversations. Together with phone surveys and interviews, they provided very important and valued information. They were an important part of developing the final community report. The information will also inform ongoing continuous improvement and gives us all an opportunity to reflect and plan for the future.
We have compiled and analysed all the feedback to produce this Community Report and it provides a platform for sharing community experiences during this event. It will also inform the emergency management sector’s ongoing continuous improvement. For more information, see the overview of the June 2021 Extreme Weather Event Learning Review – Community Report.
Victoria’s emergency management sector will continue to learn and improve together. We will strive to do our best, working with the Victorian community.
Photo: Amber Williams Photography