Natural Disaster Royal Commission and opportunities for reform

5 March 2021

The Victorian Government released the response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements (External link) today. 

The Royal Commission (External link) was jointly established with the Commonwealth, states and territories on 20 February 2020, in response to the devastating 2019-2020 bushfire season and provides long-term opportunities for reform. 

The Victorian Government supports the intent of the Royal Commission’s recommendations and the desire to continue strengthening and improving emergency management outcomes, community-led recovery, and disaster resilience for all Australians.  

As acknowledged by the Royal Commission, state and territory governments have – and will continue to have – primary responsibility and accountability for emergency management. Victoria looks forward to working with all jurisdictions to improve emergency management outcomes for all Australians. 

In Victoria, we already have a strong lessons management system in place. We continuously improve our processes and training so we can deliver more robust preparedness, response and recovery services.    

That’s why on 14 January 2020, the Victorian Government requested the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) conduct an independent review into the 2019-20 Victorian fire season. The Phase 1 report from the Inquiry (External link) – which considers preparedness for and response to the fires – was completed on 31 July 2020. 

On 14 October 2020, the Government accepted all 17 recommendations in the Phase 1 report, as well as five recommendations from an earlier IGEM report: A Review of 10 years of Reform in Victoria's Emergency Management Sector

As a priority, Victoria will implement the recommendations from the IGEM inquiries, recognising that these actions will also align with many of the recommendations from the Royal Commission's final report (External link).  

The IGEM  recommendations  present  immediate  opportunities  to  enhance  Victoria’s land management and emergency management capability, with $65.3 million allocated across government to implement these actions and keep Victoria safe from bushfires and other natural disasters, comprising  $19.4 million across the emergency management sector and $45.9 million for DELWP.  

Victoria understands the importance of transparency as reform work progresses, especially for those communities affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, and is committed to reporting publicly on implementation of the IGEM recommendations. 

Victoria looks forward to working with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions to strengthen national emergency management outcomes for all Australians.  

The Victorian Government’s response to the Royal Commission final report can be found on the Victorian Government website (External link).