Update: Learning Review into June 2021 extreme weather event

13 December 2021

Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) thanks everyone who shared their experiences from the June extreme weather event in Victoria with our Learning Review. Initial learnings are being used to continuously improve our response and recovery efforts to subsequent emergencies.

The Learning Review was established by EMV and the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES). A report is being prepared based on the information gathered so far and will be published on this website in early 2022.

Early analysis of the Learning Review feedback indicates that:

  • learnings from 2019-20 bushfires informed the planning and response to the event
  • having multi-agency teams with a mix of expertise and knowledge was valuable in this challenging and complex event.

Impacted communities expressed gratitude for the support they received from responder agencies and other community members and the way the local community came together in a time of need.

This analysis also identified several challenging issues, including:

  • the complexity, scale and dynamic nature of this event challenged the ability to effectively task and coordinate multi agency activities, particularly given the impact of the power and telecommunication outages
  • challenges with data collection, management and sharing impacted the ability to maintain a shared situational awareness that accurately captured the full scale and complexity of impact
  • the community has identified that while they understand what to do in a fire event, however, they do not have the same level of knowledge for a storm event
  • it was difficult to fully understand the severity and impact of the event on the community in a timely way and translating that into relevant and tailored community warnings and information.

During the June extreme weather event, strong winds and heavy rain resulted in flooding, fallen trees, damaged powerlines and outages, telecommunication outages and major damage to road networks.

Communities across multiple geographic locations were significantly impacted and many personnel from a wide range of agencies were involved in the response and recovery efforts, including government, business, industry and community groups.

The Learning Review aims to ensure that the lessons of state-wide multi-agency significance and aspects of particular interest to impacted communities (including areas of good practice and improvement opportunities) are identified, implemented, and shared across the emergency management sector and with impacted communities.

EMV worked with local councils and Bushfire Recovery Victoria on the community-focused components of the Learning Review, including community debriefs and telephone interviews with a sample of community members in impacted areas.

If you would like to provide feedback relating to emergencies, please contact your local council regarding how to contribute to ongoing continuous improvement processes.