New Arrangements for Victoria’s Critical Infrastructure
From 1 July 2015, Victoria is placed to benefit from new arrangements which will build resilience of Victorian critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure includes Victoria’s assets, systems and networks necessary to maintain its social and economic wellbeing.
Resilience recognises that while it is impossible to prevent the occurrence of natural disasters, it is possible to mitigate risks and consequences through effective planning. ‘Resilience’, refers to our ability to ‘bounce back’ after disasters, and with improved ability, withstand future impacts. Recent experience has shown us the harm and devastation from natural and manmade emergencies, such as flood, fire, storm, terrorism and cyber-attack.
The strengths of Victoria’s current arrangements have been retained and adapted within a new ‘all hazards’ resilience framework. This approach focuses on managing uncertainty in the risk environment by building resilience to a number of hazards. Different hazard events can have similar consequences on infrastructure, for example both floods and bushfires can lead to a loss of power.
Emergency Management Victoria will focus on strengthening partnerships with critical infrastructure portfolio departments and critical infrastructure owner and operators before, during and after emergencies. The protection of Victoria’s critical infrastructure and the continuity of essential services require effective partnerships between government and the owners and operators of infrastructure. The complex, interconnected and interdependent nature of critical infrastructure necessitates comprehensive planning and activities by government and the private sector to build resilience to disruptions to essential services.
Building from previous achievements, these new arrangements have been developed following extensive consultation with Victorian industry and government stakeholders. Key features include:
- The establishment of the Victoria’s Critical Infrastructure Model
- Effective 1 July 2015, legislative changes to the Emergency Management Act 2013 to include Critical Infrastructure Resilience
- Regulations and Ministerial Guidelines to support implementation of the legislation
- A Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy detailing the vision, principles and strategic priorities for the new arrangements
- Responsibility transfer from the Premier and Department of Premier and Cabinet to the Minister for Emergency Services and Emergency Management Victoria
Aimed at building resilience of Victoria’s critical infrastructure, The Victorian Critical Infrastructure Model is a key reform component with a continuous improvement focus. The new model includes:
- A new definition for Victoria’s critical infrastructure moving towards an ‘all hazards’ resilience model which includes a focus on terrorism
- Use of a standardised criticality assessment methodology to determine the criticality of infrastructure, and its significance not just for commercial operations but also in delivering the State’s essential services
- Categorisation of critical infrastructure as either ‘local’, major’, ‘significant’ or the highest category of ‘vital’.
- The establishment of the Critical Infrastructure Register which will record all Victorian critical infrastructure designated as vital, or assessed as major or significant
- A partnership approach between industry and government in building resilience for the continued delivery of essential services, with formal engagement mechanisms enshrined in legislation and the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy
- Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for industry, portfolio departments, EMV, relevant Ministers and the Minister for Emergency Services, as well as establishing Sector Resilience Networks and Plans
- A focus on continuous improvement through:
- Mandatory obligations for critical infrastructure assessed as ‘vital’, by completing a Resilience Improvement Cycle. This helps industry and government articulate the emergency risks to the supply of essential services to the Victorian community, and to develop risk management strategies to manage and mitigate those risks.
- Owners and/or operators of non-‘vital’ critical infrastructure are encouraged to develop best practice emergency risk management strategies and practices based on the obligations for ‘vital’ critical infrastructure
- A performance measurement and assurance framework
Effective 1 July 2015, Part 7A of the Emergency Management Act 2013, Critical Infrastructure Resilience includes requirements in relation to:
- What is an essential service
- Assessment of infrastructure
- Responsibilities in relation to critical infrastructure
- Victorian Critical Infrastructure Register
- Resilience Improvement Cycle
Effective 1 July 2015, the Regulations are sub-ordinate legislation that support implementation of the legislation. The Regulations prescribe a minimum set of standards for emergency risk management planning, exercise management and audit processes.
Effective 1 July 2015, the Minister for Emergency Services has approved Guidelines under section 74W of theEmergency Management Act 2013 to provide further detail in relation to the Criticality Assessment Methodology used to assist assessment as to which infrastructure is to be declared as ‘vital’. The Ministerial Guidelines also provide further detail in relation to: Emergency Risk Management Planning, Exercises, Audits and Sector Resilience Plans.
The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy (the Strategy) sets out the vision, principles and strategic priorities for the future direction in building resilience of Victoria’s critical infrastructure. The Strategy gives effect to recent legislative changes to the Emergency Management Act 2013, outlining the components of the new arrangements and how implementation will be achieved.