Victoria’s Emergency Management reform program highlights a fundamental shift in the way we think about the links between response, relief and recovery.
The Emergency Management Act 2013 requires both Emergency Management Victoria and the Commissioner in performing their functions to “have regard to the fundamental importance of the role that volunteers play in the performance of emergency management functions in Victoria.”
A key aim of the Volunteer Consultative Forum (VCF) is to give emergency management volunteers a voice to government on volunteer-related issues and the broader emergency management reform agenda. It facilitates the government’s commitment to consult and engage with emergency management volunteers and their representative bodies on matters that affect them. The VCF complements, rather than replaces, existing arrangements within the emergency management sector.
The VCF discusses issues concerning the culture of volunteerism in Victoria, how best to monitor the health and well-being of volunteers, and how to improve volunteer recruitment, retention, capacity and training.
The Emergency Management Commissioner, Craig Lapsley PSM, chairs the VCF. Membership, as guided by the Emergency Management Manual Victoria, comprises emergency management volunteers and agency nominees from the following departments and agencies:
- Ambulance Victoria
- Australian Volunteer Coast Guard
- Country Fire Authority
- Life Saving Victoria
- Red Cross
- Salvation Army
- St John Ambulance
- Victoria State Emergency Service
- Victoria State Emergency Service Volunteer Association
- Victorian Council of Churches, Emergencies Ministry
- Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria
- Victorian Marine Rescue
Members of the VCF meet a minimum of four times in a calendar year, and are responsible for representing and expressing the views of emergency management volunteers. Emergency Management Victoria provides secretariat and administrative support for the VCF.