South eastern Australia, including Victoria, is among the most bushfire-prone areas in the world.

Victoria’s high bushfire risk is due to a combination of factors including increasing population density in fire-prone areas.

Major bushfires can lead to loss of life and injury, damage to key state infrastructure such as electricity transmission lines, water supply assets and transport links.

Additionally, fast moving grass fires in metro/rural interface environments, structure fires in urban environments, and mine fires caused by fires in nearby bushland all pose their unique challenges and consequences.

Examples of significant bushfires and related fires include the 2009 Black Saturday fires, 2014 Hazelwood mine fire and more recently the 2019-20 fires which led to major reviews at state level and a Royal Commission at national level: Inquiry into the 2019–20 Victorian Fire Season and Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements respectively.

All links in the table below will open in a new window.

Publish year Assurance activity Summary Organisation
2020 Review of 10 years of reform in Victoria’s emergency management sector (External link) A review of emergency management reforms and their effectiveness in supporting safer and more resilient Victorians. The report made recommendations relating to the critical areas of risk management, community information, recovery, outcomes frameworks, and capability and capacity. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2020 Safer Together Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) Framework (External link) A framework to measure and report on the progress of reducing bushfire risk on people and the environment. It consolidates existing and proposed MER activities across the sector and aligns efforts for a sector-wide MER process that provides accountability for and transparency of sector-wide actions towards reducing bushfire risk. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements: interim observations (External link) An outline of interim observations from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements relating to the responsibilities of, and coordination between all levels of government, Australia's arrangements for adapting to climate change, actions to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters and the involvement of Commonwealth in responding to national emergencies. This report covered some of the more pressing issues that were addressed in the the final report. No draft recommendations were made. Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements
2019 Summary of Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning bushfire fuel management 2017-18 (External link) A report on observations and progress updates relating to DELWP’s planned burns that breach control lines and implementation of bushfire fuel management recommendations including the final two recommendations from the Independent Investigation of the Lancefield-Cobaw Fire. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2019 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry - Annual Report 2018 (External link) An assessment of progress of the remaining 59 government actions, and 12 non-government recommendations and affirmations following IGEM’s Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry: Implementation of recommendations and affirmations Annual Report 2017.
It further assessed the progress of implementation of all recommendations and affirmations from the 2014 and 2015–16 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports, concluding that significant progress had been achieved to improve emergency planning and coordination, health outcomes and mine rehabilitation in the Latrobe Valley.
Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2018 Annual Report - Implementation of recommendations on bushfire fuel management - October 2017 (External link) The second and final annual progress report on implementation of recommendations from the 2015 Review of performance targets for bushfire fuel management on public land and the 2015 Independent Investigation of the Lancefield-Cobaw Fire. The report signals the completion of the move from a hectare-based fuel reduction target, to a risk reduction target. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2018 Summary of investigation into DELWP breaches of planned burn control lines 2016–17 (External link) A summary of observations, findings, and recommendations into management of investigations into planned burn breaches for the period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017. This process has led to the improvement of DELWP’s risk assessment process for planning its bushfire fuel management on public land and its internal assurance processes. Inspector-General for Emergency Management
2018 2018 South West Fires Community Report (External link) A report capturing feedback directly from the community and identifying key lessons from the 2018 South West fires, it identified areas of ongoing concern including perceived fire risks associated with vegetation management, roadside vegetation, and power distribution systems. Emergency Management Victoria
2017 Inquiry into Fire Season Preparedness (External link) A public inquiry into the preparation and planning undertaken for fire seasons focusing on the work of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and its agencies, including Parks Victoria.
This report considered causes of bushfire ignitions, fundamental principles of bushfire fuel management with a focus on planned burning, other bushfire mitigation measures with a focus on evacuation policies, the effect of climate change on the bushfire season and emergency management coordination arrangements with a focus on the concept of shared responsibility and relevant legislative frameworks.
Parliament of Victoria
2017 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry - Annual Report 2017 (External link) A progress assessment of implementation of recommendations and affirmations from the 2014 and 2015–16 Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry reports. The report concluded significant progress to improve emergency planning and coordination, health outcomes and mine rehabilitation in the Latrobe Valley following the Hazelwood mine fire. Inspector-General for Emergency Management