Inquiry Phase 2 – Relief and recovery arrangements

Today, my second and final report of the Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian fire season was tabled by leave in Parliament. The Victorian Government has responded (External link), accepting all 15 recommendations.
 
This is in addition to supporting all 17 recommendations from the Inquiry’s Phase 1 report, released in 2020, which focused on emergency preparedness and response.
 
This second and final report represents my Office’s work under Phase 2, focusing on relief and recovery arrangements, and concludes the independent Inquiry.
 
You can read the full and summary reports of both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Inquiry, together with the government's responses, available from the Inquiry's reports webpage.
 

Community contributions

This Inquiry has been informed more extensively by the community than any previous IGEM Inquiry or review. Throughout both phases of the Inquiry consultation opportunities were realised through:

  • 60 ‘town hall’ style community meetings in fire affected townships
  • 43 one on one interviews with individual community members
  • 12 online focus groups on specific issues
  • 193 community surveys
  • 543 written submissions (published on the IGEM website where approved by the author) 

During the Inquiry, community contributions were received from individuals, industry groups, business and citizen associations, community health organisations and a broad range of community groups and organisations. Many of these contributions were provided as submissions which are now available from the Inquiry's community participation webpage.
 
These contributions have helped inform the 48 observations, 111 findings and 15 recommendations made in the Phase 2 Inquiry report identifying good practice and opportunities for improvement.
 
The extent of consultation reflects the desire that people have to recount their experiences and to genuinely influence and improve future pathways and outcomes in emergency management. The expectation is that this input is given the attention and respect that it merits, and the Phase 2 report dedicates two chapters to community reflections.

Monitoring implementation of recommendations and actions

Following a request from the Minister for Emergency Services, I will monitor and report on the implementation of Phase 2 recommendations, consistent with my monitoring of the Inquiry’s Phase 1 recommendations.
 
I’m looking forward to discussing the progress of these reforms when I revisit Alpine, North East, and Gippsland communities in early 2022.
 
It remains my hope that this Inquiry will influence change leading to better community engagement, closer cooperation within and across government and agencies, well informed decision-making and, ultimately, better outcomes for all Victorians.
 
Thank you again to all who provided feedback and shared their experiences of the 2019-20 Victorian fire season throughout this Inquiry.

Tony

Tony Pearce, Inspector-General
 
 

Photo courtesy of Emma from the Sarsfield Snaps (External link) youth photography project