The Inspector-General for Emergency Management recommends that Emergency Management Victoria works with the emergency management sector and relevant emergency management entities in New South Wales and South Australia to identify and address key cross border operational and resource management issues. This engagement should aim to enhance interoperability and maximise the capability and capacity of agencies to work together during emergencies along Victoria's borders.
Prior to the 2020-21 fire season, EMV will work with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions and the Victorian Cross-Border Commissioner to clarify emergency management roles and responsibilities of the Victorian Cross-Border Commissioner. Building on this, the EMC will partner with the Cross-Border Commissioner to strengthen interstate relationships in relation to emergency management arrangements.
Victoria's Cross Border Commissioner works with residents, businesses and community organisations along the state’s borders to identify and advocate for change. The Cross Border Commissioner is retained administratively as part of DJPR and works with interstate counterparts, including the NSW Cross Border Commissioner. IGEM notes that a MoU with NSW is now in place. The Cross Border Commissioner will also work with the inaugural South Australia Cross Border Commissioner, who is expected to be appointed in late 2022.
For more information refer to rdv.vic.gov.au/about-rdv/cross-border-commissioner
The Cross Border Commissioner's emergency management roles and responsibilities
IGEM’s 2021 progress report noted initial work on this action by both EMV and DJPR, culminating in a report with recommendations on the Cross Border Commissioner's emergency management roles and responsibilities. DJPR's Cross Border Emergency Management Arrangements Reference Group endorsed the report on 13 July 2021.
DJPR provided the report to the EMC on 15 November 2021. The EMC replied on 11 February 2022, confirming EMV’s support for its four recommendations and noting that (in line with a recommendation from the report) the role of the Cross Border Commissioner would be incorporated as appropriate in the next version of the SEMP.
EMV provided IGEM evidence of meetings between the Cross Border Commissioner and the EMC (the subject of another recommendation from the report), and between the Cross Border Commissioner’s office and EMV’s Cross Border and Preparedness Unit.
The other recommendations relate to the Cross Border Commissioner’s membership on key sector committees and the role’s promotion as a subject matter expert on cross border community issues for consultation by emergency management planning and recovery committees.
Strengthening interstate relationships
EMV provided IGEM with information on one example of its ongoing work to address the second element of this action – partnership between the EMC and the Cross Border Commissioner to strengthen interstate relationships in relation to emergency management arrangements.
The New South Wales and Victoria MoU for Cross-Border Collaboration (2019–21) reflects the commitment of both jurisdictions to strengthen collaboration. It is specifically designed to address a range of cross border issues, with each state commissioner playing an integral role in implementing the MoU.
Sitting under the MoU are a series of work plans, including one for a cross border approach to safe and resilient communities, with actions for implementation by agencies in both states, including EMV and NSW emergency management agencies.
EMV provided IGEM with evidence of its engagement with the Cross Border Commissioner’s office on the emergency management actions in the work plan. A number of the work plan actions relate to the program of interstate work being led by EMV’s Cross Border and Preparedness Unit and correspond to progress of other FSIP1 Recommendation 16 actions.
IGEM understands that an extension to the MoU is currently being arranged between both state governments.