The Inspector-General for Emergency Management recommends that Emergency Management Victoria – in collaboration with the emergency management sector – develop and implements processes to ensure greater dissemination and improved understanding of information for all Victorians, and visitors to Victoria in an emergency event. This should consider but not be exclusive to individuals who:
a) are not familiar with Victoria and its environment
b) find it difficult to understand and respond to emergency information
c) are socially or geographically isolated.
Before the 2021–22 financial year, EMV - in collaboration with agencies - will review and update the Victorian Warning Protocol, Joint Standard Operating Procedure 4.01– Public Information and Warnings, and other guidelines and documentation, to incorporate the findings of the IGEM Inquiry.
In June 2022 SCRC approved a revised date for this action of June 2022.
EMV updated the Victorian Warning Protocol (now known as the Victorian Warning Arrangements) in August 2021 and JSOP 4.01 – Public Information and Warnings in October 2021.
The Victorian Warning Arrangements provide emergency response agencies with coordinated and consistent direction for providing information and warnings to the Victorian community and are available at emv.vic.gov.au/responsibilities/victorias-warning-system/victorian-warning-arrangements
All JSOPs are available at files-em.em.vic.gov.au/public/JSOP/EMV-JSOP.htm
Joint Standard Operating Procedure 4.02
As part reviewing and improving doctrine, in July 2022 EMV published a new JSOP 4.02 – Public Information and Warnings for Class 2 Emergencies.
JSOP 4.02 provides guidance to all control agency personnel, and those supporting agency personnel in disseminating public information and warnings during the response to and recovery from Class 2 emergencies. The JSOP sets out that warnings are to be accessible by being provided through multiple channels and written in plain language.
Other guidelines and documentation
EMV maintains a hierarchy of doctrine from authorising environments (such as the EM Act 2013, SEMP and SEMP sub-plans) to procedural documents (such as JSOPs). EMV advised that it reconsiders the documents in the hierarchy when a review or inquiry highlights changes for public communication.
EMV provided IGEM with two examples of other guidelines and documentation it has reviewed and updated in response to IGEM’s Phase 1 report:
- SCC Public Information Concept of Operations – reviewed in March 2022 – outlines the structure and roles of the State Control Centre (SCC) new full-time public information function. The SCC public information function focuses on gathering, assembling, and disseminating timely, tailored and relevant information, to support and encourage appropriate responses and proactive measures in communities that are directly or likely to be affected by an incident or emergency.
- Guides for Warning Issuers – EMV has created guides for issuers to provide clarity on the warning levels and associated actions advised for different hazard types and to align with the new AWS (refer to FSIP1 Action 16.8).
IGEM notes that the revised documents do not directly reference vulnerable communities or tourists, however Phase 1 report Recommendation 17 does relate to 'all Victorians'. IGEM further notes that other actions under Recommendation 17 cater for these groups.