The Inspector-General for Emergency Management recommends that the State support the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (or the single entity referenced in Recommendation 4) and its partners to expand the Safer Together program to:
a) increase program uptake and adoption by legislated fuel management organisations including local government, the Department of Transport and VicTrack
b) implement a consistent risk-based approach to fuel management program planning from strategic through to operational and tactical levels supported by appropriate risk assessment tools, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting mechanisms
c) develop common spatial datasets for use by all road managers, standardising road and roadside fuel maintenance levels based on bushfire risk and sharing resources to maintain continuous roadsides managed by multiple parties.
DELWP will deliver an expanded Safer Together program, including increased involvement for EMV, the CFA, DoT and its agencies, and local government by December 2020.
Safer Together is a government program that supports communities, government, fire and land management agencies and other organisations to better connect and work together in a bushfire risk reduction context. DELWP and CFA are the lead organisations in implementing Safer Together which was expanded across 2020 including increased involvement for EMV, CFA and DoT.
Along with DELWP and CFA, EMV are members of the peak governance body, the Bushfire Risk Mitigation Committee (BRMC). In October 2020 the membership of the BRMC was expanded to include DoT. Local government is also represented on this committee by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the legislated peak body for local governments in Victoria. IGEM has been an observer of the BRMC since its inception.
DELWP advised that local government is leading 23 local government-initiated projects across fuel management and community engagement. DoT, CFA and local governments are also involved in planning and delivery of strategic projects such as the implementation of strategic fuel breaks across public and private land and along arterial roads.