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 and CFA will release updated regional Bushfire Management Strategies to guide fuel management activities across public and private land by December 2020.
Bushfire Management Strategies bring together land and fire managers, communities and stakeholders to develop a common understanding of bushfire risk and determine strategies and actions to reduce that risk.
Across 2020 DELWP and CFA worked together to update and release six Bushfire Management Strategies aligned to the Victorian Government regions:
• Barwon South West
• Loddon Mallee
• Metropolitan (a joint strategy for Eastern, Northern and Western, and Southern Metropolitan Regions).
The 2020 Bushfire Management Strategies focus on fuel management options which involve the removal of bushfire fuels such as leaves, bark, twigs and shrubs from the landscape. They include activities such as planned burning and mechanical treatments – mowing, slashing, mulching and the use of herbicides.
Each regional Bushfire Management Strategy now includes a Bushfire Risk Engagement Areas (BREA) strategy to help guide fuel management activities on both public and private land.
Implementation of the bushfire management strategies occurs through the Joint Fuel Management Program (JFMP) prepared by FFMVic and CFA, as well as a range of agency-specific operational plans.
The strategies can be accessed at safertogether.vic.gov.au/strategic-bushfire-management-planning .