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 review risk-based strategic and operational planning frameworks and processes to better incorporate roadsides and private land by December 2022.
To address this action DELWP plans to work with relevant partners to update its Strategic Planning SOP – last updated in 2015 – to include better reference to private land fuel management and roadsides as well as other risk management approaches such as suppression and prevention.
The updated SOP will better reflect Safer Together policy intent and seek to better align with fuel management approaches of other agencies. DELWP intends for the updated SOP to be easier for other agencies to incorporate into their procedures and to better articulate fuel management accountabilities for different land and fire management agencies.
DELWP advised that this work is dependent on outcomes of the legislative review it is undertaking under FSIP1 Action 2.2 and consideration of fuel management expectations to be developed by OBRM in partnership with other agencies.
IGEM notes that a timeframe extension for this action will be required, as the legislative review is due to be delivered in July 2023.