The Victorian Government has announced the independent inquiry into the 2019-2020 Victorian fire season to be conducted by the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM). 

Read a summary of the media release below.

14 January 2020

The Victorian Government has today announced an independent inquiry into the 2019-2020 Victorian fire season.

With significant fires continuing to burn across a large part of the North East, Gippsland and Alpine regions, the government has asked the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM), Tony Pearce, to lead an inquiry into Victoria’s preparedness for and response to these recent fires, and to review relief and recovery efforts.

The government will provide an additional $2.55 million to the IGEM to undertake the inquiry, which will consider the following matters:

  • Effectiveness of emergency management command and control and Victoria’s operational response
  • Effectiveness of the declaration of a state of disaster
  • Timeliness and effectiveness of activation of Commonwealth assistance and resource availability
  • State evacuation planning and preparedness process and practices
  • Preparedness ahead of the 2019-20 fire season
  • Effectiveness of immediate relief and recovery work and arrangements, and the creation of Bushfire Recovery Victoria, the National Bushfire Recovery Agency and how they work together

Preliminary recommendations into Victoria’s preparedness and response for the 2019-20 fire season are due to the government by 31 July this year. This will ensure appropriate consideration and implementation of the report before the next fire season.

IGEM’s inquiry into Victoria’s relief and recovery arrangements is due to report back to the government by 30 June 2021, as that work is only just commencing.

As the bushfires are ongoing and we are still at the start of the fire season, the government will work with IGEM to allow timings of the inquiry to be adjusted to ensure its engagement with emergency management agencies will not impact current response efforts.

IGEM was established as an independent monitor following the February 2009 bushfires and since then has worked closely with the emergency management sector to continually improve the way in which Victoria prepares for, responds to and recovers from bushfires and other major emergencies.