The Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) would like to provide a 5th update on progress of the independent Inquiry into the 2019–20 Victorian fire season

Progress of the Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian fire season

Today the Victorian Government has responded to my first report into the 2019-20 Victorian Fire Season, accepting all 17 recommendations. As the Inquiry is being run over two phases, this report represents my Office’s work under Phase 1 focusing on sector and community preparedness and response to the 2019–20 fires.

The Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian Fire Season: Phase 1 Report also represents the contribution of many Victorians who shared their views and experiences by joining a community meeting, writing a submission or completing our survey. These contributions have helped inform the 66 observations, 36 findings and 17 recommendations made in identifying good practice and opportunities for continuous improvement.

Included in its response, the government has also released IGEM's Review of 10 years of reform in Victoria's emergency management sector, accepting all five recommendations. This review should be read in conjunction with the Phase 1 Fire Season Inquiry Report as its recommendations are relevant to the findings of the Inquiry and are referenced throughout the report.

You can read the reports and the government's response from this website.

The Inquiry provides yet another opportunity to understand where and how communities and government can further improve overall readiness, capability and capacity to reduce the risk of major bushfires. However, there are limitations on what can be achieved simply by conducting an Inquiry.

Opinions and ideas for possible improvement are never in short supply. Tailored, realistic strategies and action plans embraced by communities are harder to find. Just as preparing for, and responding to emergencies is a shared responsibility, so too the opportunity to improve must be shared between individuals, organisations, government and communities.

In completing this first phase of the Inquiry, I am hopeful that this report will trigger outcome-focused discussion, improved policy making, providing a catalyst for the consideration of a less complicated and more effective hazard reduction regulatory regime.

Most importantly, it is my hope that this Inquiry will influence change that results in better community engagement, closer cooperation within and across jurisdictional boundaries, well informed decision-making and ultimately, better outcomes for all Victorians.

Inquiry Phase 2 - Relief and Recovery

Phase 2 is underway and is considering the progress and effectiveness of Victoria’s immediate relief and recovery arrangements with the final report to be delivered by 30 June 2021.

Over coming months, we’ll be offering a range of ways to participate and provide feedback. These will be promoted through local outlets and social media. At the moment you can share your views through:

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Inquiry for your willingness to provide your experiences, and I look forward to staying in touch over the coming months as we focus on Phase 2 – relief and recovery.


Photo: Janice Newnham