A greater sharing of community recovery experiences and knowledge will strengthen bushfire recovery according to a report released today.

Inspector-General for Emergency Management Tony Pearce’s review into Community recovery following the 2013–14 Victorian bushfires made five recommendations to improve strategies for supporting and engaging communities after an emergency.

These recommendations focus on Emergency Management Victoria working with Local Government Victoria and other agencies to develop models for emergency recovery tailored to and involving each municipality.

Mr Pearce said that planning community recovery projects could be challenging after a major emergency and that preparing for recovery before a disaster could help in faster restoration for the community.

The report examined the experiences of residents of East Gippsland Shire and Hume City in the aftermath of the major Goongerah-Deddick and Mickleham-Kilmore fires in 2013-14.

“The telephone and online surveys gathered information from these communities on how they were involved in recovery strategies during and after the 2013-14 bushfires and how the local residents rated the effectiveness of the strategies,” Mr Pearce said.

“Representatives from the emergency management sector, subject matter experts and relevant research entities also helped us identify ways to improve emergency management arrangements for Victorian communities before and following emergencies.

“It is important to strengthen community recovery efforts as they can help people after an emergency reconnect and create a more positive view for the future.”