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CEO update on inquiries and reviews
To start, the Government today released the ‘interim' report into the Review of 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response.
Victorians affected by severe floods earlier this year were given the chance to have their say in the Review. Through a series of community meetings, as well as written submissions, the head of the review - former Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Neil Comrie - encouraged homeowners, residents, businesses and farmers in flood-affected areas to share their views and help inform the comprehensive process.
In response to today's interim report, Government has announced it will release a Green Paper in coming weeks to consult stakeholders with a view to modernising Victoria's emergency management governance and arrangements.
The ‘final' report into the Review of 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response will be submitted to Government at the end of this year.
On 23 March 2011, Deputy Premier of Victoria and Minister for Emergency Services, Peter Ryan, announced the establishment of an inquiry to be led by Retired County Court Judge, the Honourable David Jones.
The inquiry - which I have previously written about - examined the effect of arrangements made by CFA on the recruitment, training, deployment, utilisation and support of our volunteers, and will make recommendations in accordance with its terms of reference.
Consultation with relevant organisations and interested individuals formed part of the process, with CFA volunteers playing a significant role.
The Jones report will be delivered to Government this month and may be released within weeks after that.
Along with the recent signing of the Volunteer Charter, CFA has welcomed the Jones inquiry as an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of our volunteers.
The final report will be an opportunity to look at how we can further strengthen support to our volunteer base after making a number of important recent changes, including the establishment of a new department called Operational Training & Volunteerism headed by long-time volunteer and former CFA Regional Manager, Lex de Man.
Importantly, the community has also provided feedback on the fires that began around Tostaree in February this year.
The Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner (OESC) provided a number of ways in which the public could participate in this review, and their final report will be provided to the Fire Services Commissioner (FSC) also at the end of the month.
The FSC also has a ‘Fire Services Reform Action Plan' which he is driving to establish a broad ranging reform program which obliges the agencies to implement the outcomes
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that we are nearing the one-year anniversary of the Commissioners presenting their final 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission report to the Governor of Victoria, Professor David de Kretser AC.
On the morning of 31 July 2010, the report was handed to the Premier and tabled in Parliament, making it available to the public.
Coinciding with this one-year anniversary is the fact that Neil Comrie - who has also been appointed to the role of Independent Bushfire Implementation Monitor - will report on the implementation progress on the 67 Bushfires Royal Commission recommendations.
Clearly all the above makes for a very busy period at CFA - especially as it comes on top of other program activities and preparation for the coming fire season - and we will make sure we keep you up-to-date with how things progress.
Thank you to everyone who participated in these inquiries and reviews and also to those members who were part of the campaigns - both fire and flood - that have been looked into.
CFA is a much changed organisation from the one it was on Black Saturday. More than two years on, the recovery and rebuilding process is ongoing and we will continue to strengthen our organisation for the benefit of the Victorian community.
We will keep changing, improving and implementing the wide-ranging recommendations from the Royal Commission to better protect life and property.