Victoria Deputy Premier Peter Ryan
Victoria Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan
First Steps Towards ‘All-Hazards, All-Agencies’ Emergency Management
Victor P Taffa
Victoria’s emergency services agencies will all participate in responding to major disaster events in Victoria under new laws passed through Parliament yesterday.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan said the Emergency Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 paved the way for changes that supported the Coalition’s move towards an ‘all-hazards, all-agencies’ approach to disaster management.
“The Coalition Government is committed to achieving an ’all-hazards, all-agencies’ approach to emergency response as recommended by the Comrie Flood Review.” Mr. Ryan said.
“Amendments have been made to the CFA, MFB and VISES Acts to require these agencies to assist each other in the response to large scale and complex emergencies.”
“This will formally recognise the broader responsibilities of Victoria’s emergency services to assist major disaster events beyond their current hazard-specific responsibilities.”
In addition, Mr. Ryan said amendments introduced this week would increase penalties for anyone who ignored fire danger warnings or obstructed the activities of fire agencies.
“The penalty for lighting fires in the open air or undertaking other high fire-risk activities during a fire danger period will more than double to allow for fines of over $14,000 and/ or up to 12 months imprisonment.” Mr. Ryan said.
“To reduce the incidence of false alarms, which unnecessarily engages fire agency personnel and equipment, the penalty for knowingly giving a false report of fire has been increased six-fold.”
“Anyone found guilty of knowingly giving a false report of fire could face fines of over $7,000.”
Mr. Ryan said the Coalition Government was committed to implementing major reform of Victoria’s emergency management framework.
“A White Paper outlining the government’s vision for the future of Victoria’s emergency management arrangements will be released in 2012.” Mr. Ryan said.
“This will provide the basis for a framework that supports an ‘all hazards, all agencies’ approach to emergency management and deliver on the recommendations of Neil Comrie’s Victorian Floods Review.”