Victorian Coalition Government releases final Comrie report on flood warnings and response
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 December 2011 Thursday, 08 December 2011
Premier Ted Baillieu and Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan today released the Final Report of the Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response, undertaken by Neil Comrie AO APM.
"Victorians, especially families and communities that suffered during the devastating floods, are grateful to Mr Comrie for his comprehensive examination of our state's flood warnings and emergency response efforts," Mr Baillieu said.
"This report acknowledges Victoria is well-served by many hardworking paid and volunteer workers across the emergency agencies but states more could be done to provide a strong platform for major reform.
"The report has provided 93 recommendations that will support the government's major emergency management reform program currently underway," Mr Baillieu said.
The Final Report by Mr Comrie follows one of the worst floods in Victoria's history, which affected more than 100 towns and covered one-fifth of Victoria in water.
The 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response Review examined:
the adequacy of flood predictions and modelling;
the timeliness and effectiveness of warnings and public information;
emergency services command and control arrangements;
the adequacy of evacuations of people most at-risk, including those in health and aged-care facilities;
the adequacy of clean-up and recovery efforts;
the adequacy of service delivery by federal, state and local governments; and
the adequacy of funding provided by state and federal governments for emergency grants.
"The Coalition Government is pleased Mr Comrie's recommendations are largely consistent with the key objectives of the government's Green Paper Towards a More Disaster Resilient and Safer Victoria," Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government had received a large number of submissions, as part of plans to overhaul Victoria's emergency management framework, which would inform the Coalition Government's preparation of a White Paper to be released in 2012.
The Final Report, which took into account extensive community consultation with flood-affected towns across Victoria, outlines the need for reform in four key areas:
roles and responsibilities for flood planning, modelling, warnings and clean-up needs to be clarified;
improvement and auditing of emergency management planning at state, regional and local levels;
an 'all hazards, all agencies' approach to emergency management must be adopted for operational purposes; and
greater community involvement in managing risks and planning for emergencies.
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government would carefully consider the Final Report and outline a response in due course.
"This Final Report, coupled with the feedback on the Green Paper, will inform the development of a comprehensive policy proposal to reform Victoria's emergency management arrangements to be released in 2012," Mr Ryan said.
"The Coalition Government is today also releasing a Victorian floods recovery progress report which shows the enormous amount of work that has been done and recovery that has taken place across the state since the floods.
"We are committed to taking the necessary steps to improve the ability of the state to deal with and respond accordingly to natural disasters in the future," Mr Ryan said.
Water Minister Peter Walsh will lead the development of an implementation plan to respond to the report's recommendations on improving flood predictions and modelling.
"The Coalition Government has invested heavily in modelling high-risk areas following last summer's floods, and work is already underway on the development of a web-based tool to improve community warnings and provide emergency services and landholders with more accurate predictions of flood behaviour," Mr Walsh said.
"We have also started replacing stream gauges damaged in last year's floods and we are putting in extra remote sensing devices to assist the Bureau of Metereology.
"The Coalition Government will work closely with the Commonwealth in developing its response to the Final Report."
Mr Walsh said studies were underway in 13 towns to map the risk of floods and improve flood warnings.
For a copy of the Victorian Floods Recovery Progress Report visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/floods