Critical Infrastructure Resilience
Victoria’s social and economic wellbeing depends on its infrastructure. Each day, Victorians rely upon the continuity of important services provided by critical infrastructure. Critical infrastructure supports our most basic needs: safe drinking water, food, reliable transport, accessible public health services, energy for homes and industry, access to banking, finance and government services, and global communications networks to connect us socially and in business.
Critical infrastructure includes those physical facilities, supply chains, systems, assets, information technologies and communication networks which, if destroyed, degraded or rendered unavailable for an extended period, would significantly impact on the social or economic wellbeing of the Victorian community.
The importance of our critical infrastructure to all Victorians highlights the need to build and strengthen its resilience. In emergency management, ‘resilience’ can be described as ‘The capacity of individuals, communities, businesses, institutions and systems to survive, adapt and thrive no matter what chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience’.
Victoria’s Critical Infrastructure Resilience Arrangements
Emergencies can have wide ranging impacts upon communities. Many Victorians have experienced the devastation of fire and floods, and the isolation of communities from basic lifelines and needs. In July 2015, Victoria introduced new legislative and policy arrangements to improve critical infrastructure resilience and reduce disruption of services to the community due to emergencies. Resilient critical infrastructure is more likely to endure changes or challenges to social, economic and environmental circumstances.
These new reforms augment existing emergency risk management practices. They also build upon the former terrorism-protection arrangements, moving towards a resilience focus where industry and government consider and plan for the consequences of all emergencies.
Victorian Critical Infrastructure Model
The Victorian Critical Infrastructure Model is a key reform that aims to keep building the emergency resilience of Victoria’s critical infrastructure by:
- adopting an industry sector-based approach to managing critical infrastructure resilience. It comprises eight sectors: water, food and grocery supply logistics, health, energy, transport, communications, banking and finance, and government
- adopting an all hazards, consequence management focus, which recognises that similar consequences may flow from different hazards
- broadening its focus from terrorism to all hazards, which includes terrorism
- strengthening partnerships between industry and government
- developing a standardised criticality assessment methodology. This assists in categorising critical infrastructure, according to its importance to the community: vital, major, significant and local
- developing and maintaining the Victorian Critical Infrastructure Register, which records infrastructure that is most important to the functioning of the Victorian community
- requiring that owners and operators of Victoria’s infrastructure that is declared as ‘vital’ undertake legislated emergency risk management planning. This planning requires owners and/or operators to understand their emergency risks, develop mitigation plans and test preparedness
- requiring government departments to provide assurance that they are supporting and monitoring the performance of their critical infrastructure sectors and emergency risk management and
- industry sectors focussing on resilience improvement and better understanding systemic emergency management risks.
Strong industry and government partnership
Industry contribution and partnership with government underpins Victoria’s ability to effectively address the challenges to, and provide new opportunities for, critical infrastructure resilience. Owners and/or operators of critical infrastructure have strong business continuity improvement processes. They also perform continuous improvement through quality and safety certification initiatives and contractual requirements. Through active sector engagement, industry contributes technical expertise and knowledge about key dependencies, intra-sector dependencies and the consequences of emergencies.
A key interface between industry and government is through the Sector Resilience Networks for each of the eight critical infrastructure sectors. Sector Resilience Networks are convened by government departments and provide forums for industry and government to discuss sector challenges, dependencies, opportunities and better practices. In addition to the regular forums provided by the sector-based Sector Resilience Network, the All Sectors Resilience Network Forum is a key mechanism by which industry and government from all eight sectors discuss interdependencies and increase understanding of cross-sectoral vulnerabilities.
Industry, led by the portfolio department, for each of the eight Sector Resilience Networks develop a Sector Resilience Plan. Sector Resilience Plans provide the government with the status of, and continuous improvement arrangements for, each critical infrastructure sector’s overall resilience. From these, Victoria’s Critical infrastructure All Sectors Resilience Report is developed and publicly released to provide the community with a high-level whole-of-state summary of the resilience of Victoria’s critical infrastructure sectors.
Download the legislation - Part 7A of the of the Emergency Management Act (Emergency Management Amendment (Critical Infrastructure Resilience) Act 2014) (PDF)
The Regulations are sub-ordinate legislation that support implementation of the legislation. The Regulations prescribe a minimum set of standards for emergency risk management planning, exercise management and audit processes.
Download the Emergency Management (Critical Infrastructure Resilience) Regulations 2015 (PDF)
The Minister for Emergency Services has approved Guidelines under section 74W of the Emergency Management Act 2013 to provide further detail in relation to the Criticality Assessment Methodology used to assist assessment as to which infrastructure is to be declared as ‘vital’. The Ministerial Guidelines also provide further detail in relation to: Emergency Risk Management Planning, Exercises, Audits and Sector Resilience Plans.
Download the Ministerial Guidelines for Critical Infrastructure Resilience (PDF 1MB)
The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy sets out the vision, principles and strategic priorities for the future direction in building resilience of Victoria’s critical infrastructure.Download the Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy (PDF 858 KB)
Critical Infrastructure All Sectors Resilience Report
A high-level whole-of-state summary of the resilience of Victoria’s critical infrastructure sectors. Links to download all previous reports are provided below.