Priority one: Work with Victorians to understand and reduce the risk of emergencies

As we move to a more dynamic future with novel and concurrent emergencies, we must have a clear understanding of their likelihood, severity and potential consequences so we can prepare as best as possible and prioritise our collective efforts.

By investing in risk reduction, we can protect and preserve life, minimise suffering, reduce impacts and recovery costs and unlock broader economic and social benefits.

The Victorian Government will work with all levels of government and industry to strengthen sharing and disclosure of risk information and reduce barriers to mitigating risks.

We’ll strengthen education and communication to ensure Victorians are well placed to act, and invest in opportunities for locally-led risk reduction efforts while acknowledging some risks are beyond the scope of individuals or communities to mitigate and manage.

We’ll also strengthen climate change adaptation efforts and continue to invest in reducing the risk exposure of our state-wide infrastructure and systems.

We will work with community and business to strengthen our understanding of emergency risks 

To make informed decisions about where we invest our resources and efforts before, during and after emergencies, we need to understand the breadth of risks Victorians face now and into the future. We need a clear picture of likelihood, severity and consequences so we can make informed decisions.

The Victorian Government will strengthen investment in the tools, systems and technologies we need to better forecast, understand and communicate risk. Already, we are leading the development of a contemporary, repeatable and systemic approach to identifying and mitigating risk – integrated quantitative data and climate modelling to inform our intelligence and decision making.

We’ll ensure that climate change projections are used to inform our understanding of future risk so we can better plan and adapt to ongoing climate change.

We’ll also strengthen the disclosure and sharing of risk information. This means not only sharing information collected by the Victorian Government, but working closely with insurance providers, businesses and all levels of government to create a shared picture of where action is needed.

We will take action to reduce the impact and consequence of emergencies

Early investment in reducing emergency risks lessens the potential impact and cost to all Victorians. We will work with communities, business and not-for-profit organisations to minimise risk exposure and put in place appropriate mitigations to lessen impacts and consequences. With some risks beyond the ability of individuals and communities to manage, better intelligence means we can jointly prioritise our efforts.

The Victorian Government will also capitalise on, and expand, our strengths-based approach to risk reduction. This includes greater investment in our existing risk reduction activities, such as critical infrastructure investment in transport, water, energy and health; and new opportunities, informed by our strengthened understanding of emergency risks. We will continue to advocate for Victorian interests in national disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption through forums with Commonwealth and State and Territory government stakeholders.

We will build on risk mitigation investment to identify best practice and deliver quality outcomes for communities across all hazards; including bushfire risk reduction, cyber security and biosecurity.

While the Victorian Government accepts primary responsibility and accountability for emergency management, all Victorians must take a proactive approach to ensuring their own safety and resilience. 

National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Disaster Risk Reduction

The NPA is a national cost-sharing arrangement between Commonwealth and state and territory governments to support implementation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework. Two grant programs operate in Victoria.

  1. State and Regional Priority Projects – provides funds for initiatives addressing critical risks identified in state and regional emergency management plans and risk assessments.
  2. Risk and Resilience Grants Program – supports communities and local governments to undertake local risk reduction and resilience initiatives.

Funds have so far been used for designing flood levees, bushfire mitigation works, upgrades to community disaster refuges and community disaster education programs.

We will support Victorians to reduce their own emergency risks 

Communities are best placed to understand and manage their own local risks because nothing beats local knowledge. We’ll continue supporting individuals, communities, businesses and local government to implement locally-based, community-led risk reduction efforts and create opportunities for more. These will build on our successful community grants programs, including in partnership with the Commonwealth government.

We will empower individuals with the information, tools and education they need to reduce their own emergency risks. We’ll do this by further developing programs in schools, community groups and business forums. We will work with communities and businesses to identify and address barriers and strengthen business continuity, and to support greater insurance uptake.

We will improve how we communicate timely and accessible risk information to all Victorians by developing accessible, interactive online platforms that capture, compile and share emergency risk and risk mitigation information and are considerate of end users. Dedicated effort will be made to support and inform CALD communities through translation services and partnering with trusted community networks. We’ll also embrace new communication methods for warnings and alerts, including social media for quick wide reach to different audiences, while supporting traditional mediums. This will help ensure we deliver tailored messages to the community at the time and the location they are needed.

Melbourne Flood Hotspot Engagement Program

Many households aren’t aware they live in a flood prone area. Melbourne’s Flood Hotspot Engagement Program engages at-risk communities so they better understand their local risk and the action they can take to protect themselves and their properties.

Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) volunteers walk door to door explaining the dangers of driving on flooded roads, the importance of a safe evacuation route, where to go for flood information and how to prepare properties for flooding.

The program is remerging as COVID-19 safety measures lift, with 60 volunteers contributing around 300 hours. The program is making sure the right information reaches those who most need it, supporting communities to come together to effectively manage flooding.