Government Insight: The future of Emergency Management

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For our latest Government Insight, we welcome Lee Miezis, Executive Director, Fire and Emergency Management, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, to discuss the future of emergency management in Victoria

Lee Miezis

What are the vision and objectives for emergency management in Victoria?

One of the great things that has occurred over recent years under the leadership of the Emergency Management Commissioner, Craig Lapsley, has been the development of a unifying vision for the emergency management sector in Victoria – ‘safer and more resilient communities‘. For me, it’s a vision that goes straight to what we, as individuals, as organisations, and as a sector, are all about: being community centred.

To achieve our vision, we have a shared goal – ‘A sustainable and efficient emergency management system that reduces the likelihood, effect and consequences of emergencies’.

There are a couple of important elements in this goal. Firstly, the use of the term ‘emergency management system‘. Emergency management is more than just the first responders. The system includes state, local and federal local government, businesses, community groups, and not for profit organisations. Achieving our vision means we must work together, as one.

The second import element is the phrase ‘likelihood, effect and consequence of emergencies‘. For me, this means that we need to work together, not just when an emergency happens, but in doing what we can to stop emergencies from occurring; and, when they do occur, we work together to support communities, businesses and the environment to recover from the impacts.

What are the strategic priorities within the Strategic Action Plan ?

There are four key priority areas in the 2015-2018 Emergency Management Strategic Action Plan, each supported by a number of actions:

  • Community and business – building and empowering community leadership and strengthening resilience; and enhancing the capability of local governments to meet their emergency management obligations.
  • People and culture – instilling a positive workforce culture in the emergency management sector, and promoting respect, cooperation, innovation and diversity; and creating a employee and volunteer workforce development strategy.
  • Governance – defining roles and responsibilities within the emergency management system and making sure they are understood by all involved; and defining a process for understanding and mitigating the consequence for communities that are at high risk.
  • System and services – formalising an integrated emergency management service delivery model; and enhancing systems and platforms to deliver integrated services.

What do you see are the key areas where industry can support emergency management agencies in implementing this plan?

You can see from our vision and goal, that industry is an important part of the emergency management system; it is both a provider and receiver of the benefits of an efficient and effective system.

Implementation of our priorities will require support and expertise from many industry sectors – developing the leadership skills of our people to support the creation of the culture we all want to see; helping us understand how technology can support the delivery of more integrated systems; and supporting us to work more effectively with communities, to understand their needs, aspirations and values, and embed them in our planning and decision making processes, are just a few key areas.

I think the emergency management system is opening up and welcoming of new ideas, new ways of delivering services, and new ways of supporting our people to be their best; so I believe there are many opportunities for industry partnerships to support us in achieving safer and more resilient communities.

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