VICTORIAN Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Kim Wells last week released the State Government's response to the final annual report by Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor (BRCIM), Neil Comrie.
The Implementation Monitor's final report, which was tabled in Parliament in early August, stated that Victoria is now "in a much better state of preparedness to deal with the threat of bushfire and other natural disasters than it was on Black Saturday."
The Implementation Monitor was appointed in 2010 and tasked with monitoring, reviewing and reporting on the progress of the implementation of the 67 recommendations made by the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.
With 56 of the 67 recommendations now completed, the final report recommended that the Inspector-General for Emergency Management assume responsibility for ongoing monitoring of the remaining recommendations.
"Mr Comrie's final report has noted the Victorian Coalition Government's 'significant progress' to ensuring Victoria is a safer place, more than five years on from the devastation of the Black Saturday fires," Mr Wells said.
"The Napthine Government's remains absolutely committed to implementing all 67 recommendations of the Royal Commission and we have never wavered on this promise.
"The report also recognises that adequate progress continues to be made with the implementation of the remaining recommendations, which largely relate to ongoing, long term, complex projects including the Powerline Bushfire Safety program," the Minister said.
Mr Wells thanked Mr Comrie for his work as Implementation Monitor and said it was vital that the remaining implementation actions and recommendations continue to be monitored and publicly reported.
"It will now be the responsibility of the recently appointed Inspector-General for Emergency Management Tony Pearce, to publish an annual progress report on the implementation of all remaining Royal Commission recommendations and actions," Mr Wells said.
In addition to actively implementing all recommendations, the Minister said the State Government has driven the introduction of a suite of significant reforms to ensure Victoria is at the forefront of emergency management in Australia.
"The recently established Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) is now the overarching body responsible for ensuring Victoria is fully prepared for future emergencies and able to recover more quickly from their impacts," Mr Wells said.
"Led by Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley, EMV will oversee the implementation of these reforms, which are the most significant in more than 30 years."
The Government Response to the Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor 2014 Annual Report is available from the Emergency Management Victoria website at <http://www.emv.vic.gov.au/latest-news/government-response-to-brcim/>.
The Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor's July 2014 Annual Report is available from <http://www.bushfiresmonitor.vic.gov.au/>.