The Victorian State Government has stepped up its response to the recommendations of the Bushfire Royal Commission with an investment in refuges and protection plans.
Premier John Brumby announced a $500,000 grant to the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) to help councils prepare Township Protection Plans (TPPs) and to identify Neighbourhood Safe Places (NSPs) ahead of the next bushfire season.
Brumby said he recognised the continuing pressures councils were facing following the February bushfires and that the funding would give them access to additional resources to protect their communities.
“The funding is available for councils to ensure their Municipal Emergency Management Plans and Municipal Fire Prevention Plans are revised and updated to an appropriate standard,” he said.
“It would also help in the identification of Neighbourhood Safer Places in the areas of high bushfire risk.
“Importantly, it will provide additional resources to ensure adequate community input to identify the community’s strengths and vulnerabilities.
“This should involve the tapping of local knowledge and proper assessment of local risks.”
Brumby said preparing for the coming bushfire season would require all governments and communities to work together.
“We need to put in place the right measures to ensure if there is a fire, the response is well coordinated and lives and property are best protected,” he said.
Local Government Minister Richard Wynne said every council in Victoria employed Municipal Emergency Resource Officers (MEROs).
“These trained staff helped significantly during and immediately after the February fires and the funding we are announcing today will allow councils to release these staff to communities in the bushfire zones as they develop their crucial preparedness and protection plans,” he said.