The Bushfires Program
In September 2010, the Bushfire Preparedness Program 2010-11 and the Royal Commission Implementation Program combined to become the Bushfires Program.
The Program has overseen actions in response to the 67 recommendations of the Royal Commission and changes resulting from the new Bushfire Safety Policy Framework including:
- producing new localised Township Protection Plans for high risk communities
- establishing 155 new divisional command locations
- appointing Regional Commanders in each of CFA’s eight regions
- issuing more than 2,000 additional pagers to CFA’s volunteers
- updating the FireReady Victoria and Community Fireguard projects
- updating all critical community education publications in line with the Bushfire Safety Policy Framework
- establishing a program of personalised advice to property owners on bushfire preparedness
- identifying 178 Neighbourhood Safer Places/Places of Last Resort
- improving our children’s education program
- expanding the One Source One Message (OSOM) tool to include the Victoria State Emergency Service
- creating a new Operational Communications Strategy to be delivered under the Radio Communications
For a full list of projects under the auspices of the Bushfires Program see Actions in Response to the 2009 Victoria Bushfires Royal Commission Recommendations.
The Bushfires Portfolio Management Office (BPMO) is responsible for reporting to the Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor on CFA’s progress in implementing the actions set out in the Victorian Government’s Implementation Plan. By year’s end, the BPMO had supplied information on more than 100 activities undertaken in relation to Royal Commission recommendations.
At the end of September 2010, CFA wound up the 2009 Fires Taskforce that was set up after the Black Saturday fires to coordinate the overall organisational support for the Royal Commission and any other matters arising from the 2009 fires, such as Coronial Inquests, criminal prosecutions and civil actions. The activities of the Taskforce were integrated into normal business arrangements.
Civil Class Action
In February 2009, a civil class action was commenced against SPI Electricity Pty Ltd (SPI) by a member of the class who suffered loss in the Kilmore East fire.
In September 2010 SPI joined CFA as a defendant in the class action, together with the State of Victoria (Victoria Police), Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and the electricity asset inspection service provider. SPI claims that CFA breached a legal duty of care to suppress the fire and to issue warnings. In January 2011 the plaintiff joined CFA, DSE and the State of Victoria (on behalf of Victoria Police) as defendants and made the same claims against CFA as SPI does. The hearing of the matter has been set down for July 2012 in the Supreme Court of Victoria.