Emergency events do not stop at municipal borders

Published on 10 December 2013

The City of Greater Bendigo, Campaspe Shire, Loddon Shire and Mount Alexander Shire have signed an agreement to work together to effectively plan for emergency events across the municipalities.

The Shared Local Government Emergency Management Services Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was adopted on November 25, 2013 and outlines how each Council will develop and implement sustainable, standard emergency management processes.

Cluster Emergency Management Pilot Project Manager Julien Harrison-Rogers said the pilot will focus on prevention, preparedness, response, relief and recovery preparations across municipal boundaries.

“This will enable the pilot Councils to work together to provide improved services for affected residents before, during and after emergency events,” Mr Harrison-Rogers said.

“The MOU also allows for a more consistent approach to emergency management across the municipalities and expands the availability of specialist skills, knowledge and resources.”
 
The pilot program is in place for the next 16 months.
 
Loddon Shire Chief Executive Officer John McLinden said the signed MOU highlights each Councils’ willingness to work together to build central Victoria’s resilience in an emergency.

“The agreement is a great outcome that will also identify and capitalise on opportunities to avoid duplication, reduce costs and improve the efficiency of emergency management protocols across the participating municipalities,” John McLinden said.
 
“For example, in the event of an emergency in Loddon Shire, a roster can be developed that will allow staff from the various other pilot Councils to provide ongoing support.

“The MOU will also include an assessment of physical assets, like the location and layout of each municipality’s relief centres, to ensure they will all operate in a similar way and can be ready at any time.”

The Emergency Management Cluster Pilot Project for councils was initiated by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and funded through the Australian Government’s Natural Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme in recognition of the need for a more sustainable operations model for Victorian local government.

Cr Bill McArthur, MAV President, said the MOU would enable the four councils to work together across a range of emergency management responsibilities.

“Although councils already support each other during an emergency and the subsequent recovery period, this pilot aims to build greater capacity within councils to strengthen their emergency management capabilities,” Mr McArthur said.