To assess whether responsible agencies are effectively working together to reduce Victoria's bushfire risk.
Victoria is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world. The increasing severity of weather conditions in Australia and across the world may lead to even greater bushfire risk in the future.
While it is not possible to eliminate the threat of bushfires, the Victorian Government plays a key role in reducing the risk of bushfires and their impact on people, property and the environment.
In 2013, the Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor concluded that the previous planned burning target of five per cent of public land to reduce bushfire risk was not achievable, affordable or sustainable. The Inspector General of Emergency Management agreed and recommended that the government replace the hectare-based target with a risk reduction target that measures the impact of fuel management activities on the overall risk of bushfires.
Fuel management is the main method of managing bushfire risk, as reducing the leaves, bark, twigs and shrubs that fuel bushfires can reduce their intensity and make them easier for firefighters to control. Fuel management includes planned burning, that is, lighting and managing fires in the landscape at times of the year when bushfire risk is lower. Other fuel management treatments include mowing, mulching and applying herbicides.
In 2015, the Victorian government accepted the Inspector General of Emergency Management's recommendation. From 1 July 2016, a statewide target to maintain bushfire risk at or below 70 per cent of Victoria's maximum bushfire risk was implemented. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's 2017–18 Fuel Management Report estimates the state's bushfire risk at 66 per cent.
This audit will examine whether responsible agencies are effectively and efficiently reducing the state's bushfire risks.
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Department of Justice and Community Safety (Emergency Management Victoria), Energy Safe Victoria, Murrindindi Shire Council, City of Whittlesea and East Gippsland Shire Council.