An independent report outlining the Coalition Government’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission (VBRC) was tabled in State Parliament today.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan welcomed the report from the Bushfire Implementation Monitor Neil Comrie AO APM and said its findings would guide the Coalition Government’s ongoing implementation measures.
This important report provides a comprehensive assessment of the Coalition Government’s progress against nearly 300 action items identified in its 2011 Implementation Plan,” Mr Ryan said.
“It is pleasing to see the report notes that 35 VBRC recommendations have now been completed, along with hundreds of implementation actions across government departments and agencies.
“Some of the biggest achievements to date include the establishment of the Bushfire Buy-Back Scheme and the formation of a $750 million package over 10 years to reduce the risks of electricity assets.”
Mr Ryan said the report acknowledged that significant progress had been made in delivering VBRC recommendations and better preparing Victoria for the risk of bushfires.
“In his report Mr Comrie says ‘the state has made very good progress in meeting its commitments under the Implementation Plan*’,” Mr Ryan said.
“He also highlights the benefits of work that has already been done saying ‘there is clear evidence that Victoria is now substantially better prepared on a regular basis for bushfire risk than at the time of Black Saturday*’.
“This is very encouraging feedback that recognises the enormous efforts of many people involved in delivering VBRC recommendations.
“The report also identifies some areas where more work is required, which will be a key focus of the Coalition Government over coming months as part of ongoing implementation actions.”
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government was steadfast in its commitment to implementing all 67 recommendations of the VBRC and to helping protect Victorians from the impact of bushfires.
“To ensure there is continued independent oversight of implementation actions, the Coalition Government has extended the role of the Implementation Monitor for a further two years until 30 September 2014,” Mr Ryan said.
“This will enable Mr Comrie to produce two annual reports, to be tabled in Parliament, that continue to assess implementation activities, including the longer-term recommendations.”
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government thanked Mr Comrie for undertaking this significant task and for his commitment to ensuring Victoria is better prepared for bushfires.
The report is available on the Implementation Monitor’s website: http://www.bushfiresmonitor.vic.gov.au.
Media contact: Clare Siddins 0429 507 541