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Recommendation 17: Improve the dissemination and understanding of emergency information

Find out what the government is doing in response to this recommendation from the IGEM Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian bushfire season: Phase 1 report.

The actions on this page are identified in the Victorian Government responseExternal Link to Recommendation 17 from the IGEM Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian Fire Season - Phase 1 reportExternal Link .

IGEM Recommendation 17: Dissemination of information

The Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) recommends that Emergency Management Victoria – in collaboration with the emergency management sector – develops and implements processes to ensure greater dissemination and improved understanding of information for all Victorians, and visitors to Victoria, in an emergency event. This should consider but not be exclusive to individuals who:

  • are not familiar with Victoria and its environment
  • find it difficult to understand and respond to emergency information
  • are socially or geographically isolated.


Action 17.1: Enhance the VicEmergency app and website to better accommodate the needs of our diverse communities

Emergency Management Victoria will enhance the VicEmergency app and website to better accommodate needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities ahead of the 2020-21 fire season.

Action 17.2: Review and update the warnings and advice messages to communities to reflect findings of inquiries

Before the 2021-22 financial year, Emergency Management Victoria in collaboration with agencies, will review and update:

  • the Victorian Warning Protocol
  • Joint Standard Operating Procedure 4.01 - Public Information and Warnings
  • other guidelines and documentation

to incorporate the findings of the Inspector-General for Emergency Management Inquiry.

Action 17.3: Lead opportunities for Commonwealth funding of the Emergency Alert platform for non-English speaking communities

Victoria will continue to take the lead in working with other states and territories to agree to, and seek national funding for, enhancements to the Emergency Alert platform. These enhancements will allow translation into languages other than English to better reach Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities.

Action 17.4: Investigate options for disseminating critical information across a range of emergencies in multiple languages

The Victorian Government will investigate options for disseminating critical information across a range of emergencies in multiple languages, building on lessons learned from both the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

Enhancements will improve translation capabilities (such as better pre-formed messaging and using more symbols where appropriate) and accessibility, including text-to-voice opportunities.

Action 17.5: Partner with the Commonwealth Government to strengthen telecommunications resilience for isolated communities

Victoria will look to partner with the Commonwealth and target its $37.1 million package to strengthen telecommunications resilience in socially and geographically isolated communities in bushfire and disaster-prone areas.

This could include investment in upgrading alternative power sources and improving NBN satellite services in rural and country fires services and designated evacuation areas.

Action 17.6: Upgrade and modernise the VicTraffic App

To support dissemination and improved individual and community awareness of the impacts, disruptions and closures to the road network due to emergencies, the Department of Transport will seek funding to upgrade and modernise the VicTraffic App.

This will enable integration with existing modern digital platforms to:

  • create centralised, up-to-date disruption information and journey planning
  • meet surge demand during emergencies
  • support individuals and communities to make timely decisions about their safety, including those unfamiliar with road networks.

An update on these actions can be found in IGEM's progress reportExternal Link

Reviewed 05 August 2022

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