Published on : Tuesday, August 3, 2021
The councils across Victoria will receive more funding to help them prepare for and respond to emergencies, thanks to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.
An extra $1 million will be invested in the Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program, taking the total funding for Victoria’s 64 rural, regional and outer-metropolitan councils this financial year to $5.9 million.
The programme pays for planning, communication and co-ordination work to make sure communities are well prepared and resilient. The funding can be used for a variety of emergency planning work, including education for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in at-risk areas.
The grants can also be used to ensure that emergency work can be done in a COVID Safe environment.
Before, during and after emergencies, council responsibilities include supporting vulnerable people, running relief centres and enabling economic and social recovery, all while ensuring that important regular services continue to be provided.
The global pandemic and recent storms across the Yarra Ranges and in Gippsland have highlighted the key role that local government plays in supporting communities during emergencies.
The councils routinely use the funding to appoint an emergency management specialist, with some councils collaborating with neighbouring councils to fund a specialist position across their areas.
The councils’ extensive local knowledge and close connection to communities makes them a vital part of Victoria’s response to emergency events.
The Municipal Emergency Resourcing Program began in 2010 in response to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and provided funding for staff and programs to address the issues identified.
The minister for Local Government Shaun Leane said that with their local knowledge and close connection to people on the ground, Councils play such an important role in helping communities during emergencies – and they want to continue making sure they can do the critical work of supporting their communities.