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June 22
Office of Emergency Management (OEM) releases ground-breaking reports
  • First of their kind reports on how emergencies could possibly affect communities.
  • The culmination of extensive work involving 119 agencies and 406 participants.
  • Each report outlines the credible worst case risks posed to each district around Western Australia.
  • The reports can be used to inform mitigation options and expenditure priorities to build a more resilient state.


Access the risk assessment reports here.
June 15
​​​​​​​​​​​​Natural Disaster Resilience Program 2016-17 - Successful applicants for Natural Disaster Resilience funding announced
The Western Australian and Commonwealth governments have a National Partnership Agreement for Natural Disaster Resilience that delivers the National Disaster Resilience Program (NDRP). 
  
The NDRP aims to develop safer, sustainable and more resilient communities, better able to withstand the effects of natural disasters.  The current NPA provides $6.3 million over two years to WA and, with a matched contribution requirement, will result in $12.6 million of investment into natural disaster resilience in WA.  

WA has allocated NDRP funds to priority projects, including:
  • ​​State Risk Project - $3.1 million
  • State Capability Project - $700,000
  • Response and Capability Subcommittee - $100,000
  • Community Engagement Subcommittee - $100,000
  • Recovery Subcommittee - $100,000

The remainder has been allocated to the 2016-17 NDRP competitive grants round.

The 2016-17 competitive grants round attracted 41 submissions, requesting over $2.8 million.  All were carefully considered by the Assessment Panel before being endorsed by the State Emergency Management Committee.

The outcome of the 2016-17 NDRP round was announced by the Minister for Justice, the Hon Michael Keenan MP on 15 June 2017.  

June 12
​MEDIA STATEMENT - Bushfire Mitigation – Public Submissions

Public submissions open on 12 June 2017 and are due by 9 July 2017. Details regarding the submission process and terms of reference are available on the OEM's Bushfire Mitigation webpage.

Click hereto read full media statement.


June 02
Category C - recovery grants available for primary producers

Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and Western Australian Minister for Emergency Services Fran Logan MLA have announced that Category C measures are now available to help primary producers in the Shire of Lake Grace, the Shire of Ravensthorpe and the City of Swan.  

Read full Media Statement

What are Category 'C' measures?

Category 'C' measures relate to a community recovery package designed to support a holistic approach to the recovery of regions, communities or sectors severely affected by a natural disaster.

Grants are designed to provide assistance for clean-up, removal of debris, disposal of dead livestock and reinstatement.

Grants are paid as reimbursement for costs incurred for eligible activities. Primary producers need to pay for costs upfront and subsequently submit a request for reimbursement. If eligible, they may receive up to a maximum of $10,000 (standard) or $25,000 (exceptional circumstances).

The WANDRRA administrators identified the following recovery grants for the three affected local governments below:

  1. Shire of Lake Grace Standard recovery grants (i.e. up to $10,000) to a primary producer sector
  2. Shire of Ravensthorpe Standard recovery grants (i.e. up to $10,000) to a primary producer sector
  3. City of Swan Exceptional circumstances recovery grants (i.e. up to $25,000) to a primary producer sector

For further information, primary producers are encouraged to contact the Department of Agriculture and Food WA on 1800 198 231 or visit their WANDRRA webpage

May 23
Day Labour exemption - local governments to be fully reimbursed

​Overheads

The Commonwealth Government has confirmed that they will accept Western Australia's proposal to allow local governments to include overhead costs when using their own resources to undertake recovery works following a proclaimed disaster event.

This is excellent news for local governments as it enables them to be fully reimbursed when using their own labour for recovery works.

The previous Day Labour Exemption (9 May 2017) did not allow local governments to be fully reimbursed when using their own labour, as only salaries could be reimbursed. Now overheads, such as vehicle expenses, insurance and sick and holiday pay are covered.

It is important to note:

  • ​​This temporary exemption can only be utilised for events occurring since January 2017. Repairs to damage caused by prior events should already be well underway, given the damage is to an essential public asset. Main Roads and OEM will, however, review specific local government requests for prior events on a case by case basis.
  • An important requirement for​ this exemption is that all local governments demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of using their own labour, plant and equipment, compared to contractors.
  • Local governments must claim overheads in accordance with the local government legislation and the Australian Accounting Standards. 

 

Changes to the Temporary Framework

Since the release of the Temporary Exemption framework and supporting templates, the OEM has worked with users to review the documents and further streamline the process. The Supporting Guidelines and Templates on the OEM website have been updated. Guidance on the specific overheads can be found in the WANDRRA Gu​id​elines. If you have downloaded previous versions, please update your documents.

In the early development of the framework it was initially proposed that local governments would receive a 40% up-front payment once the estimate to repair damaged assets was agreed. Once 40% of work was complete an additional 40% would be provided, with a final 20% payment made upon completion of the works. This was referred to as the 40:40:20 payment.

This part of the framework cannot be implemented at this stage as the magnitude of the claims for up-front payments presents a significant issue and requires a comprehensive review. In addition, it was only intended for local governments' day labour and not work undertaken by contractors and as a result it creates an uneven playing field between contractors and local governments.

However, recognising the challenges for local governments in managing their cash flows, it has been agreed that, if required, local governments can make more frequent claims for the work done. This may be a monthly claim if it assists in the management of their cash flow. Main Roads WA and WANDRRA have also committed to processing payments to local governments as quickly as possible.

The new Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) are proposed to start in July 2018. Until then, the temporary exemption for labour, plant and equipment applies. This will provide an opportunity for Western Australia to test elements of the new system and provide feedback to the Commonwealth on any issues that are identified. Main Roads WA, WALGA and OEM will also meet regularly to monitor and review this system.

May 10
Day labour - Inclusion of overheads

The OEM has sent the Commonwealth a proposal for the inclusion of overheads under the temporary Day labour, plant and equipment exemption. 

The OEM is well aware of the urgency of this issue and endeavours to provide an update as soon as advice is received​ from the Commonwealth. ​​​

May 09
Day Labour, Plant and Equipment exemption approved
​​​The Commonwealth Government has approved the temporary exemption allowing Western Australia to seek reimbursement for the use of local government labour, plant and equipment when rebuilding damaged public assets.

Following the Flooding in Western Australia event, the OEM had requested an exemption to the standing day labour provisions to allow local governments to seek assistance to fund their own workforce when undertaking disaster reconstructions works on local government-owned assets. With this exemption, comes the assurance that the use of local governments will be better value than engaging external contractors.

The Commonwealth Government extended the exemption to also included  reimbursement for plant and equipment.   

The OEM-led working group comprising of Main Roads WA and WA Local Government Association have developed a Temporary Framework for Local Governments Reinstating Assets Framework and supporting guidelines and templates.

Visit the Labour, Plant and Equipment exemption page to learn more and access guidelines and templates. ​

Media releases:


April 28
State Recovery Coordinator visits the City of Swan on 27 April

The OEM's State Recovery Coordinator, Steve Joske CSC visited the City of Swan on Thursday 27 April 2017. We decided to ask him a few questions about his visit.

As State Recovery Coordinator, what was the purpose of your visit?

We know through the Department of Agriculture and Food WA's assessments that the Swan Valley region was badly affected by the flooding event in January and February 2017. The area renowned for its vineyards suffered major loss. I was keen to speak to the people involved in the recovery effort and see first-hand the damage to the valley and the long-term effects of the flood.

What were your observations?

I probably made three key observations.

The first was, I was astonished to see the flood levels indicators of how high the water level rose. It really makes you think about this huge body of water travelling through that area and the damage it causes.

Secondly, I was impressed with the fantastic job done by the City of Swan in restoring the damaged infrastructure. All bike paths and playgrounds have been repaired and if you were visiting the area for the first time, you probably would not realise that they had suffered such a big flood event.  

And lastly, I also reflected on the difference between a large local government like City of Swan compared to a smaller one like Lake Grace that I visited a few weeks ago, particularly in their capacity to respond to disasters. Although regional WA knows how to deal with rural challenges in a resilient manner, it really does highlight that smaller local governments cannot restore their areas as fast as the larger ones and most will require additional help when affected by a disaster. The City of Swan are highly capable to respond to disaster and to recover quickly, and I congratulate all those involved.

Who did you meet?

I was pleased to meet with City of Swan Mayor Mick Wainwright, CEO Mike Foley and Executive Manager Community Wellbeing Mr Mark Bishop. It was a great opportunity to see how proud they were of the way their community recovered from the flooding and the City's ability to get back to normal.  As a local government they have received a lot of positive feedback from the recovery of this event. We spoke about disaster recovery planning in general and their top priority hazards.

I also visited the affected areas including Bells Rapid in Brigadoon with City of Swan officers: Mr Heath Stenton and Mr Ian Robertson.


From left: City of Swan CEO, Mike Foley, Mayor Mick Wainwright and Steve Joske,
CSC



 City of Swan officers showing Steve Joske the affected areas. 


What was the City of Swan's impression of the OEM?

The Mayor and CEO were very complimentary about our work and the service before, during and after, particularly the service provided by the OEM's District Advisor Ms Merveen Cross. The OEM has District Advisors servicing all emergency management districts in WA. Their role in recovery is to be my 'eyes and ears' on the ground. They provide valuable intelligence as well as advice and assistance in all aspects of recovery. Merveen is obviously highly respected and valued by the team at City of Swan.


The swollen Swan River during floods.

April 21
State Recovery Coordinator to visit City of Swan on 27 April
​State Recovery Coordinator, Steve Joske, CSC, will visit City of Swan on 27 April. Accompanied by Office of Emergency Management EM District Advisor, Merveen Cross, Steve will meet with a number of City of Swan officers, including the Mayor and CEO.

The visit will enable Steve to discuss ongoing matters relating to the flooding event, as well as an inspection of affected areas.

Steve Joske:

"These visits are vital to my role. This visit to the City of Swan follows my recent visits to the shires of Lake Grace and Ravensthorpe, where I benefited from not only seeing the flood damage but also from hearing the local stories behind the damage. Hearing the stories gives context to all we do in recovery. I'm sure the stories from the Swan Valley will be poignant, as the damage has been significant."  ​

April 10
State Recovery Coordinator visits flood affected areas
​The State Recovery Coordinator, Steve Joske, CSC, visited the flood affected areas of Lake Grace and Ravensthorpe from 6-7 April 2017. Steve was accompanied by the Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) District Adviser for the Great Southern Emergency Management district, Adam Smith.

They first visited Lake Grace and held meetings with the Shire CEO, Denise Gobbart. Discussions were held around the effects of the flooding event on primary producers, road infrastructure and the community. Steve spoke about the implementation of WANDRRA; access issues to critical roads that are still inundated with flood waters; and the progress towards resolving the use of local governments’ workforce to assist in restoring critical infrastructure caused by flood damage.

In Ravensthorpe, a morning meeting was held with the Shire CEO, Ian Fitzgerald, and the Acting Shire President, Peter Smith. Similar discussions in regards to flooding damage were conducted. Steve, Ian and Peter then met the Minister for Local Government, Hon David Templeman MLA, and travelled with the Minister to inspect two specific sites severely damaged in the event. The Minister and Steve then met with the Shire of Ravensthorpe Local Government Councillors where community concerns were raised, particularly the plight of Hopetoun where the inability for tourists to enter the State Park had impacted local businesses and affected morale.

Steve then travelled with the Minister to Esperance, whereby the Minister was briefed on issues regarding the heritage listed pier. Steve discussed local recovery arrangements post the tragic November 2015 bushfires and the current flooding event.

"It was important to see first-hand the damage the flooding event has caused in Lake Grace and Ravensthorpe and to hear directly from CEOs, councillors, primary producers and community members about the effects of the flood on local business and community welfare. This has been the largest flooding event in WA. The catastrophic damage will take many months to recover from and cost millions of dollars. I was inspired by the determination of the local community to resume their everyday lives, work and business as soon as possible, while still recognising that the flooding had deeply affected families, businesses, community and industry. The OEM is working closely with local governments, various state government agencies and the Commonwealth Government to expedite the recovery measures for the flood affected communities across the State," Steve said on his return to Perth.

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