New body to manage emergency servicesMonday December 10, 2012 - 15:14 EDT
The Baillieu Government will establish a new overarching body to manage Victoria's emergency services sector.
Emergency Management Victoria will ensure that all agencies and departments work together and share resources before, during and after an emergency.
The emergency management white paper signals the most extensive overhaul of Victoria's emergency management system in three decades.
Deputy Premier Peter Ryan says an all-agencies approach to natural disasters will help better protect Victorians.
"We can do much better as a state when we are faced with a major threat if we can bring all of those enterprises together to make sure we have the one consolidated approach against whatever the threat may be, fire, flood or otherwise," he said.
Mr Ryan says the white paper, which will be released today, includes 25 recommendations and has arisen from the bushfires royal commission and the Neil Comrie flood review.
But the Opposition spokeswoman, Jacinta Allan, has dismissed the shake-up.
"Labor's record in Government was to strongly support our fire services with more resources, new fires stations and new equipment.
"What we've seen, after just two years of [the] Baillieu [Government} is they've ripped $66 million out of our fire and emergency services."
Mick Tisbury of the United Firefighters Union says the idea sounds fine on the surface, until you dig a little deeper.
"What has been leaked to us is that one of the recommendations is reducing the number of firefighters on shift at night time," he said.
"I wish I did have a crystal ball so I could tell you when people are going to have heart attacks.
"They're trying to run the emergency service like a business. We're not a business, we're an emergency service."
© ABC 2012
More breaking news
Victorians who experience breathing difficulties or asthma have been advised to take extra care this evening, with a cool change and thunderstorms predicted for the state.
Two homes in south-east Queensland were destroyed by fire during yesterday's super cell storms, which also overturned caravans and saw a teenager struck by lightning.
Saturday's storms produced large hail, intense rainfall and destructive winds to several locations across southeast Queensland as two large storms rolled over in quick succession.