Our role in emergency events

DEECA responds to a range of emergencies across Victorian communities, such as those impacting the environment, water and energy. These emergencies often relate to major impact events such as bushfires, floods and/or storms.

We work with our portfolio partners Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and VicForests to control fires on and around public land. Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) is made up of skilled staff from DEECA and these partner organisations.

We also work with emergency management partners including CFA, VICSES, Fire Rescue Victoria and Emergency Management Victoria to help prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency events.

DEECA is the Recovery Coordinating Agency for:

  • Bushfire damage on public land
  • Energy services
  • Water and waste-water services
  • Natural environment, wildlife and threatened ecosystems and species
  • Public land and waterways
  • Transport – public land roads, bridges, tunnels
  • Buildings and assets – planning, building or assets owned by DEECA.

How we help the community

We work with a range of partners including local communities, Traditional Owners, and business and government agencies to help Victoria prepare for, respond to and recover from emergency events.

Over the past decade or so, bushfires have resulted in millions of dead or severely damaged hazardous trees in Victoria. Together with Parks Victoria, we are working to make areas safe after an emergency, prioritising clearing strategic roads, fire breaks, recreation sites, dams and helipads across Victoria’s public land.

DEECA and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) also help farmers repair and restore fences damaged by bushfires and replenish essential private water supplies that have been used by fire services during bushfire emergencies.

Learn more about Forest Fire Management Victoria and its recovery initiatives.

Following an emergency disrupting Victorian energy services, we:

  • work with the Australian Energy Market Operator and energy industry to restore energy services to normal
  • work with other Government Departments to ensure the safety of power-dependent customers and provide safety and wellbeing guidance to vulnerable Victorians
  • work with energy industry and different levels of government to help affected Victorians with targeted support for extended outages and other relief initiatives.

Learn more about energy in Victoria, how to prepare for energy disruptions, and support available after an energy emergency.

Alongside other government agencies and water corporations, we help:

  • restore reticulated (piped) water supply
  • restore reticulated wastewater (sewerage) services
  • replace essential stock and domestic water used for firefighting operations (with CFA).

Learn about managing dams and water emergencies.

Along with other government agencies, we take care of:

  • surveying and protecting threatened bird, marsupial, aquatic and plant species
  • monitoring the rehabilitation of injured wildlife
  • restoring natural habitats
  • provide scientific and technical advice on ways to maintain species diversity within an ecosystem.

Learn about Victoria’s biodiversity response and recovery.

Together with Emergency Management Victoria, we help municipal councils coordinate clean-up and restoration activities on local roads and council-owned community infrastructure. Alongside partner agencies, we are the recovery lead agency for:

  • erosion control of public land (with Parks Victoria and Department of Transport)
  • restoration, clearing and rehabilitation of public land and assets managed directly by DEECA, Parks Victoria or Catchment Management Authorities (CMAs)
  • providing advice to councils, public land managers and community groups (with CMAs)
  • waste pollution management strategies.

Emergencies often have a large impact on our built environment and cultural heritage. Through our recovery work, we:

  • assess, protect and rehabilitate cultural and heritage sites (with Parks Victoria)
  • work with Traditional Owners to support recovery of cultural assets of value to support First Peoples’ connection to Country
  • help communities rebuild after bushfires, storms and floods through a streamlined planning process.

Learn about Heritage Victoria’s Emergency and Bushfire Recovery Program.

Learn about how to rebuild after bushfires, and after storms and floods.

Our recovery programs

Emergency recovery can be a long process due to the vast impact. For example, more than 7,000 kilometres of park and forest roads, almost 200 recreation sites and more than 300 walking tracks were affected by the severe weather events in June and October 2021.

Storm and flood recovery work

The 2021 June and October storms and floods impacted approximately 3.3 million hectares across Victoria, including 1.97 million hectares of public land managed by DEECA and our portfolio agencies. This is a snapshot of our work up to the end of April 2022 within the Energy, Environment and Climate Change portfolios, led by regional crews and Forest Fire Management Victoria personnel, to make these areas safe to access and enjoy once again.

Cultural Heritage Assessment
  • 198 Aboriginal Heritage Places assessed in partnership with First Peoples.
Bridges and crossings
  • 53 of 88 bridges and crossings were repaired and reinstated.
  • Detailed assessments and values checking is ongoing at impacted sites across the state.
  • 5,664 km of 7,280 km (78%) park and forest roads reopened to the public.
Storm debris
  • 5,787 km of public land roads were cleared of hazardous trees posing safety risks to the community.
Access to emergency services
  • 93% of the impacted strategic fire access network reopened to provide critical access to emergency and firefighting services.
Visitor assets
  • 186 of 217 (86%) recreation sites and 147 of 174 (84%) walking tracks were made safe and fully reopened.
Habitat provision
  • Hollows have been carved and nesting boxes installed for threatened species, including Greater Glider, Powerful Owl and Brush-tailed Phascogale, in areas where storms damaged habitat.
Lady Talbot Drive
  • Treatment of hazardous trees is underway and will be complete by 30 June 2022.
  • Following the annual seasonal road closure, road and walking track improvements will be complete by December 2022.
Protection of native fish
  • Works have been conducted to restore aquatic fish barriers to prevent invasive fish species and preserve river health and native fish populations. This includes undertaking surveys to understand the status of existing fish populations and assessing how they can be protected in future flood events.
Energy restoration
  • Over 336,000 customers reconnected after the June event.
  • 50% within 3 days and 100% within 27 days.
  • Over 750,000 customers reconnected after the October event.
  • 50% within 2 days & 100% within 12 days.
Emergency energy supply
  • 186 generators were deployed after the June storms and 27 generators were deployed after the October storms to provide essential energy supply.
Yallourn Energy Management
  • Engineering assessment of the Morwell River Diversion completed. Planning to safeguard the Yallourn Power Station against future flood events is nearing completion.

Recovery from storms and floods continues one year on

Storm recovery infographic

Other resources

Visit the following websites for:

Page last updated: 06/12/23