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Open And Transparent: Planned Burning Audits

21 April 2016

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will implement further recommendations to improve their planned burning program, following findings of two additional independent audits in the wake of the Lancefield-Cobaw fire in October last year.

DELWP commissioned the audits following the independent investigation into the escape of the Lancefield planned burn on October 2 which made 22 recommendations on improving the department’s planned burning program.

The first of the two audits, which were part of extra commitments DELWP made in addition to the recommendations, looked at planned burn approval and oversight arrangements across the state.

It recommended DELWP improve its documentation of formal delegation of approvals, standardise its burn plan document formats and review its burn approval checklists.

The report also recommended that DELWP review its list of burn controllers and burn officers in charge after finding some burns had been approved by a controller or officer whose accreditation had expired.

The second audit examined the implementation of recommendations from previous reports into escaped planned burns between 2003 and 2015.

It found that in some cases reviews of planned burn escapes had not been undertaken and that of the 189 recommendations made from the investigations that did take place, 23 had not been actioned.

The auditors recommended stronger requirements to ensure burn escapes are investigated and strict processes to ensure these requirements are complied with.

DELWP has accepted all recommendations and committed to implement them by 30 September this year. This includes assessing all outstanding recommendations arising from the review of past planned burn escapes to determine if they remain relevant and should now be implemented.

Implementation of the 22 recommendations from the independent investigation into the Lancefield-Cobaw fire are on track and continue to be monitored by IGEM.

Both audit reports can be downloaded at www.delwp.vic.gov.au/lancefieldExternal Link

Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville

“Planned burning is not without risks but what occurred in Lancefield was unacceptable.”

“The Victorian public is entitled to expect the department has the best systems and procedures governing its burning program and that it fully implements the findings of any investigation into a planned burn escape.”

Quotes attributable to Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Secretary Adam Fennessy

“DELWP acknowledges it must address the issues identified in the audits and fully accepts all recommendations made by the auditors.”

“The department has set a deadline of 30 September this year to implement all recommendations as part of our commitment to ensuring the planned burning program best serves Victorian communities.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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