MUNICIPAL FIRE PREVENTION

MUNICIPAL FIRE MANAGEMENT

Section 55A of the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (Vic) (CFA Act) requires each municipal council to prepare a municipal fire prevention plan. The municipal fire prevention plan must identify the areas within the municipality that are at particular risk of fire, and address the treatment of those risks, including assigning responsibility for treating the risks. Pursuant to s. 54 of the CFA Act, the CFA has the power to appoint a regional fire prevention committee for each of the CFA regions. This committee must consist of members from the local CFA brigades, any industry brigades, and representatives from the municipal council, including the fire protection officer. A purpose of the committee is to advise and assist the municipal council in preparing a municipal fire prevention plan.37

The Latrobe City Council Municipal Fire Prevention Plan October 2011 was prepared by Mr Lance King, Latrobe City Council Coordinator of Emergency Management, with input from numerous stakeholders, including International Power (Hazelwood).38 Authorities and organisations in the municipality that had their own fire plans were listed in this Municipal Fire Prevention Plan.39

The Municipal Fire Prevention Plan has since been superseded as a result of the introduction of Integrated Fire Management Planning (discussed below).

In addition to fire planning, s. 43 of the CFA Act imposes a duty on every municipal council and public authority to take all reasonable steps to prevent the occurrence of fires, and minimise the damage of the spread of fires, on and from any land vested in it or under its control or management, and any road under its control or management. The Hazelwood mine does not occupy land vested in or controlled by the Latrobe City Council, nor is it a public authority. The Hazelwood mine is therefore not subject to obligations under s. 43 of the CFA Act. It is however subject to s. 41 of the CFA Act, which entitles the fire prevention officer at the Latrobe City Council to serve fire prevention notices on an owner or occupier of land if there is a basis for such a notice. Under s. 41D of the CFA Act, it is an offence not to comply with such a notice.