Review of the Wye River and Separation Creek Fire Recovery

Review of the Wye River and Separation Creek Fire Recovery


Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) is an integral part of the broader emergency management sector and shares responsibility with a range of agencies, organisations and departments for ensuring the system of emergency management in Victoria is sustainable, effective and community-focused.

The review sought to improve the management of recovery phases for future incidents

EMV commissioned Nous to conduct an independent review of the recovery phase of the Wye River and Separation Creek bushfire that occurred between December 2015 and January 2016. The Wye River and Separation Creek fire became the first opportunity for EMV to apply a new approach for managing recovery that focused on being highly responsive to community needs.

The Nous review sought to identify, and better understand, the key lessons and insights from the experience of the recovery phase of the Wye River and Separation Creek fire, and the specific implications for the management of the recovery phase for other incidents.

We synthesised information from a diversity of sources to develop robust insights

The review focused on the experiences of residents, local business owners, community organisations, industry, and local and state government agencies involved in the recovery. To draw out key insights from these diverse sources, we collected information using a range of methods; triangulated evidence to substantiate findings; and synthesised these into clear and actionable recommendations.

We developed insights and recommendations drawing on:

  1. Document review – we reviewed a wide range of reports, minutes, and plans
  2. Interviews – we interviewed 38 key stakeholders included community members, local business owners, community organisations, industry and local and state government
  3. Community survey – we conducted an online community survey to gain broad insight across the community
  4. Community forum – we tested preliminary insights from the above three sources with the community

The review will improve community-focused recovery by refining the State’s approach to recovery governance and community engagement

The State is currently undergoing reform to relief and recovery, aimed at developing a more community-centred approach to managing recovery from incidents. Key insights from the Nous review will be integral in informing this reform by highlighting considerations for community-focused decision-making and engagement.

What you can learn from Emergency Management Victoria:

  • Communities are unique, requiring bespoke solutions and deep engagement
  • When conducting a review, ensure a broad range of stakeholders are consulted including those with differing experiences
  • Successful implementation requires a shared understanding of objectives and plans among all collaborators.