I have been asked multiple times by building owners and occupiers about the law regarding the operation of an occupant warning system or emergency warning system in Victoria given the introduction of changes in the legislation effective December 1, 2012.
In summary, in Victoria, it is an offence to damage or interfere with a fire indicator panel or other apparatus that transmits the alarm signal to the fire services without reasonable excuse.
The Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) state the offence provisions are:
In respect to this article, the main purposes of the changes to the Country Fire Authority Act 1958; and the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act 1958 are to “reflect current organisational arrangements and clarify the command structures applying at fires, to increase penalties and create new offences to mitigate risks that undermine effective emergency response and community safety and to modernise outdated provisions”
In Victoria The Building Regulations (Vic) 2006 (the Regulations) will end on 6 June 2016 to meet the requirements under section 5 of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994. Regulations are evaluated every 10 years to check if they are still relevant or should be changed. This is known as ‘sun-setting’.
The regulations are being evaluated by two Government departments, together with relevant industry stakeholders;
From 1 July 2013, the Victorian Government will require councils throughout Victoria to collect a Fire Services Property Levy on their behalf in conjunction with their standard property rates.
Currently, insurers are required to contribute to the cost of operating the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and the Country Fire Authority. The insurance industry passes the cost of this contribution on to policy-holders through an amount in their insurance premiums, known as a fire services levy.
Emergency Services Legislation Amendment Act 2012 (Vic) was proclaimed in Victoria on December 1, 2012.