Bushfire Relief Strategy

The Bushfire Relief Strategy supports the recovery of schools affected by the 2019/2020 bushfires and strengthens the planning, response and recovery management within our learning communities.


More than 250 schools throughout the state were either directly impacted or were in close proximity to fire-affected areas.

In February 2020, the department established a Bushfire Relief Strategy directorate to ensure schools affected by the recent fires were supported in their recovery and to develop a strategy that enhanced the preparedness of schools for future bushfire seasons.

Aim of strategy

The aim of the Bushfire Relief Strategy is to address the department’s approach to improving the planning, preparedness and response of our learning communities to natural disaster, while keeping our staff and students safe and well and ensuring educational continuity. The objectives of the strategy are:

  • to provide direction, support and resources for students, staff and communities recovering from the 2019/2020 bushfires
  • to deliver effective, equitable health and wellbeing support to students and staff impacted by the bushfires
  • to improve the department’s ability to manage and respond to bushfire emergencies, including effective coordination with relevant agencies while enhancing the leadership capabilities across the department
  • to pioneer and align a whole of system approach to bushfire and disaster management that provides short, medium and long-term priorities and deliverables to support learning communities and department service and support functions.

The Bushfire Relief Strategy consists of 3 phases spanning a period commencing in 2020 and progressing through to 2023. The phases are guided by the vision, mission, purpose and principles.

Bushfire Relief Strategy Framework

Department of Education Strategic Plan 2018 – 2022

To be Australia’s best education system and one of the finest in the world

Bushfire Relief Strategy links to department goals

  1. Every student is known, valued and cared for in our schools
  2. Every student, every teacher, every leader and every school improves every year


To empower our schools and communities with the confidence and ability to respond to bushfire or other emergency situations.


Learning communities are safe, connected and thriving.


To establish, implement and embed a clear, flexible and sustainable whole system approach.

Guiding principles

  • Prioritise and support staff and student safety and wellbeing
  • Increase and safeguard educational outcomes
  • Promote diversified, scalable and contextualised initiatives for learning communities
  • Build leadership capability and accountability for impact
  • Leverage proactive and responsive communication
  • Collaborate with local, state and national emergency efforts
  • Orchestrate a whole of department plan of action

Phase 1 – 2020/21

Respond, Recover and Prepare

  • Resolve immediate recovery needs and support schools
  • Increase support and implement initiatives to increase preparedness for next bushfire season
  • Respond to needs during bushfire season
  • Develop broader strategy and framework

Phase 2 – 2021/22

Respond, Review and Strengthen

  • Respond to and support schools and communities
  • Reinforce and embed changes
  • Identify gaps and improvements, and review program (Phase 3)
  • Expand strategy to a broader disaster recovery relief strategy

Phase 3 – 2022/23+

Respond, Improve and Transition

  • Respond to and support schools and communities
  • Transition broader Disaster Relief Strategy into business areas consistent with agreed operating model
  • Transition interagency management and collaboration to appropriate business areas

Strategic enablers

Communication, Change Management, Professional Learning, Capability Building, Technology, Policies and Processes

Department values

Excellence, Equity, Accountability, Trust, Integrity, Service


  • Health and safety

Business Unit:

  • Communication and Engagement
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