Victoria's Inspector-General for Emergency Management has recommended state agencies work together to fix the cross-border issues that caused problems during the summer bushfires.
Tony Pearce spoke to bushfire victims and other community members in the Upper Murray and Alpine areas, including at community meetings in Corryong and Wangaratta in March.
His phase 1 report was tabled in Victorian Parliament this week, after being provided to the Emergency Services Minister in July.
The report noted there was no formal arrangement between states when it came to emergency management, and the response instead relied on "personal relationships".
"Cross-border communication and coordination for evacuation for towns close to borders was also raised as an issue," Mr Pearce said.
"A lack of clarity in the information provided meant that some community members were confused, and the information did not provide them with enough guidance as to where they should go, or what supports were available to help them to evacuate."
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But he found there was no tension between the Victorian and NSW agencies, rather "evidence of collaboration and cooperation", as they fought the fires that jumped the state border.
"There were sometimes inconsistencies in the information and advice provided in each state, including variations in the application of roadblocks or traffic management points.
"Another major issue was that initially the fire maps in warnings for each state stopped at the border.
"This was corrected during the fire season, but each state still issued separate maps."
Mr Pearce also noted Dinner Plain was given conflicted evacuation warnings on January 4, leaving residents confused by messages telling them to go west to Wangaratta then east to Omeo.
"Community members in Dinner Plain believe they were lucky as the wind changed and the town survived," he said.
"They talk about the 'town still being in shock' and that they 'dodged a bullet' with these fires."