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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 3 Hansard (18 March) . . Page.. 1074..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

same. During September-December 2008 significant issues pertinent to the ACT's governance arrangements for emergency management were identified during the refresh of the ACT emergency plan. This plan provides a basis for emergency management, including the coordination of emergency services agencies, other related ACT, state and commonwealth agencies, and the coordination of other entities.

The main issue identified was that the act is outdated. Consultation with key stakeholders across government revealed that emergency management governance arrangements in the ACT are subject to a number of inadequacies, inconsistencies and duplication of effort. Accordingly, the government requested a review of these governance arrangements, including the identification of relevant amendments to the act.

The review noted that the act has been in place for five years during which arrangements for emergency management, and for multijurisdictional cooperation and coordination, have evolved and developed. The review also noted there is ambiguity in the act surrounding the appointment, roles and functions of a territory controller, particularly given the requirement for a state of emergency to be declared in advance of such an appointment.

The review identified inconsistencies and overlaps between the role of the Emergency Management Committee and the revised committee structures supporting the Security and Emergency Management Committee of cabinet in leading the government's response to, and recovery from, an emergency. It was also considered inappropriate for those Emergency Management Committee members who are not ACT government officials to provide advice to the Security and Emergency Management Committee of cabinet or to a territory controller during an emergency.

The review concluded that current emergency management governance arrangements could be improved by clarifying roles, responsibilities and accountabilities; reducing duplication; establishing clear distinctions between supporting structures for planning, preparedness, response and recovery; and establishing a clear hierarchy of incidents and the related management structures. The government endorsed the review's recommendations and agreed that the act be amended to give effect to these recommendations, as appropriate.

The Emergencies Amendment Bill provides clarity to the current emergency management governance arrangements and to the roles and responsibilities of the relevant advisory bodies. The Emergency Management Committee will be abolished and its core functions transferred to the Security and Emergency Management Senior Officials Group.

The government has agreed that the Security and Emergency Management Senior Officials Group, with support from the Security and Emergency Management Planning Group, is to provide whole-of-government strategic policy advice to the Security and Emergency Management Committee of cabinet on protective security, counter-terrorism and emergency management. Both bodies comprise senior ACT government officials, with all relevant agency heads represented on the Security and Emergency Management Senior Officials Group.


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