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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 August 2021) . . Page.. 2253 ..


the actions taken in relation to coordination and training activities with New South Wales and commonwealth agencies, including the Australian Defence Force. I would like to thank the standing committee for its report, and I provide members with the following information.

The ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) has always maintained strong cross-border relationships with all of their operational counterparts as well as the services available nationally through the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) and has a long working relationship across government at a variety of levels to enhance emergency coordination across the ACT-New South Wales border and between the ACT and Australian governments.

To formalise arrangements with external organisations and agencies, the ESA has several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and mutual aid agreements (MAAs) which are reviewed regularly to strengthen the working relationships with cross-border and national counterparts.

Whilst an MOU is the overarching agreement and provides general guidance to services in regard to operations, coordination, liaison and communications, MAAs outline the operational response to fires and they highlight how operations will be conducted when both jurisdictions are involved. Moreover, MAAs cover the working arrangements when a fire has the potential to cross jurisdictional boundaries.

The ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) maintains a good, productive working relationship with their cross-border colleagues. This is formally facilitated through an MOU with the New South Wales Rural Fire Service as well as a complementary local MAA.

Similarly, ACTRFS has an MOU with the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service which outlines the operational working arrangements between our two agencies. This MOU also promotes cooperation between the agencies involved in fire detection and suppression.

The ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES) has an MOU with the New South Wales State Emergency Service which outlines the operational response to storm and flood events, and specifically when assistance may be required from the New South Wales SES south-eastern zone. However, currently the ACTSES is working with the New South Wales SES on the development of a cross-border operations procedural guide, which will cover the working arrangements in more detail.

Each year members across ESA and from within its operational services take part in joint training with their cross-border counterparts to enhance operational skills, practice the use of specialised equipment and share knowledge.

ACT Fire & Rescue have worked closely with Fire and Rescue NSW to participate in various training, including structural firefighting and operational driver training. By sending members of ACT Fire & Rescue to New South Wales, our frontline firefighters are able to continue learning new skills as well as share the lessons with local firefighters through local training opportunities.


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