Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Simon Corbell, today announced the passing of legislation to give the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Commissioner clearer powers of direction in emergency situations in the Territory.
"This law will strengthen coordination between emergency services agencies by refining existing management arrangements, by putting the ESA Commissioner at the forefront to provide a centralised role," Mr Corbell said.
The Emergencies (Commissioner's Directions) Bill 2012 followed findings and lessons learned from recent disasters in Australia that highlighted the necessity of having a centralised and coordinated approach to emergency events.
"We found that the need for robust arrangements for high-level control throughout all stages of a significant emergency was a critical component of effective emergency response," Mr Corbell said.
"While the existing functions of the emergency services commissioner provided for overall strategic direction of emergencies, these laws would give the commissioner the necessary authority to give direction to chief officers during an emergency event.
"Clarity and timely decision making is fundamentally important during emergency situations, and this will now extend to the commissioner's role in giving the emergency services a strong, cohesive, strategic and operational direction."
Mr Corbell said that under the changes, the ESA Commissioner may direct a Chief Officer to provide additional resources to ensure the optimum capability of the Territory is made available to respond.
"In the case of the ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Fire & Rescue, ACT Rural Fire Service and the ACT State Emergency Service, the amendment brings the ACT into line with arrangements in Victoria and NSW for high level control and coordination during an emergency," he said.
"This refinement ensures that our emergency services agencies are further strengthened to provide the Canberra community with an effective multi-agency response to future emergency events."
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