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Australian Emergency Management Arrangements Handbook

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This Handbook has been updated to reflect legislative changes resulting from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommendations.

Under Australia’s constitutional arrangements, state and territory governments have primary responsibility for emergency management within their jurisdiction. However, all levels of government acknowledge that the impact of some emergencies could be particularly severe or widespread and exceed the capability of a single state or territory. Dealing with emergencies is not a matter for governments alone. Individuals, families and communities all play a role in determining how well they are prepared for and safeguarded from emergencies and their ability to recover from them.

The 2023 Australian Emergency Management Arrangements Handbook is an important development of national consequence for the EM sector. Through an engaged multi-jurisdictional process, the handbook has identified 11 core principles that underpin and guide emergency management activities.

The handbook describes the emergency management roles and responsibilities of all levels of government, non-government organisations (NGOs), businesses, communities and individuals. Arrangements and responsibilities for the comprehensive approach to emergency management - prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (PPRR) are discussed.

These arrangements support emergency management in Australia through the concepts of an 'all hazards' approach and 'shared responsibility'.

Australia’s emergency management arrangements bring together the efforts of all governments, and private and volunteer agencies to deliver coordinated emergency management across all hazards. These arrangements are also based on a high level of trust and cooperation between the community and emergency managers, as the result of common experiences dealing with disasters.

The Arrangements will be reviewed and reissued at least every three years or more frequently for major changes. The Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC) will oversee revisions and National Emergency Management Agency approves the publication of the Handbook.