Response and Recovery

State Coordinator and Coordinating Agency 

The Emergency Management Act 2004 identifies the South Australia Police as the coordinating agency for all emergencies. The State Coordinator is the person for the time being holding or acting in the position of Commissioner of Police.

The coordinating agency has the following function in relation to an emergency:

(a)   to consult with the relevant Control Agency and take action to facilitate the exercise by the Control Agency of functions or powers in relation to the emergency; and
(b)   to determine whether other agencies should be notified of the emergency or called to the scene of the emergency or otherwise asked to take action in relation to the emergency; and
(c)   to exercise any functions assigned to the coordinating agency under this Act or the State Emergency Management Plan.

For example, whilst the Control Agency is taking action to combat the hazard and protect life and property, the Coordinating Agency is coordinating the broader support functions provided by Functional Services such as logistics support, media, medical services and relief measures such as Emergency Relief Centres and temporary accommodation.

The State Coordinator must, as soon as practicable after a declaration of an identified major incident, a major emergency or a disaster under the Act, appoint an Assistant State Coordinator to exercise powers and functions in relation to recovery operations. 

Declarations of Emergencies and Special Powers  

Major Incident

If it appears to the State Coordinator that the nature or scale of an emergency that has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur is such that it should be declared to be an identified major incident, the State Coordinator may declare the emergency to be an identified major incident. A declaration of an identified major incident remains in force for a period not exceeding 12 hours.

Major Emergency

If it appears to the State Coordinator that the nature or scale of an emergency that has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur is such that it should be declared to be an identified major emergency, the State Coordinator may declare the emergency to be an identified major emergency. A declaration of an identified major emergency remains in force for a period not exceeding 48 hours and may, with the approval of the Governor be renewed or extended.

Disaster

If it appears to the Governor that a major emergency has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur and the Governor is satisfied that the nature or scale of the emergency is, or is likely to be, such that it should be declared to be a disaster, under Section 24 of the Emergency Management Act 2004 the Governor may declare the emergency to be a disaster. The declaration remains in force for 96 hours and may be renewed or extended on the authority of a resolution of both Houses of Parliament.

Assistant State Coordinator- Recovery

The State Coordinator must as soon as practicable after a declaration of an identified major incident, a major emergency or a disaster under the Act, appoint an Assistant State Coordinator to exercise powers and functions in relation to recovery operations. 

Control Agencies  

The Control Agency assumes overall direction of emergency management activities in an emergency situation. Authority for control carries with it the responsibility for tasking and coordinating other organisations in accordance with the needs of the situation.

 

Emergency Incident Control Agency/Agencies
Aircraft accident SA Police
Animal, plant and marine disease Department of Primary Industries and Resources SA
Bomb threat SA Police
Earthquake SA Police
Fire (rural and metro) SA Country Fire Service and SA Metropolitan Fire Service
Flood State Emergency Service
Food/drinking water contamination Department of Health
ICT failure Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure
Fuel, gas and electricity Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure
Hazardous or dangerous materials SA Country Fire Service or SA Metropolitan Fire Service
Siege/hostage SA Police
Human epidemic Department of Health
Marine transport accidents SA Police
Oil Spills -marine and inland waters Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure
Rail accident SA Police
Road/transport accident SA Police
Search and rescue- land and sea SA Police
Search and rescue- structure SA Country Fire Service or SA Metropolitan Fire Service
Severe weather State Emergency Service
Terrorist incident SA Police

Disaster Recovery

The Emergency Management Act 2004 defines recovery as:

"any measure taken during or after an emergency to assist the normal pattern of life on individuals, families and communities affected by the emergency and includes:

-          restoration of essential facilities and services:

-          restoration of other facilities and services necessary for the normal functioning of a community:

-          the provision of material and personal needs; and

-          the provision of means of emotional support."

Planning for recovery is integral to preparing for emergencies. In South Australia, the State recovery planning processes are a collaborative effort between state government, local government, non-government organisations and the community.

The State Recovery Plan and arrangements are underpinned by a series of National Recovery Principles published by the Community and Disability Services Ministers' Advisory Council that comprise the following six key concepts:

  • Understanding the context: successful recovery is based on an understanding of the community context.
  • Recognising complexity: successful recovery acknowledges the complex and dynamic nature of emergencies and communities.
  • Using community led approaches: successful recovery is responsive and flexible, engaging communities and empowering them to move forward.
  • Ensuring coordination of all activities:successful recovery requires a planned, coordinated and adaptive approach based on continuing assessment of impact and needs.
  • Employing effective communication: successful recovery is built on effective communication with affected communities and other stakeholders.
  • Acknowledging and building capacity: successful recovery recognises, supports and builds on community, individual and organisational capacity

State Recovery Committee

The State Recovery Committee is a standing committee that meets bi-monthly and reports to the State Emergency Management Committee. In line with the National Recovery Principles, disaster recovery in South Australia embraces the physical, environmental and economic elements as well as psychological wellbeing.  

After a major incident or emergency, a special meeting of the State Recovery Committee is called. Depending on the event, not all members of the standing State Recovery Committee will be called; membership will be reflective of the event and will include local representation, for example the local Mayor and/or Council Chief Executive.

After a declaration of an identified major incident, major emergency or disaster, Section 16(2) of the Act requires the State Coordinator to appoint an Assistant State Coordinator - Recovery to exercise powers and functions in relation to recovery operations.  The Assistant State Coordinator - Recovery will advise the Emergency Management Council and State Emergency Management Committee of strategic issues arising from the recovery operation.

Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA)

The NDRRA Arrangements recognise that natural disasters often result in large-scale expenditure by state and territory governments in the form of disaster relief and recovery payments, and also infrastructure restoration.  To assist with this burden, the Commonwealth Government through COAG has made arrangements to provide financial assistance to states and territories in certain circumstances through the NDRRA cost share arrangements.

Aligned with the vision of building safer and more sustainable communities, the NDRRA arrangements recognise the value of building greater resilience into disaster reconstruction and rebuilding programs. If an asset can be restored to a more disaster resilient standard and it can be shown to be cost effective, the NDRRA provides specific cost share arrangements for betterment initiatives under NDRRA.

For more information visit the Emergency Management Australia website by clicking here