State Emergency Management Arrangements

The South Australian Government has primary operational responsibility for response to an emergency or disaster in South Australia. South Australia is committed to the COAG recommendation to fundamentally shift the focus of emergency management beyond response and reaction, to anticipation and mitigation. In doing so, South Australia has also adopted the National Principles of Disaster Recovery that identify recovery as integral to emergency preparation and mitigation.


The Emergency Management Act 2004 establishes the framework for the management of emergencies in South Australia.

The Act provides for the establishment of the:

Emergency Management Council 

The Emergency Management Council is a committee of Cabinet chaired by the Premier and comprising Minister for Police, Minister for Transport, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Emergency Services and Minister for State/Local Government Relations.

The committee's objective is to ensure the adequacy of the State Emergency Management Plan, disaster preparedness and mitigation arrangements of government for all disasters (natural or man-made) and to ensure overarching strategic coordination of emergency management arrangements across the State.

Emergency Management Structure in South Australia

State Emergency Management Committee 

The State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) reports to the Emergency Management Council (EMC) and is chaired by the Chief Executive, Department of the Premier and Cabinet. SEMC provides leadership and oversight of emergency management planning in the State. The functions and powers of the Committee are further outlined in Section 9 of the Emergency Management Act 2004.

The State Emergency Management Committee has established the following Advisory Groups that report to SEMC and provide an oversight role in the areas of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

  • State Mitigation Advisory Group (Chair, SAFECOM)
  • State Response Advisory Group (Chair, SA Police)
  • State Recovery Committee (Chair, Department for Families & Communities)
  • State Public Information and Warnings Advisory Group (Chair, SAFECOM)
  • Emergency Management Assurance Advisory Group (Chair, DPC)

State Emergency Management Plan 

The Emergency Management Act 2004 requires the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) to prepare and keep under review the State Emergency Management Plan. The State Emergency Management Plan (and sub-plans) comprise strategies for the prevention of emergencies in the State. Also for ensuring that the State is adequately prepared for emergencies, including strategies for the containment of emergencies, the coordination of response and recovery operations and the orderly and efficient deployment of resources and services in connection with response and recovery operations.

A copy of the State Emergency Management Plan is available here