John D'Orazio

John D'Orazio

Former Minister for Police and Emergency Services; Justice; Community Safety

    State strengthens emergency response powers

    1/03/2006 10:59 AM
     
    1/3/06

    Western Australia is now better prepared to respond to emergencies ranging from fires and floods to terrorist attacks.

    Emergency Services Minister John D’Orazio said a new era in emergency management had begun with the implementation of Western Australia’s Emergency Management Act 2005.

    Today, Mr D’Orazio told more than 200 representatives of local government and key Government agencies about how the Act would strengthen their capacity to respond to emergencies.

    “When disaster strikes in our community, people rightly turn to Government for help, protection and the restoration of order,” the Minister said.

    “Cyclone Clare and the Greenough and Lake Grace floods earlier this year, the Perth Hills fires in 2005 and the Tenterden and Bridgetown fires in 2003, remind us that such emergencies are a part of our life.

    “Emergencies such as these present a significant cost to communities through loss of life and damage to property and to the environment.

    “Now, for the first time, emergency response agencies and local governments will have certainty in emergency management in WA.

    “Previously, we operated using arrangements made under policy statements that were not underpinned by any legislation.”

    Mr D’Orazio said the legislation also provided legal protection to emergency services personnel acting in good faith while serving their community.

    He said other benefits of the Act, in a declared emergency situation, included:
    • providing access to ‘time critical’ powers such as the power to take control of premises for evacuation centres, or to evacuate people who were threatened by, or had been affected by an emergency, such as a flood or storm surge;
    • protecting volunteers from employment victimisation because they had responded in a time of emergency;
    • giving local governments appropriate powers and protection under legislation, while providing civic leadership and guidance and support to those affected by an emergency; and
    • enabling welfare agencies to obtain and share essential information during times of need.
    Mr D’Orazio said the powers conferred by the Act could only be exercised in prescribed circumstances and by designated persons, and might be further limited by regulation.

    More information on the Emergency Management Act 2005 roll-out is available in the State Emergency Management menu on FESA’s website at http://www.fesa.wa.gov.au

    Minister's office: 9213 7150