Changes to improve ACT bushfire response

Released 27/08/2020

The ACT will be even better prepared for emergencies following legislative changes to implement recommendations from a review of the 2019-20 Bushfire Season.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman said the Government had accepted all 35 recommendations from the review conducted by ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Deputy Commissioner Ray Johnson to improve our emergency management system.

“Changes to the Emergency Act 2004 streamline and clarify the appointment, function and powers of the emergency controller and will help foster a culture of continuous improvement,” Minister Gentleman said

“The maximum period an emergency controller may be appointed has been extended from seven to 28 days when a state of emergency has not been declared. There is no limit on how long an emergency controller may be appointed during a state of emergency.

“The changes will also allow for the appointment of a deputy emergency controller. We have seen the enormous strain on emergency controllers in 2020. This support role will provide them with backup and relief when needed.

“The ESA worked with the Human Rights Commission to strengthen the human rights framework that deal with the power exercised by the emergency controller.

“The ACT weathered an extraordinary bushfire season in 2019-20. I would like to thank all our volunteers and agencies who did a phenomenal job to ensure there was no loss of life in the Territory.”

The Chief Minister and Minister for Police and Emergency Services can now revoke any emergency declaration and the appointment of the emergency controller if they decide it is no longer necessary.

The emergency controller must advise the Chief Minister and Minister for Police and Emergency Services at least every seven days about the status of the emergency and if the declaration of the state of alert or emergency is still necessary.

- Statement ends -

Section: Mick Gentleman, MLA | Media Releases

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