The Emergency Management Act 2005 (EM Act) allows the prescription of Hazard Management Agencies (HMAs). HMAs are prescribed due to their functions under written law or because of their specialised knowledge, expertise and resources in respect to a particular hazard. HMAs will nearly always be responsible for leading a response to an emergency in relation to the type of hazard for which they are prescribed.
A combat agency or support organisation may also be prescribed because of the agency's function under a written law or because of specialised knowledge, expertise and resources in dealing with a particular type of hazard or emergency management activity. They will work alongside and at the direction of the relevant HMA in response to an emergency and undertake the specific emergency management activities or support functions for which they are prescribed.
Hazards are defined in both the EM Act and the EM Regulations to include specific events. Currently there are 27 prescribed natural and man-made hazards.
Hazards are managed by designated Hazard Management Agencies (HMAs), which includes:
Agriculture Director GeneralArc Infrastructure Pty LtdChief Executive Officer, Department of HealthChief Executive Officer, Department of TransportCommissioner of PoliceCoordinator of EnergyFire and Emergency Services CommissionerPublic Transport Authority
The term 'HMA' is used in the context of identifying the agency responsible for specific actions as detailed within the EM Act, such as:
Declaration of an emergency situationAppointment of Hazard Management OfficersPreparing, reviewing, and amending State Hazard Plans (Westplans)
Other responsibilities associated with appointment as a HMA are listed in Appendix A of the State EM Policy.
The table below displays the prescribed hazards, the Hazard Management Agency, the associated organisation and the controlling agency:
For more information about these prescribed hazards, visit our hazards pages.
The term 'controlling agency' is used to refer to an agency nominated (through legislation other than the EM Act or by agreement with the HMA) to control the response activities to an emergency. The controlling agency appoints an Incident Controller and may convene an Incident Support Group if required.
Combat Agencies and Support Organisations
A combat agency or support organisation may be prescribed because of the agency's function under a written law or because of specialised knowledge, expertise and resources in dealing with a particular type of hazard or emergency management activity. They will work alongside and at the direction of the respective HMA or controlling agency in response to an emergency and undertake the specific emergency management activities or support functions for which they are prescribed.
There are a number of support services that enable HMAs to undertake their role effectively and on which HMAs are dependant. Support services that are considered to be of greatest significance are welfare and health. At times of major emergency there are often large numbers of people displaced and/or injured. The effectiveness of the manner in which these groups are dealt with is critical to the level of State preparedness.
The Department of Communities is prescribed as a support organisation responsible for the support function of providing welfare services under r. 32 of the Emergency Management Regulations 2006 (EM Regulations). The Department provides a range of services (such as emergency food and clothing, providing counselling services and a range of other personal support services).
The Department of Communities has a number of key organisational, human and infrastructure capacities required to effectively deliver emergency welfare services, including access to trained specialist staff and human resources, regional offices and staffing with established human services community networks, and physical infrastructure such as vehicles and emergency response kits.
One of the major requirements in an emergency is the provision of welfare services to those who have been displaced, disadvantaged or had their lives and/or livelihood disrupted. The Department of Communities coordinates agencies that have capacity to assist in delivering emergency welfare services through the State Welfare Emergency Management Committee (SWEC).
The arrangements for welfare services in Western Australia are set out in the State Emergency Welfare Plan and it’s annexes of Reception, Registration and Reunification and Disaster Information Support and Care Centre.
Healthcare is defined in the emergency management context as a support function to a range of disasters. While the Chief Executive Officer, Department of Health has a role as a HMA for specific Hazards (human epidemic, spillage/release/escape of a biological substance, heatwave), the Department of Health's principal emergency management role is providing health support to HMAs in dealing with human injuries and illnesses that arise from emergencies, including mass casualties.
As such, the Department of Health support remains a key function, which is appropriately represented on both the State Emergency Management Committee and State Emergency Coordination Group. Health activities may commence during or after the response to an emergency and, in some cases, as part of recovery, may continue for months to years.
In support of the Department of Health, St John Ambulance (WA) is a prescribed combat agency responsible for the emergency management activity of providing health services in the pre-hospital setting.
The arrangements for health emergency response in Western Australia are set out in the EM Act, EM Regulations, and the State Health Emergency Response Plan.