State and Territory authorities have a constitutional responsibility, within their boundaries, to plan for, prepare and respond to disasters and emergencies.

During extreme situations, a 'state of emergency' may be declared to facilitate the high-level coordinated response required at that time. A state of emergency is a government declaration that may:

  • Suspend certain normal functions of government.
  • Alert the community to the situation and request they alter their normal behaviours.
  • Order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans.
  • Suspending certain civil liberties during periods of civil disorder.
  • All levels of government in Australia maintain appropriate emergency response plans. Emergency Management Australia is responsible for the preparation and maintenance of Australian Government emergency management plans. These are available on the Attorney-General's website.

Australian Government Emergency Management Plans

The ACT Government also has plans and arrangements for dealing with a broad range of potential hazards. While these tend to be developed along hazard-specific lines, viewed together they form an “all-hazards” framework for emergency management.