Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Doesn’t Understand Home Confinement, Movements and Gathering Direction

Is asking for clear communications on what is expected from the Government asking too much? On top of all of the failures from the Queensland Government with the Covid-19 Pandemic including their refusal and/or inability to identify which suburbs are the worst affected, now the Premier shows she doesn’t understand the laws nor their purpose and cannot explain what an area or what a local is.

Any decent politician would know that having clear rules is essential to public support during this time but QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk fully supports the issuing of infringement notices based on an undefined definition of a local or an area. Why not ensure that the rules (that have changed multiple times even within hours of being put in place) are well communicated and clear?

The discussion around the Gold Coast beaches and locals and areas starts at 5:51 and is with the QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Channel Nine’s Karl Stefanovic and Ally Langdon.

Our frontline workers are in the battlefield

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Ally asks the Premier about the beaches on the Gold coast because “..we’re told they’re closed but you can exercise. Does that mean you can swim.”

Ok Ally, the Mayor made the decision to close the beaches, the three beaches on the Gold Coast. He spoke to me about it and I backed him in his decision, uhm, they’ve also closed the car parks. What he is saying is if you are local, you are allowed to go for a walk, but if you are not local you should not be coming down to the beach to do your exercise. You should be doing your exercise in your local area.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – Such a weird message.

Such a clear message and …

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – So if someone is not a local and they’re in the area anyway… they can’t even go to the beach but a local can. What’s the point of it?

Why should they be in the area Karl, why should they be in the area. If you’re not local, why should you be in the area?

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – maybe they were there before the lock down.

You can’t be on holiday. There’s no holidays.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – What if you’re across the road, what if you’re five kms away can you go for a walk on that same beach, what if you’re six and not exactly in that area. This is where it falls down.

Well if you’re a local you should be able to go, there is nothing wrong with that. If you’re in the Gold Coast area you should be able to go for a walk around your local area. I don’t think we can get caught up in technicalities here. What we need to say very clearly is that now is not the time for a holiday. If you live locally, go and walk locally. If you don’t live locally, stay in your suburb and celebrate family… celebrate Easter with your family.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Ally – So that is a no to swimming in the ocean even if you’re a local? Right?

Look no, my understanding is that if you are a local that you’re allowed to go for a swim and come out. But you would have to talk to the Mayor about that, he’s made the rules about the beaches on the Gold Coast.

QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Karl – I’d be interested to see what the definition of a local is.

The worst part about this interview is that the QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shows no concern that the laws are not clear, does not understand herself the basics of the laws that she is promoting and is giving incorrect and misleading information.

Scenarios that she clearly cannot fathom include

  • People from other areas, states or countries that are in that area at a hotel or family members residence. According to the Premier these people cannot go to the beach at all.
  • More to come soon.

The Public Health Direction states clearly that one of the permissible reasons you may leave the house is to exercise (see the full directive at the end of this article).

Home Confinement requirements in Queensland
6. A person who resides in Queensland must not leave their principal place of residence except for, and only to the extent reasonably necessary to accomplish, the following permitted purposes:
c. to engage in physical exercise;

There is no definition of area nor local, it does not say you cannot drive to the area, or walk, or catch a bus or anything else. It says that you can leave your residence to engage in physical exercise.

Anyone who is issued a Penalty Infringement Notice under these circumstance should consider appealing the decision by following the instructions on the rear, if that appeal fails, all you have done is given yourself more time to pay if you don’t want to appeal this in court.

Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction

Summary

Effective from: 11.59pm on 2 April 2020

Posted: 2 April 2020

Direction from Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

Section 362B

On 29 January 2020, under the Public Health Act 2005, the Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services made an order declaring a public health emergency in relation to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health emergency area specified in the order is for ‘all of Queensland’. Its duration has been extended by regulation to 19 May 2020 and may be further extended.

Further to this declaration, l, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, reasonably believe it is necessary to give the following directions pursuant to the powers under s 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

Preamble

  1. This Public Health Direction replaces the following Public Health Directions:
    1. the Home Confinement Direction given on 29 March 2020;
    2. the Mass Gatherings Direction (No 2) given on 21 March 2020;
    3. the Restrictions in Private Residences Direction given on 27 March 2020.
  2. This Public Health Direction is to be read in conjunction with other Public Health Directions issued under section 362B of the Public Health Act 2005 that have not expired or been revoked.

Citation

  1. This Public Health Direction may be referred to as the Home Confinement, Movement and Gathering Direction.

Revocation

  1. The following Public Health Directions are revoked effective from 11:59 pm on 2 April 2020:
    1. the Home Confinement Direction given on 29 March 2020;
    2. the Mass Gatherings Direction (No 2) given on 21 March 2020;
    3. the Restrictions in Private Residences Direction given on 27 March 2020.

PART 1 — DIRECTION – HOME CONFINEMENT, MOVEMENT AND GATHERING

  1. This direction applies from 11:59 pm on 2 April 2020 until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless it is revoked or replaced.

Home Confinement requirements in Queensland

  1. A person who resides in Queensland must not leave their principal place of residence except for, and only to the extent reasonably necessary to accomplish, the following permitted purposes:
    1. to obtain food or other essential goods or services;
    2. to obtain medical treatment or other health care services;
    3. to engage in physical exercise;
    4. to perform work or volunteering, or carry out or conduct an essential business, activity or undertaking, and the work, business activity or undertaking to be performed is of a nature that cannot reasonably be performed from the person’s principal place of residence;
    5. to visit another person’s residence in accordance with paragraph 9;
    6. education and early childhood workers may travel to and from their home centre over the term 1 break;
    7. to visit a terminally ill relative or to attend a funeral or wedding, subject to any applicable restrictions under other relevant Public Health Directions;
    8. to provide assistance, care or support to an immediate family member;
    9. to attend any court or tribunal of Australia or to comply with or give effect to orders of the court or tribunal of Australia;
    10. to attend a childcare facility, school, university, or other educational institution, to the extent care or instruction cannot reasonably be obtained in the person’s principal place of residence;
    11. to assist with or participate in an investigation or other action by a law enforcement authority, whether voluntarily or not;
    12. for children under 18 years who do not live in the same household as their biological parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings, continuing existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children and siblings, but not allowing access or contact with vulnerable groups or persons;Example of a vulnerable group or person – a person over 70 years or a person with a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19
    13. avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm;Example – escaping a risk of harm related to domestic and family violence
    14. to comply with or give effect to the exercise of a power or function of a government agency or entity under a law.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 2 persons or with members of household

  1. Subject to paragraph 8, a person who leaves their principal place of residence for a permitted purpose under paragraph 6 may be accompanied by members of their household or, alternatively, by no more than one person who is not a member of their household.
  2. If a person requires physical assistance to leave their principal place of residence or it is reasonably necessary for the safety of the person or the public, and there is no other reasonable way for a purpose under paragraph 6 to be achieved, a person may be accompanied by more than one person who is not a member of their household and who is a carer or support worker for that person.Example – a person with a disability may be accompanied by more than one carer or support worker.

Receiving up to 2 visitors at a residence

  1. Subject to paragraphs 10 to 12, a person who is an owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of a residence may allow up to two visitors who are not ordinarily members of the person’s household.Examples of visitors – Family members and close friends
  2. Paragraph 9 does not prevent workers or volunteers entering a place of residence and they are not counted as visitors for the purpose of paragraph 9.
  3. Paragraph 9 does not apply to a residential aged care facility, corrective services facility or detention centre.Note – The Aged Care Direction given on 21 March 2020 and the Corrective Services Facility Direction given on 22 March 2020 restrict visitors to those facilities. Other Public Health Directions may be made applying to other types of facilities.
  4. Paragraph 9 does not apply to a residence of a person with disability if it is necessary for more than two people to attend the residence to provide services to the person with disability to meet their support needs.
  5. An owner, resident, tenant, occupier, temporary occupier or person in control of premises, including a residence, must take reasonable steps to encourage occupants of, and visitors to, the premises to practise social distancing to the extent reasonably practicable.

Gatherings in non-residences

  1. A person who owns, controls or operates premises, other than a residence, must not organise or allow a gathering to occur on the premises.

Exemptions

  1. The Queensland Chief Health Officer may grant an exemption to part or all of these directions on compassionate grounds or for other exceptional circumstances.

Definitions

  1. Corrective services facility has the same meaning as in the Corrective Services Act 2006.
  2. Detention centre has the same meaning as in the Youth Justice Act 1992.
  3. Essential business, activity or undertaking means a business, activity or undertaking that is not prohibited by the Non-essential business, activity and undertaking Closure Direction (No.4), or its successor, or another Public Health Direction.
  4. Essential goods or services are food and other supplies, and services, that are needed for the necessities of life and operation of society, such as food, fuel, medical supplies, and other goods.
  5. Household means persons who ordinarily live at the same residence, including if family or kinship customs or cultural obligations have the effect of a person living across multiple residences.
  6. Indoor space means an area, room or premises that is or are substantially enclosed by a roof and walls, regardless of whether the roof or walls or any part of them are:
    1. permanent or temporary; or
    2. open or closed.
  7. Gathering, subject to paragraph 23, means:
    1. a gathering of more than two persons in a single undivided outdoor space at the same time; or
    2. a gathering of more than two persons or more in a single undivided indoor space at the same time.
  8. Gathering does not include a gathering:
    1. at an airport that is necessary for the normal business of the airport;
    2. for the purposes of or related to public transportation, including in vehicles or at public transportation facilities such as stations, platforms and stops;
    3. at a medical or health service facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facilities;
    4. for the purposes of emergency services;
    5. at a residential aged care facility or residence of a person with a disability, that is necessary for the normal business of the facility or residence;
    6. at a prison, correctional facility, youth justice centre or other place of custody;
    7. at a court or tribunal;
    8. at Parliament for the purpose of its normal operations;
    9. at a food market, supermarket, grocery store, retail store or shopping centre that is necessary for the normal business of those premises;
    10. at a workplace, including but not limited to an office building, factory, manufacturing facility, resource extraction, mine or mineral processing facility, utilities or construction sites that is necessary for the normal operation of those premises;
    11. at a school, university, educational institution or childcare facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility;
    12. at a hotel, motel or accommodation facility, such as a worker camp, that is necessary for the normal operation of accommodation services;
    13. at a wedding or funeral permitted under the Non-essential business, activity and undertaking Closure Direction (No. 4), or its successor, or another Public Health Direction;
    14. at an outdoor place where persons may be present for the purposes of transiting through the place;Example – Queen Street Mall
    15. at an indoor place where persons may be present for the purposes of transiting through the place;Example – Central Station
    16. specified as exempt from this direction by the Chief Health Officer in writing.
  9. Outdoor space means a space that is not an indoor space;
  10. Premises has the same meaning as in Schedule 2 of the Public Health Act 2005, and also includes land and vessels.
  11. Principal place of residence means:
    1. for a person who permanently resides in Queensland, the residence where the person ordinarily resides.
    2. for a person who temporarily resides in Queensland, the residence where the person ordinarily resides when the person in present in Queensland.
  12. Residence means premises used, or intended to be used, as a dwelling or mainly as a dwelling, and includes the land on which the residence is situated, and includes:
    1. a single detached dwelling;
    2. each of one or more attached dwellings that are separated by a common wall;
      Examples for paragraph (b) — villa unit, townhouse, terrace house, row house, unit in an apartment block.
    3. a manufactured home as defined in section 10 of the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2003;
    4. a caravan as defined in section 7 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008;
    5. any other building or structure situated on the same land as the premises or dwelling.
      Examples for paragraph (e) – shed, pool house, carport, granny flat. But does not include a corrective services facility or detention centre.
  13. Residence does not include a residential aged care facility, corrective services facility or detention centre.
  14. Residential aged care facility means a facility at which accommodation, and personal care or nursing care or both, are provided to a person in respect of whom a residential care subsidy or a flexible care subsidy is payable under the Aged Care Act 1997 of the Commonwealth.
  15. Resident has the meaning given in section 14 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.
  16. Social distancing includes remaining at least 1.5 metres away from other persons, regular washing of hands and avoiding handshaking.
  17. Tenant has the meaning given in section 13 of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008.

PART 2 – PENALTIES

A person to whom the direction applies commits an offence if the person fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with the direction.

Section 362D of the Public Health Act 2005 provides:

Failure to comply with public health directions

  • A person to whom a public health direction applies must comply with the direction unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
  • Maximum penalty—100 penalty units.

Dr Jeannette Young
Chief Health Officer
2 April 2020

Published on the Queensland Health website at 2 April 2020, 11.35pm

Gladys Berejiklian creates Resilience NSW to cover up Incompetence

The first sentence from Gladys Berejiklian’s press release sums up the levels of idiocracy in our three levels of Government. World-Leading means what exactly? When was the last time someone with a brain said that an Australian Government at any level was “World-Leading”, had planned or prepared for anything from a disaster to growth?

This new agency didn’t just pop up overnight yet there is very little information about it, they have hired 150-200 staff at a cost of $30 million just in wages alone but aside from a press release and a few media interviews no information is forthcoming.

The Press Release

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced the creation of a new NSW Government agency, Resilience NSW, which will drive world-leading disaster preparedness and recovery approach for the NSW community.

This follows Commissioner Fitzsimmons’ retirement after decades of service in the RFS, including 12 years as its leader.

Ms Berejiklian said NSW is proud of Commissioner Fitzsimmons’ role during the recent bushfire season and for his outstanding service over many decades to the RFS.

“The NSW community has shown extraordinary resilience in the face of many disasters – bushfires, drought, flood and now the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We know the next six months will be very difficult but we must already turn our mind to recovery.

“Through Resilience NSW we will re-double our efforts to prevent, prepare and recover from crisis which impact NSW.”

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said he was honoured to have the opportunity to continue to serve the people of NSW in this vital new role, and to work alongside the leadership of the state’s combat agencies.

“Resilience NSW will lead the whole-of-government prevention, preparedness and recovery effort. It will oversee and coordinate emergency management policy, service delivery and all aspects of disaster recovery at a state, national and international level,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“There was never a more important time to make sure that communities devastated by drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 are getting the help they need to rebuild and recover.”

NSW Media Release | 6th of April 2020

The Incompetence of government

The NSW community has shown extraordinary resilience in the face of many disasters – bushfires, drought, flood and now the COVID-19 pandemic

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian | NSW Media Release | 6th of April 2020

Without any doubts all of these so called disasters were exacerbated because of a combination of incompetence and lack of planning by the Local, State and Federal Governments. How an additional layer of bureaucracy will fix issues that run deep into other areas of government is beyond idiocracy.

  • Bushfires were so widespread mainly because of cutbacks to the hazard management in NSW.
  • Drought is down to poor planning and the failure to build dams when you have doubled the population in most places of Australia.
  • Flooding is often exacerbated because of poor planning and allowing homes to be built in inappropriate areas, poor maintenance of stormwater and lack of infrastructure to get rid of flood water quickly from built up areas.
  • Covid-19 is a sterling example from the NSW Government given they allowed the Ruby Princess passengers to disembark in the middle of the night with no checks. Of the 2,700 passengers that disembarked, over 700 were infected and at least fifteen have died (at the 8th of April 2020) and these passengers have travelled all over Australia. This was a failure at the Federal Government level as well but nearly all the blame must lie with the State Government who is responsible for health. A criminal investigation is underway but no doubt the people responsible will be promoted or moved sideways into a new agency or department.

The Agencies Mandate

Resilience NSW will lead the whole-of-government prevention, preparedness and recovery effort. It will oversee and coordinate emergency management policy, service delivery and all aspects of disaster recovery at a state, national and international level

NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons | NSW Media Release | 6th of April 2020

Prevention, Preparedness and Recovery

According to Shane Fitzsimmons the new agency will not only be about prevention but also preparedness and recovery.

Prevention

Does this suggest they will be ordering the building of infrastructure such as dams and stormwater infrastructure? What about ordering hazard reduction in forests? And stopping housing development in low lying flood prone areas? If not how will they PREVENT anything from happening?

Given that the departments and agencies already responsible for these areas are supposed to be responsible how does an additional agency identify these areas? Who is responsible for the failures as now there will be multiple departments and agencies responsible and no doubt finger pointing will ensue.

Preparedness

Preparation entails knowledge of the areas that you are responsible for, this new agency is responsible for everything from a Pandemic to Cyber Security to Drought to Flooding to Fire and beyond.

How will it be in a position to ensure preparedness for the local, state and federal governments to respond when required?

Recovery

Recovery is another vast area and this one agency is going to be responsible for all types of recovery from Cyber Attacks, Pandemics, Drought, Floods to Fires and more. How will it be able to recover when local government resources are required? All levels of government already show they cannot work together particularly when different parties are in power in different levels of government.

State, National and International

Further Shane Fitzsimmons said the new agency will oversee and coordinate emergency management policy, service delivery and all aspects of disaster recovery at a state, national and international level.

State

This is ok as they are a state government agency but will they have the power to direct councils at the local government level?

National

Will Resilience NSW have the power to order other states and the Federal Government what to do? If not this is just fanciful thinking.

International

Exactly what will a “World-Leading” NSW Agency have to offer other countries let along believe that they will be engaged with overseeing and coordinating emergency management policy, service delivery and “all aspects” of disaster recovery?

Staffing

Staffing is currently 150-200 at the outset. Allowing for all the staffing costs and the numerous senior staff that will be involved and working off the 200 staff figure x $150,000 and you have a cost in wages along of $30,000,000 per annum and this will likely double or triple in the months to come to approach $100 million per annum. Add in office space in the CBD, vehicles, infrastructure and travel and this is becoming a $200 million agency but time will tell as no details have been released.

The team itself is probably about 150 people, less than 200 people at the moment

NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons

Infrastructure

Is the agency Resilience NSW going to outsource it’s infrastructure to cloud providers as required by the NSW Government or run everything in house? Given it’s role includes Cyber attacks on infrastructure, logic would suggest it would run it in house so an attack on the poorly secured infrastructure in Australia would not see it cut off from it’s information.

As usual this information is not available.

Alternatives to the Resilience NSW Agency

There are multiple departments and agencies that should or do perform the roles of the new Resilience NSW Agency.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet

The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) leads the NSW public sector to deliver on the NSW Government’s commitments and priorities.

Our mission is to enhance the lives of the people of NSW by driving priorities, brokering outcomes and delivering programs and services.

We support the NSW Premier and Ministers by:

– carrying out a coordinated policy, project and reform agenda that boosts the efficiency, productivity and effectiveness of NSW
– partnering with NSW Government agencies, as well as the private, not-for-profit and academic sectors, to ensure that services are delivered on time, within budget and to the community’s expectations
– coordinating the initiatives of Ministers and their agencies to achieve the government’s targets
– managing the passage of government legislation
– supporting the delivery of major projects
– coordinating and planning significant state events
– working with the federal government and other state and territory governments on national reforms.

About the Department | Department of Premier and Cabinet Website

The Minister for Emergency Services

What exactly does the Office of Emergency Management do?

Looking at the OEM it appears that they do everything the his new agency is going to do and more. They already have a minister responsible (even if he did take a European holiday in the middle of the bush fires in NSW).


St​ate Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC)

This section is directly from the Office of Emergency Management Website on the 7th of April 2020.

When an emergency occurs that is not under the control of a Combat Agency (as defined in the State Emergency Management Plan​), the State Emergency Operations Controller (SEOCON) assumes control. The SEOCON is supported in this role by the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC).

The SEOC has the necessary staff and communications equipment to control the emergency operation. When an emergency occurs that is under the control of a Combat Agency the SEOC may support that agency in controlling the emergency.

Roles of the State​ Emergency Operations Centre

The main roles of the SEOC during an emergency operation are:

  • To control the emergency operation
  • To plan for the ongoing emergency operation
  • To plan acquire and allocate resources
  • To provide public information about the emergency operation.

In addition to this operational role, the SEOC collects, stores and disseminates information to support emergency operations.​


NSW Emergency Management Arrangements

This section is directly from the Office of Emergency Management Website on the 7th of April 2020.

​The community of New South Wales lives with a variety of natural and technological hazards. The more common hazards are floods, severe storms, and bushfires but other events such as exotic animal disease, major aircraft crashes and earthquakes are possible.

Most incidents are handled using standard procedures, however, if an event requires a significant and coordinated response, then this is termed an emergency.

The New South Wales Government acknowledges the inevitable nature of emergencies and their social, economic and environmental consequences. Accordingly, it recognises the need for a co-ordinated response by all agencies having roles or responsibilities in such emergencies.

A number of Acts of Parliament set out the duties and responsibilities of the emergency services. The State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (as Amended) is the Act that provides the legislative basis for co-ordination of emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations.

The Act provides for:

  • the preparation of the Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN) and subordinate plans to ensure a co-ordinated response for necessary operations;
  • the establishment of Emergency Management Committees at State, Regional and Local Government levels; and
  • arrangements for controlling emergency operations.

The State Emergency Management Plan​​

The key element of emergency management planning in NSW is the Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN). The objective of EMPLAN is to ensure a co-ordinated response by all agencies having responsibilities and functions in emergencies.

EM​PL​AN

  • identifies the combat agency primarily responsible for responding to the emergency;
  • specifies the tasks to be performed by all agencies in the event of an emergency;
  • provides for the co-ordination of the activities of other agencies in support of the combat agencies; and
  • specifies the responsibilities of the Minister and the State, Region, or Local Emergency Operations Controller.

Planning below State level​​

An important principle of Emergency Planning in NSW is that local communities have a greater insight into the needs and resources of their support of the wider community. Accordingly, EMPLAN devolves control and co-ordination of emergency operations and the responsibility for preparedness, response and recovery to the lowest possible level but lays out a structure by which these resources may be augmented by Region and State resources if the Local level resources cannot cope.

Combat agen​cies

A combat agency is the agency with the specific expertise and equipment to deal with the effects of designated hazards. The agency responsible for each major hazard is designated in EMPLAN.

Animal Health Emergency
NSW Agriculture 

Aviation Emergency
Emergency Operations Controller 

Bushfire
NSW Rural Fire Service 

Fire (Urban)
Fire and Rescue NSW 

Flood Storm, Tempest
NSW State Emergency Service 

Hazardous Materials
Land based: Fire and Rescue NSW
State waters: NSW Maritime and NSW Port Corporations
Inland waters: Fire and Rescue NSW 

Marine Oil Spill
NSW Maritime and NSW Port Corporations

Sub-Plans: planning for specific hazards

A Sub-Plan is a plan developed to counter a specific hazard, where the planning required is either more specialised or more detailed than that provided for in EMPLAN.

The following Sub-Plans have been produced:

  • Animal Health Emergency (Exotic Animal Disease)
  • Aviation Emergency
  • Bushfire
  • Flood
  • Hawkesbury/Nepean Flood Emergency
  • Major Structural Collapse
  • Marine Oil & Chemical Spill
  • Storm

Supporting Plans: plan​​ning for a coordinated response

Emergencies can develop to the point where a combat agency requires support, assistance, and advice from other agencies. Displan identifies Functional Areas and requires “Functional Area Supporting Plans” to be produced to ensure appropriate support is provided for the efficient supply of the necessary assistance. The following supporting plans have been developed:

  • Agriculture and Animal Services
  • Disaster Recovery Human Services
  • Engineering Services
  • Environmental Services
  • Health Services
  • Public Information Services
  • Transport Services

Emergency Ma​​​nagement Committees

Emergency Management Committees are established at State, Region, and Local Government levels. The Minister appoints the Chairperson of the State Emergency Management Committee. Regional Emergency Operations Controllers chair the Regional Emergency Management Committees, and Local Government Councils provide chairpersons for the local committees. Membership includes the heads of the Emergency Service organisations at each level and representatives of the functional areas. At state level, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning & Natural Resources, the Department of Local Government, the Premier’s Department, and Treasury are also represented. Functional areas are not represented at local government level unless their structures extend to that level.

Control of op​erations

Where a combat agency is designated in EMPLAN, the head of the Combat Agency controls the operation. Where no combat agency is designated, control of the operation is vested in the Emergency Operations Controller.

At State level the State Emergency Operations Controller (SEOCON) is appointed by the Governor. Emergency Operations Controllers (who are also Police Officers) are also appointed at Region and Local levels.

Emergency Operations Controllers co-ordinate support or assist in co-ordinating support to a combat agency when requested by the Head of a combat agency.

Summary

What the new Agency does apart from check on other departments and agencies is unknown. Why isn’t this being undertaken by the NSW premier’s department whom surely the responsibility lies that the departments and agencies are doing their job? And what about the Office of Emergency Management that already does what the new agency does and more?

Another agency costing $200 million or more to perform checks that Departments are doing the job they are paid to do is absurd.

This new agency is duplicating the role of the ministers and the heads of these departments and agencies. The Premier should be putting competent people in these positions that are held criminally responsible for failure and as the the Premier of NSW they should also be held responsible for the failures of their departments and agencies.

This is like the changes to government that occur with newly elected politicians that want to be seen to be doing something so they split or merge departments at massive cost and disruption to “save” money or provide “better” services. How many times have Transport and Main Roads been merged and split in Queensland for example.

The Australian States need a core set of Departments like Transport, Main Roads, Education, Emergency Services and Health that are set and cannot be changed, merged or split at the whim of a new government. Each of these departments would be headed by ONE Minister and not multiple like we see now in some states like Queensland for example. Ideally in the future these departments that are working the same in each state would merge to remove the duplication and confusion between states as well as duplicated licensing costs for workers that operate in multiple states.

No doubt the other states will follow quickly with rushed agencies to perform similar tasks and each will want to outdo the others.