Review of the Emergency Services Acts
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is undertaking a Review of the Emergency Services Acts (the Review). The Emergency Services Acts under review are:
- The Fire Brigades Act 1942
- The Bush Fires Act 1954
- The Fire & Emergency Services Act 1998
The aim of the Review is to create a single comprehensive emergency services Act which will improve community safety and better support all emergency services in the future.
The Review commenced in November 2012 with a dedicated Review Team formed to progress the project.
These four stages are required to adhere to the requirements set by the Regulatory Gatekeeping Unit (RGU). The RGU is a State Government organisation established to oversee new and amended regulatory proposals.
The Review of the Emergency Services Acts is currently in the fourth stage of the review process. The Review Team has completed drafting the Decision Paper: Review of the Emergency Services Acts (Decision Paper) which was submitted to the Regulatory Gatekeeping Unit (RGU) for assessment in January 2015. The Decision Paper explores in detail the options put forward in the Concept Paper and includes an analysis of comments provided during the public consultation period. The submission of the Decision Paper to the RGU is a major milestone in the review process as it recommends the preferred options to be implemented for the new Emergency Services Act.
The RGU examines the Decision Paper by administering the Regulatory Impacts Assessment (RIA). The RIA is aimed at ensuring rigorous analysis of regulatory proposals, effective and appropriate consultation, and transparency of process. It also identifies any unforeseen consequences such as costs, regulatory failure and market failure associated with the regulatory proposals before submission to the decision maker (for example the Minister for Emergency Services).
RIA is a two-tiered process for assessing regulatory proposals, to determine their impacts on business (including Government businesses), consumers or the economy. The first tier consists of the Preliminary Impact Assessment and the second tier consists of the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement and the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement. The submission of the Decision Paper to the RGU for assessment completes the second tier of the RIA process.
Once the RIA process is completed, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued by the RGU. The Decision Paper will then be provided to the decision maker (the Minister for Emergency Services) to seek approval to draft the Bill for the new Emergency Services Act. It is at this point that the Review has reached the formal parliamentary process for drafting and enacting Bills.
This fourth stage will take the longest to complete as it involves a comprehensive and complex set of legislative activities such as preparing Drafting Instructions, seeking Cabinet approval and supporting the Bill through the parliamentary process. Once the new Bill has obtained all the necessary approvals, a variety of initiatives will be undertaken to help emergency services personnel and the wider community transition to the new legislation. Work will also commence on the drafting of regulations to support the new legislation. It has been proposed that the legislation take effect no less than six months after the legislation is approved by Parliament.
The complete Stage 4 process is available below: