Audit of emergency management capability
The effective management of emergencies due to biosecurity threats and natural disasters is critical to the health and wealth of the people of NSW and health of the environment.
The Department of Primary Industries is the combat agency responsible for control and coordination regarding the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery from impacts of any biosecurity emergency in NSW. Local Land Services is the primary support agency to the Department of Primary Industries for emergency management, and has legislative responsibilities for the provision of emergency management services.
To build on the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services's emergency management reforms, the Minister for Primary Industries asked us to audit both agencies's emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations.
In September 2018, we provided an audit report to the Minister. The audit was completed in accordance with the scope approved by the Minister and endorsed by both agencies.
Overall, we found that the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services have achieved effective outcomes and demonstrated several strengths. The audit highlighted that both agencies have a core group of dedicated and capable staff they can deploy to deliver emergency response services, as well as structures to efficiently engage extra-jurisdictional resources and expertise when needed. Furthermore, both agencies had commenced implementation of a reform program that should address some key risks and capability gaps in emergency response management.
In February 2019, the Minister endorsed all of our 18 recommendations. Both agencies prepared an action plan to implement these recommendations thus building on an already-initiated reform program.