Building on the LEMA Review, a LEMA Improvement Program is set to commence in early 2024. This initiative marks the first phase of a multi-year, implementation schedule that will be delivered as a partnership between the SEMC and WALGA.

The LEMA Review

In Western Australia (WA), Local Governments are required to establish one or more Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) and maintain Local Emergency Management Arrangements (LEMA) for their district.

Recognising the need for a more contemporary and fit-for-purpose local emergency management system, in 2019, the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) approved a review of the current LEMA model to inform the design of improved LEMA approaches.

In 2021, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) was granted National Disaster Resilience Program (NDRP) funding for a LEMA Review and WALGA was allocated AWARE Funding to lead a Local Government consultation to ensure a sector-informed approach.

From April to December 2022, WALGA engaged 100 diverse Western Australian Local Governments in an extensive consultation process. This collaborative effort identified the strengths, weaknesses, and improvement opportunities associated with LEMA. The resulting LEMA Review Consultation with Western Australian Local Governments: Project Summary and Recommendations Report laid the groundwork for a comprehensive LEMA Improvement Plan and a five-year implementation approach. The Plan was endorsed by the SEMC in August 2023, and in December 2023, the SEMC approved a funding request for a LEMA Improvement Program to initiate LEMA reforms through an 18-month project.

The LEMA Improvement Program will be delivered as a partnership project between WALGA and the DFES, SEMC Business Unit. The funding secured includes provision for a WALGA LEMA Improvement Facilitator to work directly with Local Governments to codesign and pilot new LEMA approaches.

DEMC and LEMC Review

In July 2023, WALGA also played an advisory role in a review of the District Emergency Management Committee (DEMC) and Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) functions and governance structure.

Building on the findings identified in the LEMA Review, WALGA's LEMC and DEMC Issues Paper summarised the key challenges Local Governments face in administering LEMCs and provided background insights to inform the DEMC and LEMC Review.

An external consultant conducted a targeted consultation for the DEMC and LEMC Review on behalf of the SEMC Business Unit, inviting participation from Local Government LEMC Chairs and Executive Officers in focus groups in August 2021. A consultation report outlining the findings of the LEMC and DEMC Review was presented to SEMC in December 2023. SEMC is currently exploring how these findings can inform targeted improvements to the structure and functioning of DEMC and LEMCs.

As part of the ongoing local emergency management reforms, due consideration will be given to the findings derived from the DEMC and LEMC Review in the LEMA Improvement Program.

Next Steps

Further details regarding the implementation activities included in the LEMA Improvement Program will be announced soon. For more information, please contact WALGA's Project Lead, Emergency Management, Simone Ruane via SRuane@walga.asn.au or 9213 2049. 

Please note that if your Local Government’s LEMA are due for review, you are required to proceed as planned to fulfil the obligations required under the Emergency Management Act 2005. 

Download an overview of the LEMA Improvement Plan here