The Planning ​Framework

Policies an​​d Plans

Emergency management plans are put into place to ensure that appropriate services are provided in a timely and coordinated manner.

The SERM Act 1989 establishes the Emergency Management Plan (EMPLAN).

Emergency management planning within the state is a structured process that comprises three types of plans at state, regional and local levels where appropriate.

Diagram - Planning levels 

An emergency​ management plan:

  • identifies 'combat agencies' responsible for controlling the response to particular emergencies
  • describes how other agencies should support the combat agency
  • specifies tasks to be undertaken by agencies in an emergency, and
  • outlines responsibilities of the Minister, EOCON and the SERCON.


EMPLAN ensures a coordinated approach to emergencies. Agencies are authorised to undertake their responsibilities and functions under EMPLAN in the event of an emergency.

Emergency Management Plans are also prepared and reviewed for the regional and local areas.

State EMPLAN means the New South Wales State Emergency Management Plan. It describes the NSW emergency, management approach, governance and coordination arrangements and roles and responsibilities of agencies. Its objective is to ensure the coordinated response to emergencies by responsible agencies.

This is supported by hazard-specific sub plans, functional area supporting plans, related policy instruments and guidelines at regional and local levels.

Emergency Management Plans are also prepared and reviewed for the regional and local areas.


Sub Plans

Specific Hazards Plans, also known as Sub Plans, are prepared to deal with specific hazards.

A sub plan is an action plan for a specific hazard, critical task, or special event. Sub plans are prepared when the management arrangements necessary to deal with the effects of the hazard, or the requirements due to an event, differ from the general coordination arrangements in the main or supporting plans for the area. A sub plan may be required where the planning is more specialised or detailed than can be provided for in EMPLAN. E.g. Bushfire Sub, Flood Sub plan, Storm Sub plan, Counter Terrorism Sub plan.

Plans for emergency management are risk-focused. That is, they are developed by considering potential hazards, and the likelihood of occurrence.

For example, the most common emergencies in NSW are floods, storms and bushfires. The risk of floods, storms and bushfires occurring is very high, and NSW needs special arrangements to deal with them because they differ from the general coordination arrangements set out in the supporting plans for the area.

For this reason, specific Sub Plans to deal with floods, storms and bushfires are in place to deal with the effects of these in the community.

All Sub Plans

Supporting​​ Plans

Supporting plans are prepared by a NSW Government agency or Functional Area. It outlines arrangements by which Functional Areas coordinates support to the controlling or coordinating authority during emergency operations.

It is an action plan describing how the agency/organisation or Functional Area is to operate in order to fulfil the roles and responsibilities allocated. For example, Supporting Plans are prepared by Health Services, Welfare Services, Engineering Services, Transport Services. These may also exist at the regional and local levels.

Supporting plans outline the arrangements by which the Functional Area will coordinate the support services (as allocated in the EMPLAN).

All Supporting Plans




Agriculture and Animal Services

Department of Primary Industries

Agriculture and Animal Services Supporting Plan (pdf)

Energy and Utilities Services

Department of Trade and Investment, 
Regional Infrastructure and Services, 
Division of Resources and Energy

Energy and Utilities Services Supporting Plan (pdf)

Engineering Services

Department of Finance and Services, 
NSW Public Works.

Engineering Services Supporting Plan (pdf)

Environmental Services

Department of Premier and Cabinet 
Office of Environment and Heritage

Environmental Services Supporting Plan (pdf)

Health Services

NSW Health

Health Services Supporting Plan (pdf)

Public Information Services

NSW Police Force, Public Affairs Branch

Public Information Services Supporting Plan (pdf)

Telecommunication Services

Department of Finance and Services, 
NSW Telecommunications Authority

Tele​communications Services Supporting Plan (pdf)

Transport Services

Department of Transport

Transport Services Supporting Plan (pdf)

Welfare Services

Department of Justice

Welfare Services Supporting Plan