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7.1.2 Crisis and emergency management

Principles

Effective communication is imperative before, during and after times of unrest and uncertainty to:

  • prevent injury or loss of life
  • help limit damage to assets, reputation and property
  • help maintain the delivery of public services
  • assist in the process of recovery
  • minimise impact on stakeholders
  • influence and inform public debate and discussion
  • help establish, maintain or restore public confidence in government.

Definitions

The terms crisis and issues management are often used interchangeably, however there are some fundamental differences and they have been separated in this Policy.

Issues management aims to anticipate emerging issues and plan to influence their development and impact (see section 7.1.1 Issues management).

Crisis managementis generally reactive, dealing with emergencies and disasters that are often unpredictable and/or unpreventable. A crisis or emergency is an event or significant threat that could endanger human life, property or the environment, or cause or threaten to cause injury or distress to people; and requires a significant response from an agency. A crisis need not pose a serious threat to human life or property but will have a broad ranging impact on the Tasmanian community or sections of the community.

Policy requirements

Agency emergency management protocols must include a communication plan/protocols that:

  • clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of communications and media liaison staff, including using their expertise in preparing messages for staff, other government agencies, the general public and the media
  • ensures messages are consistent by coordinating the release of information through all channels, including departmental intranet and internets
  • ensures there is a small pool of capable and trained spokespersons available
  • meets the requirements of the Whole of Government Media Protocols issued by the Government Communications Office (GCO).

Agencies must practise the efficacy of communications plans when testing or exercising emergency management protocols.

The Government Communications Office must be immediately notified in the event of a crisis or emergency.