Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on National Search and Rescue Response Arrangements

Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA)

29 June, 2012

The IGA puts in place arrangements between the Commonwealth and State/Territory SAR Authorites on the coordination of search and rescue in the Australian region.

The Inter‑Governmental Agreement (IGA) on National Search and Rescue Response Arrangements was developed and signed by the relevant Commonwealth and State/Territory Ministers It was signed by the relevant Ministers at the 28th meeting of the Australasian Police Ministers Council held in Hobart in late June 2004. The 2004 IGA updated and replaced arrangements between the Commonwealth and State/Territory Search and Rescue (SAR) Authorities on the coordination of search and rescue in the Australian region. The 2004 IGA replaces dated agreements between the Commonwealth and States and the Northern Territory for the coordination of maritime and land search and rescue; the authority and scope of the National Search and Rescue Council; the maintenance of the National Search and Rescue Manual; and other search and rescue matters.

At the 34th Meeting of the National SAR Council held in October 2010, a paper was tabled by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) regarding the age of the IGA and the need for revision in light of the proposed National System for Commercial Vessel Safety. It was agreed that AMSA would initiate a review of these as a consequence of:

  • the emergence of a new National Volunteer Marine SAR Committee;
  • issues raised from recent significant incidents;
  • introduction of police-related legislation on cross‐border operations and emergency situations other than SAR events;
  • prospective regulatory reform regarding commercial vessels; and
  • the continuing evolution of the SAR system and in particular the emphasis upon the ‘best placed to respond’ concept for coordination of actual operations.

After an extensive process of consultation, including the members of the National Search and Rescue Council and the Assistant Commissioners responsible for SAR in their respective jurisdictions, a revised draft has been produced, for consideration and forwarding for signature by the relevant State and Territory Ministers.

The revised IGA was presented to the National Policing Senior Officers Group on 20 April 2012 for their concurrence. No issues were raised regarding the proposed draft and any implications for future operations. The finalised document was presented by the Attorney-General, the Honourable Nicola Roxon MPto the Standing Council of Police and Emergency Ministers on 29 June and the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, The Honourable Anthony Albanese MP signed shortly after.