In 2002 a review of South Australia’s emergency services sector was initiated by the then Minister for Emergency Services to determine the best way to support the operational focus of the three emergency services agencies in the state – SA Metropolitan Fire Service (SAMFS), the SA Country Fire Service (SACFS) and the SA State Emergency Service (SASES).
The Emergency Services Review Report (known as the 'Dawkins report') was tabled in May 2003 and recommended the creation of a South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM) to ensure that the State Government's priority of providing the highest possible level of resources to effectively support the efforts of volunteers and staff attending fire and emergency incidents was realised.
After the recommendations of the Dawkins Report, in October 2005 the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 was proclaimed – and SAFECOM was created. As part of the establishment of SAFECOM, the Country Fires Act 1989 and State Emergency Services Act 1987 were also incorporated into the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005.
The broad principles behind the role and function of SAFECOM include:
- Allocate resources effectively across the Emergency Services sector (CFS, SES and MFS).
- Ensure appropriate levels of strategic and administrative support to the Emergency Services agencies.
- Ensure the agencies have appropriate systems and practices in place.
- Ensure appropriate risk-management systems and practices are in place; and
- Ensure effective consultation with the community in relation to the FES Act.
The legislation also provides for regular review and revision as necessary of the agencies’ plans, structures, systems, and practices.