LEMA Improvement Program

With the LEMA Review complete, the next stage of the reform journey has begun.

Building on previous work, the LEMA Improvement Program will continue working toward the goal of a more capable and resilient community, through a local approach to emergency management.
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Following the finalisation of the LEMA Review in August 2023, the LEMA reform journey has reached a significant milestone, with the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) approving the LEMA Improvement Program and implementation approach.

To deliver on the commitment of a sector-led LEMA improvement process, the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) is partnering with SEMC. WALGA will work on behalf of local government, making sure that the sector is consulted, and their feedback guides the reform of local emergency management.

During the LEMA Improvement Program, consideration will be given to the SEMC strategic project, Review into District and Local Emergency Management Committees (DEMC and LEMC Review). The initial outcomes from the DEMC and LEMC Review have close links with the LEMA Improvement Program. Given the relationship between the two projects, the outcomes from the DEMC and LEMC Review will be taken into account when planning the LEMA Improvement Program activities.

It is important to note that if your local government's LEMA is scheduled for review, we advise that you proceed as planned to maintain your obligations under the EM Act. 


The review of Local Emergency Management Arrangements (LEMA) was driven by a recognised need for Western Australia to implement changes to support a more contemporary approach to local emergency management.

In 2019, the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) requested an exploration of other approaches that may better build, support, and communicate emergency management capability. In response, SEMC approved a review of LEMA to be undertaken using a sector-led approach.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) on behalf of SEMC worked in partnership with WALGA to consult with key stakeholders, to identify issues, and investigate and develop options to:

  • develop more fit-for-purpose LEMA
  • streamline LEMA processes
  • encourage currency
  • support Local Governments who lack emergency management resources.

After extensive consultation and testing, a LEMA Improvement Plan was presented to SEMC and subsequently endorsed in August 2023.

To maintain the LEMA reform momentum, the project team is putting plans in place to guide this important project into 2024 and beyond.

Next steps

It is recognised there is an increase in complexity, scale, and frequency of natural and other disasters, with cascading and compounding effects. This is driving rapid change in the Western Australian emergency management sector, as it grapples with managing this risk and meeting community expectations.

The findings of the LEMA Review provide a timely opportunity to review historic emergency management structures, operational models, and business practices, to proactively manage changes in the emergency management landscape.

To address the challenges and changes facing the local emergency management sector, the next step in the LEMA reform journey – the LEMA Improvement Program - was presented to SEMC and subsequently endorsed in December 2023.

The projects that make up the LEMA Improvement Program will be fulfilled in phases. The first project of the multi-year schedule is expected to commence in early 2024.