The COVID-19 pandemic presented Australia with unprecedented consequences and impacts. The magnitude of COVID 19 and its potential for concurrent impacts across jurisdictions, communities and industries saw Emergency Management Australia (EMA), through the Department of Home Affairs, drive the implementation of the National Coordination Mechanism (NCM).
The NCM brings together agencies of the Australian Government, state and territory governments and industry and private sector stakeholders in a way that has never been done before.
Such was the success of the NCM in coordinating this large scale response, the mechanism has now been embedded as a permanent response tool in the Australian Government Crisis Management Framework (AGCMF) ensuring the government can bring together the relevant representatives of both government and non-government organisations to coordinate, communicate and collaborate during responses to crisis in our country.
The NCM operationalises the AGCMF and takes a sector-based approach to stakeholder engagement, convening collaborative forums (sector meetings) as required to address the specific impacts of a national crisis. These sectors include representatives from both federal and state and territory agencies, as well as industry bodies and the private sector as required.
The NCM is an Australian Government mechanism facilitated by EMA and is a key tool for preparing for, responding to, and recovery from any crises. The NCM is a flexible tool to ensure that the full capabilities of the Australian, state and territory governments and, if required, the private sector are brought to bear during a crisis. The NCM will ensure coordination, communication and collaboration, but is not a mechanism for command and control.
The NCM provides holistic advice to the AGCRC and facilitates integrated and coherent planning, identification of escalation triggers and actions, implementation, governance and communication arrangements that streamline a crisis response. The NCM is designed to be nimble and respond directly to the hazard or vector.