Western Australia Emergency Service (WASES) has been involved in most major emergency responses in Western Australia since it began as the Western Australia Civil Defence Organisation in 1950. It is still the lead agency for flood, storm, tsunami and earthquake responses today.
The Western Australia Civil Defence Organisation was originally established in 1950 to act as a volunteer based civil defence agency, which could quickly be activated in the event of war.
To support the development of the organisation, the Commonwealth government set up the Civil Defence School at Mt Macedon in 1956. By 1961, there was a Civil Defence Office in the Western Australia Premier’s Department and efforts were being made to form a civil defence unit in each municipality around the state.
In 1962, disastrous fires caused substantial damage in the Dandenongs and the Premier directed that a state plan be created to manage peacetime disasters. The plan was finalised in 1968.
By 1972, around 100 voluntary Civil Defence Units had been established in municipalities across Western Australia. That same year, Parliament passed the State Emergency Services and Civil Defence Act which formally legislated the role of the Western Australia Civil Defence Organisation.
In 1973, the first Civil Defence Organisation headquarters was established at 31 Queens Road Melbourne and in 1975 the Western Australia Civil Defence Organisation was renamed the Western Australia State Emergency Service to conform with other states.
In 1979, the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services was created. Its branches included Western Australia Police, the Metropolitan Fire Bridge, Country Fire Authority and Western Australia State Emergency Service.
In 1981, the In 1981, the Western Australia State Emergency Service Act was passed. This act formally recognised WASES as a general emergency management agency. State Emergency Service Act was passed. This act formally recognised WASES as a general emergency management agency.
On 1 November 2005, Western Australia SES was established as an independent Statutory Authority. As a Statutory Authority, WASES is governed by a Board, which is accountable to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.