Responses to energy supply emergencies across Australia vary depending on the type (either gas, electricity or liquid fuels) and scale of the supply disruption.
The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) plays a key role in coordinating and supporting responses by governments and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to maintain or restore supply in energy emergencies of a large or multi-jurisdictional scale, or with national or international consequences.
State and territory governments have primary responsibility to protect life, property and the environment in their jurisdiction and so control most energy emergency functions. Similarly, energy businesses are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of their assets and operations.
AEMO manages electricity disruptions in the National Electricity Market, which is the electricity market spanning the east coast of Australia.
- leading, supporting and/or participating in meetings of Energy Ministers and energy emergency management forums
- contributing to whole of Australian Government initiatives to support state and territory governments, where the response required exceeds jurisdictional resources and the response is required on matters sitting outside of state and territory responsibilities
DCCEEW chairs the National Gas Emergency Response Advisory Committee (NGERAC) and helps coordinate responses to multi‑jurisdictional gas supply emergencies in conjunction with AEMO and industry participants (gas producers, pipeline operators and electricity generators).
The department also supports the Australian Government’s response to a national liquid fuel emergency where the Australian Government has powers and obligations conferred through the Liquid Fuel Emergency Act 1984.
The main principle underpinning the Australian Government’s response to energy supply emergencies is for government intervention to be a last resort, once all market and industry attempts to manage the situation have been exhausted.