Tri-Services Transition

Tri-Services Transition Update - Fire and Emergency Legislation Amendment Bill 2024

The Fire and Emergency Services Amendment Act 2024 was passed in the March 2023 Sittings of the Legislative Assembly and consequently the new Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Services agency was established from 27 March 2024. 

Updates

The Northern Territory Police Force (NTPF) will operate independently from the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service (NTFRS) and Northern Territory Emergency Service (NTES). Two new ministerial portfolios have been created, the Minister for Police and the Minster for Fire and Emergency Services, to replace the previous Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services portfolio.

The NTFRS and the NTES will operate under a new Commissioner, the Commissioner of the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Service.

A national recruitment campaign to appoint an ongoing Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner has now been finalised.

Mr Andrew Warton has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Services.

Mr Warton was formally a Chief Officer of the Northern Territory Emergency Services and brings to the role a wealth of leadership and management experience in law enforcement and crisis management, including in major flood and cyclone emergencies across the Territory.

Mr Warton’s appointment is crucial during this transitional phase and he is tasked with establishing the new service structure for the Fire and Emergency Services agency within the Northern Territory Public Service.

The transition from the tri-service will provide the opportunity for each agency to better focus on their respective functions.

We recognise the impact of this change on each member and acknowledge the resilience and dedication displayed from members during this transition. We are committed to being as transparent and timely with information as possible with staff and volunteers.

With this in mind please see the Transition Update FAQ below. This list of questions was developed during our first round of consultation with staff and volunteers. If you would like to have your question included in our next Transition Update FAQ please send it to: triserviceinfo@pfes.nt.gov.au

Frequently asked questions

The change

Why is the tri-service transitioning into separate entities?

The government has decided to separate the tri service, to allow both agencies to focus on their areas of expertise, and to allow both commissioners to advocate for budget for their respective agency.

What will be the names of the new agencies?

At present the agencies will be the Northern Territory Police and the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Service. Within the new Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Service the two identities of the Northern Territory Emergency Service (NTES) and the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service will remain intact.

What are the timelines for the transition?

The transition work commenced in late November 2023 and is continuing. It is intended that the process to appoint a Commissioner of the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Service will be completed by the end of April 2024 – as per the Minister for Fire and Emergency Services (the Hon Brent Potter MLA) statement in debate in the March sittings.

Will there be new leadership for the separate agencies?

Yes, there will be a new commissioner for the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Service. The roles of Chief Fire Officer and a Director of Northern Territory Emergency Service will remain.

Will there be any changes to our agencies’ corporate governance structure?

Yes, new corporate governance and committees will be established and communicated as they are built under the guidance of the new Commissioner.

Your job

Will I still have a job after the transition?

Absolutely. There will be no attrition or job losses caused by the transition.

How will this transition affect my job?

In the short term there will be very little change, however with the appointment of a Commissioner of the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Service there may be some new roles created and some changes to job locations and premises.

Will current Enterprise Bargaining agreements or wages and work conditions be affected?

No they will remain the same until they are due to be re-negotiated.

Will our reporting structure change?

Current structures will remain in place, a new structure may be put in place by the future Commissioner of the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Service.

What will happen to our company's employee assistance programs?

The process to access Employee Assistance Programs remains the same. A shared services model will endure for at least 12 months.

The workplace

Will there be any changes to our office locations?

One of the first tasks of this transition is the consideration of accommodation needs for the new agency. The intention is to co-locate administrative staff from both NT Fire and Rescue Service and NT Emergency Service together in a new premises. NTES Commands Planning and Preparedness, Northern, Training and Development will also be included in the first tranche of accommodation changes.

A Property Lease Request (PLR) has been completed providing accommodation requirements for the Fire and Emergency Services executive, administrative and support staff. A PLR is required so that NT Property Management (NTPM) can consider options for the lease of commercial office accommodation. Once NTPM have provided options and a preferred premises selected, negotiations will commence with the property owner regarding rent, fit out costs, car parks and lease terms.  

Staff will be informed when a new premises has been secured. The NT Fire and Emergency Service’s executive will be involved in move planning, and we anticipate this will happen within the next 6 months.

Shared services

What will happen to our shared administrative and support staff?

There will continue to be shared services for a period of 12 months from the passage of legislation and the establishment of the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Services agency on March 27th.

What will happen to our agencies legal and compliance arrangements?

As the Northern Territory Fire and Emergency Service has been established as an agency by legislation, the Northern Territory Police cannot provide advice to another agency. The agency will be responsible for obtaining its own legal, e.g. from the Solicitor for the Northern Territory (SFNT)

Will there be any changes to shared IT resources, infrastructure and systems or IT support and helpdesk services?

There will be no changes to the IT support, infrastructure or shared resources at this time, a shared services model will endure for at least 12 months. There will be no changes to records management and data sharing at this point in time.

How will the transition affect our agencies’ employee training and development?

There will be no change, current training and development arrangements will continue as business as usual. A shared services model will endure for at least 12 months.

Will there be any changes to our shared fleet maintenance and procurement?

There will be no changes to the shared fleet maintenance and procurement.

What will happen to our shared public information and communication efforts?

We’re currently working through the processes to determine this and we will provide and answer once it becomes available.

Money

Will there be any changes to our departmental budgets?

No, however the commissioner of each agency will be responsible for advocating for ongoing budget appropriation.

Will there be changes to our shared procurement, financial and budgeting processes?

No, the procurement, financial and budget processes remains the same at this time.

How will this transition affect our shared public safety grants and funding?

All existing grant funding remains with the agencies it’s allocated to.

Is there any budget to facilitate the transition?
There is no additional budget set aside for the machinery of government changes for the transition.

Emergency management

How will the transition impact our shared Emergency Management Planning and Disaster Response co-ordination?

There is no change to the Emergency Management Planning or Disaster Response. The Commissioner of Police will still be the Territory Controller.

There will be no changes to the emergency response arrangements.
The Territory Emergency Management Plan remains in place and is enshrined in the legislation

Will there be any changes to our shared emergency alerting and notification systems?

There will be no changes

What will happen to our shared emergency operations centre (EOC)?

It will remain at The Peter MacAulay Centre and it will still be led operationally by police, with AIIMS roles unchanged. The on-going management of the facility will be considered as part of the transition process after the new Commissioner has been appointed.