The declaration of a state of disaster gives the police minister responsibility for directing and co-ordinating the activities of all government agencies.

The police minister may also allocate government resources as necessary to respond to the disaster.

The minister can direct government agencies to act or restrict from acting in particular ways to deal with the disaster. Such a direction overrules over anything to the conflict in any state law.

Reassuringly, there are strict limits placed on this power. The minister can only exercise it if they believe compliance by a government agency with the provisions of an Act or instrument that prescribes the agency’s duties or responsibilities, would inhibit its response to the disaster.

This note is based on a Conversation article by Anne Towmey and Information publicly available on the department of premier and cabinet website.