Our History

We have a unique and proud history of serving the community that goes back over 75 years, and shapes our culture and identity.

The SES originated with the Civil Defence Legion during World War II. The Legion was phased out after the war and it was not until the 1960s, with the threat of nuclear warfare, that Civil Defence became an issue again. As the threat of war receded, the emphasis changed from hostilities-oriented training and readiness to natural disaster training and readiness.

Major changes to the Civil Defence Organisation had already been made following the 1967 Hobart bushfires and then, with the impact of Cyclone Tracey on Darwin in 1974, the Tasmanian government decided to redevelop what was known as the Civil Defence and Emergency Service. Finally, in 1976, the Tasmanian Parliament passed the Emergency Services Act, which established the SES as we know it today.

Due to the increasing threat of terrorism after 2001, the Emergency Services Act was reviewed and replaced with the Emergency Management Act 2006. The new Act gave the State Emergency Service updated functions, powers and associated volunteer unit support.

Our Organisation


The Emergency Management Act 2006 provides for the protection of life, property and the environment in the event of an emergency in Tasmania, as well as the establishment of Tasmania’s emergency management arrangements and the provision of certain rescue and retrieval operations. Part 2, Division 4 of the Emergency Management Act 2006 provides for the State Emergency Service in Tasmania and includes applicable functions and powers. For more information read the Emergency Management Act 2006 (No.12 of 2006).



  • Uphold the SES Principles and Code of Conduct
  • Diligently pursue ongoing skills development and learning
  • Challenge and innovate, take action to fix problems
  • Be accountable for your actions
  • Protect the good image and reputation of the SES
  • Be safety conscious for one another and the community


  • Contribute towards a united and supportive team
  • Communicate well and regularly
  • Be compassionate, understanding and empathetic
  • Be equitable and value diversity at work and in the community
  • Treat all people with dignity, respect and honesty
  • Build good working relationships within and outside the SES


  • Commit to helping others – dedication to duty
  • Stay proudly connected to your community
  • Safely challenge individual and team abilities
  • Attend training and operations, but know when to have a break
  • Don’t just join for yourself, but stay for the team
  • Support the volunteer ethos


  • Communicate clearly, consistently and with accuracy
  • Be honest, trustworthy and discreet
  • Have realistic expectations of yourself and others
  • Lead by example, with honour and strength of character
  • Be ethical and values-driven
  • Look after yourself and each other, and seek help if you need it

Principles & Code of Conduct


  1. The SES is an apolitical organisation, performing its functions in an impartial, ethical and professional manner.
  2. The SES is a public service in which employment decisions are based on merit. A decision relating to appointment or promotion is based on merit if:
    • an assessment is made of the relative suitability of the candidates for the duties
    • the assessment is based on the relationship between the candidates’ work-related qualities and the qualities genuinely required for performing the duties
    • the assessment focuses on the relative capacity of the candidates to achieve outcomes related to the duties
    • the assessment is the primary consideration in making the decision.
  3. The SES provides a workplace that is free from discrimination and recognises, utilises and values the diversity of the community it serves.
  4. The SES is accountable for its actions and performance, within the framework of the:
    • Emergency Management Act 2006
    • Department of Police and Emergency Management
    • council (for municipal SES volunteer units)
    • accepted community norms and standards.
  5. The SES is responsive to the government in providing honest, comprehensive, accurate and timely advice and in implementing the government’s policies and programs.
  6. The SES delivers services fairly and impartially to the community.
  7. The SES develops leadership of the highest quality.
  8. The SES establishes workplace practices that encourage communication, consultation, cooperation and input from employees and its volunteers on matters that affect their work and workplace.
  9. The SES provides a fair, flexible, safe and rewarding workplace.
  10. The SES focuses on managing its performance and achieving results.
  11. The SES promotes equity in the workplace.
  12. The SES provides a reasonable opportunity to members of the community to apply for SES employment and volunteer work.
  13. The SES provides a fair system of review of decisions taken in respect of members.

Code of Conduct

  1. An SES member must behave honestly and with integrity.
  2. An SES member must act with care and diligence in the course of SES work.
  3. An SES member, when acting in the course of SES work, must treat everyone with respect and without harassment, victimisation or discrimination.
  4. An SES member, when acting in the course of SES work, must comply with all applicable Australian law. ‘Australian law’ means:
    • any Act (including the Emergency Management Act 2006) or any instrument made under an Actor
    • any law of the Commonwealth or a State or Territory, including any instrument made under such a law.
  5. An SES member must comply with any lawful and reasonable direction given by the Head of Agency, Director SES, or their delegate.
  6. An SES member must maintain appropriate confidentiality about dealings of, and information acquired by, the member in the course of that member’s SES work.
  7. An SES member must disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest in connection with the member’s SES work.
  8. An SES member must use SES resources in a proper manner.
  9. An SES member must not knowingly provide false or misleading information in connection with the member’s work.
  10. An SES member must not make improper use of information gained in the course of their work the member’s duties, status, power or authority in order to gain, or seek to gain, a gift, benefit or advantage for the member or for any other person.
  11. An SES member must declare any gifts received in the course of SES work (SES employees, with the Director SES, and SES volunteers, with their SES Regional Managers).
  12. An SES member must behave in a way that upholds the SES Principles.
  13. An SES member must at all times behave in a way that does not adversely affect the integrity and good reputation of the SES and State Service.

Note: A ‘member’, unless specified, includes SES employees and volunteers.

Should you wish to report disclosures of improper conduct or detrimental action by members of the SES, please refer to the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management Public Interest Disclosure Act 2002 – Procedures Manual.


Volunteer Survey Report 2019

Volunteer Survey Report 2014

Recruitment and Retention Report 2008

DPFEM Disability Inclusion Plan

DPFEM Disability Inclusion Plan 2023-2027

If you require any document in a different format, email us at ses@ses.tas.gov.au and let us know.