Duties of lifeline utilities

Learn about the legislative duties of lifeline utilities.

Lifeline utilties have duties under:

Every lifeline utility must:

  • ensure that it is able to function to the fullest possible extent (even though this may be at a reduced level during and after an emergency),
  • make available to the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) in writing, on request, its plan for functioning during and after an emergency,
  • help develop the national CDEM strategy and CDEM Plans,
  • provide, free of charge, any technical advice to any CDEM Group or the Director CDEM that may be reasonably required, and
  • ensure that any information disclosed to the lifeline utility is used by the lifeline utility, or disclosed to another person, only for the purposes of the CDEM Act.

The CDEM Act requires that every lifeline utility must take all necessary steps to undertake civil defence emergency management. And to perform functions and duties required:

  • by the CDEM Act,
  • by any regulations made under the CDEM Act, or
  • within any civil defence emergency management plan.

The National CDEM Plan states several requirements for agencies (including lifeline utilities). These are generally categorised as either readiness or response requirements.


  • Develop, review, and improve their emergency plans
  • Maintain arrangements to respond to warnings
  • Incorporate risk management principles to form part of normal business operations
  • Incorporate emergency response and recovery planning into their business continuity arrangements
  • Plan, train, exercise, and equip themselves in coordination with interdependent agencies.


  • Remain responsible for the management of their own response
  • Respond to an emergency by activating their own plans and coordinating with the lead agency
  • Assess the impact of an event on their own staff, assets, and services
  • Maintain or restore the services they provides
  • Communicate with lead agencies, other responders and the public
  • Align response activities with other agencies to avoid gaps and duplications
  • Coordinate with the National Emergency Management Agency or through established clusters to provide integrated and coordinated inter-agency responses.