About the Council

The mission of the National Search and Rescue Council is to develop and maintain an effective, efficient and integrated national search and rescue system that meets international obligations and domestic requirements.

How the Council works

The National Search and Rescue council meets annually and consults out of session when necessary to discuss current and relevant issues within the SAR community.

One of the primary roles of each member is to represent SAR issues at the Council for their respective organisation, state or territory.

This ensures there is a clear channel for the SAR Community to feed information through to the National governance body for discussion and decision as required.

The Inter‑Governmental Agreement (IGA) puts in place arrangements between the Commonwealth and state/territory SAR Authorities on the coordination of search and rescue in the Australian region.

  • Create a virtual national centre of excellence for SAR
  • Establish an authoritative voice on SAR in Australia
  • Promote a risk based approach to SAR
  • Ensure effective coordination between SAR authorities and agencies
  • Support standardised approaches to matters such as training and emerging technologies.
  • 1976—the SAR Authorities formed a national conference to ensure consistency and uniformity in SAR procedures within the Australian search and rescue region (SRR).
  • 1999—a shift in perspective saw the group renamed the National Search and Rescue Council with the role of formulating, discussing and ratifying national search and rescue policies.
  • 2004—the commonwealth, state and territory ministers responsible for search and rescue response in Australia signed an Inter‑Governmental Agreement (IGA) on National Search and Rescue Response Arrangements.

The IGA confirmed the National Search and Rescue Council's role as the national coordinating body for search and rescue procedures with a function, among others, of sponsoring the National Search and Rescue Manual.