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History of search and rescue in Australia

The establishment of Australia's search and rescue (SAR) response system.

One of our roles is the provision of a search and rescue service consistent with Australia’s obligations under the:

To fulfill our obligations, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) was established to coordinate SAR for aviation and maritime incidents.

Before 1997, Airservices Australia had the responsibility for coordinating aviation SAR. In 1997 our responsibilities merged with Airservices Australia to form the JRCC.

The JRCC provides SAR coordination services for maritime, aviation and assists Police with land-based incidents, and is located in our office in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

When announced, the then Minister for Transport and Regional Development said establishment of the JRCC would rely on the successful coordination of a wide range of federal, state and territory agencies, including defence and police, industry, and volunteer rescue groups.

This arrangement is now guided by the three SAR authorities which form the National SAR Council.

Operational and management structures have been consolidated into the JRCC to bring a unified, strategic focus to Australia's civil search and rescue operations.

The JRCC currently has a staff of about 35 and operates 24 hours a day using the latest satellite distress and communications technology for coordinating and response to SAR operations.

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Last updated: 22 April 2021