SEMP Earthquake Sub-plan


This plan outlines the Victorian arrangements for managing earthquake events across all emergency management phases and replaces the State Emergency Response Plan – Earthquake Sub-Plan Edition 1 published in May 2016. 

The plan's purpose is to provide sources of information and to outline the arrangements for ensuring an integrated and coordinated approach to the state’s management of earthquake events, to reduce the impact and consequences of these events on the community, infrastructure, and services. This supports a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated approach and reflects a shared responsibility for earthquake related emergency management. 


Victoria’s state-level emergency risk assessment, Emergency Risks in Victoria, was published in 2020 and sets out Victoria’s emergency risk profile. Earthquakes were assessed as a state significant risk, meaning significant earthquakes were assessed as being a critical and credible scenario for the state. 

In alignment with the State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP), this plan contextualises the current arrangements, roles and responsibilities for earthquake mitigation, preparedness, response (including relief) and recovery. 

The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) on behalf of the Emergency Management Commissioner (EMC) coordinated the development of this interim plan. To ensure the currency of this plan and to capture learnings of the September 2021 Mansfield earthquake, changes to public information and warnings and associated public publishing business rules, State Control Centre (SCC) activation triggers, and amendments to public websites, this plan has been developed with minimal consultation with the intent to undertake a full review and consultation process in 2023 in conjunction with the following primary stakeholders:  

  • Ambulance Victoria (AV)
  • Australian Red Cross
  • Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)
  • Country Fire Authority (CFA)
  • Department of Education and Training (DET)
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
  • Department of Health (DH)
  • Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH)
  • Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR)
  • Emergency Recovery Victoria (ERV)
  • Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA)
  • Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
  • Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV)
  • Geoscience Australia (GA)
  • Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC
  • Local Government Victoria
  • Melbourne Water Corporation
  • Municipal Association of Victoria
  • Victoria Police


This plan acknowledges the often-concurrent emerging threats and consequences, including water surges and tsunami, as well as the structural integrity of critical infrastructure, including water storages, electricity, water, transport, and telecommunication service disruptions. 

The scope of this plan includes

  • The description of potential risks and consequences of earthquakes to the social, built, economic, and natural environments.
  • The policy and programs in place to mitigate these risks before, during, and after an earthquake event.
  • The positions with accountability and the agencies responsible for managing specific strategies.
  • The multi-agency management arrangements at the national, state, regional and local levels.
  • Links to sources of information where the reader can obtain further detail.

References are made to the SEMP where necessary to avoid duplication. It does not include detail about the operational activities of individual agencies. 


This plan recognises that for emergency management and supporting communities to be safer and more resilient it is the shared responsibility of all Victorians, not just the emergency management sector.

The audience for this plan comprises the Victorian Government and agencies within the emergency management sector, including business and community groups with a significant role in the mitigation of, response to, and recovery from earthquakes.

How to read this plan

This plan should be read in conjunction with the SEMP

Linkages and hyperlinks 

This plan refers to a range of existing resources relating to earthquakes, including documents and websites. This plan does not seek to duplicate the information contained in these resources, and instead provides links to where the reader can obtain further information.

For more operational or sensitive information a log-in may be required, such as for documents saved on the Emergency Management Common Operating Picture (EM-COP) (External link), including Joint Standard Operating Procedures (JSOPs).

Consequence management

Secondary consequences for earthquake can be complex and compounding. The arrangements for managing consequences of earthquake are contained in relevant SEMP Sub-Plans (External link), including, but not limited to:

Where necessary, VICSES has prepared Regional Earthquake Emergency Plans (RESEP), and Municipal Earthquake Emergency Management Plans (MFEPs).

Regional and Municipal Earthquake Emergency Plans can be found via the VICSES website (External link)

In the case of a concurrent emergency (e.g. COVID-19 or an energy disruption), the arrangements detailed in this plan may need to be adjusted as required. 

Download the SEMP Earthquake Sub-plan

Date of Publication


You may need Adobe® Acrobat® Reader or Libre Office to view the document(s) on this page.

Get Adobe® Acrobat® Reader (External link)

Get Libre Office (External link)


If you would like to receive this publication in a more accessible format, you can request it via our feedback form.