Y2K - it depends what state you're in

Y2K disaster laws differ from state to state across the country. The Queensland, ACT, NSW, Northern Territory and Victorian governments have amended legislation or had Y2K covered under existing laws, but the South Australian and Tasmanian governments say there isn't any need for Y2K-related disaster emergency procedure legislation.

The West Australian government does not have any disaster emergency procedure-related emergency law.


The ACT government passed a law earlier this month, amending existing "Systematic Technological Failure" legislation. The law already covered all technologically induced emergency procedures, including disruptions caused by Y2K. A spokesperson said only semantics of the law were amended, relating to methods of administering authority in an emergency situation.


The NSW government said amendment to existing legislation would be unnecessary. A government spokesperson said existing legislation already covered all possible Y2K-related disruptions. As for year-round emergency procedure, the appropriate emergency authority would depend on the type of emergency, the spokesperson said.

Northern Territory

A spokesperson for the Northern Territory government said the Queensland government's legislation amendment to include Y2K-related disaster under the law's definition of "disaster", showed weaknesses in that government's previous legislation.

"I don't know why they [Qld government] had to pass it [the amendment]," the spokesperson said.

"Ours (disaster-related emergency procedure law) would automatically include Y2K," the spokesperson said.


The Tasmanian government said no such legislation would be passed or amended in Tasmania. "That (legislation) might be a reflection on their (Qld's) level of readiness," the spokesperson said.


The Victorian government was unavailable for comment, but passed a law in November enabling the government to exercise "sweeping powers" in an emergency situation.

South Australia

The South Australian government said there was no need for amendment because the state was so well prepared. South Australia would maintain its "business as usual" policy on New Year's Eve, a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the South Australian State Disaster Centre would have power to act under emergency conditions in "a few minutes" if authorised by the Premier, but the centre would be closed for business on New Year's Eve.

"State Disaster will not be operating as a matter of course on the night," the spokesperson said.

Western Australia

The Western Australian government said it did not have emergency procedure legislation, related or unrelated to Y2K.

A spokesperson for the Western Australian government said it had been pursuing a bill of this nature for "a long, long time", but did not expect the legislation to be passed "in the near future".

No emergency procedure law would be passed in Western Australia before December 31, the spokesperson said.

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