National Emergency Medal

National Emergency Medal front

National Emergency Medal front


The National Emergency Medal is an operational service medal which recognises significant or sustained service to others in a nationally significant emergency, for example, the bushfires in Victoria in 2009 and the floods and cyclone in Queensland in 2010 and 2011. 


The National Emergency Medal was established by Her Majesty The Queen by Letters Patent and National Emergency Medal Regulations 2011, approved by The Queen on her visit to Australia in October 2011.

The National Emergency Medal is awarded to members of identified organisations or individuals who rendered a minimum duration of service during specified dates in specified places in response to nationally significant emergencies within Australia (sustained service); or to persons who rendered extraordinary service in response to such emergencies (significant service), that did not satisfy the minimum duration of service required to constitute sustained service.

The National Emergency Medal complements the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal, which honours members of eligible Australian groups for humanitarian service overseas in hazardous circumstances.

How it is awarded

The National Emergency Medal is administered by the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat at Government House which provides a Secretariat to the National Emergency Medal Committee.

The Committee is independent of government and is made up of five members, including two ex-officio members appointed by the Minister with responsibility for the Australian honours system, and three community members appointed on the Minister’s advice by the Governor-General.

Further information: The Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat
Government House

Government House website-

Medal Design

A stylised representation of Australia’s national floral emblem, the wattle, is the central symbol of the National Emergency Medal.  The image around the central image is of flowering wattle, representing the accomplishments and sacrifices made by Australians in the service of others in times of crisis.  The back of the medal repeats the ring of flowering wattle, and details the award and recipient. 

Medal ribbon

The National Emergency Medal ribbon colours match the colours of the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal ribbon.  The colours of the ribbon are gold and eucalyptus green.  Gold symbolises the Australian sun, optimism and hope.  Eucalyptus green complements the symbolism of the medal design.  The seven gold coloured bands represent Australia’s six states, with the seventh representing the territories.