Australia — Over the past five years, emergency services funding has been backed by population growth, which has led to an increase in demand for emergency services. International terrorism attacks, rising cyber crimes and weakening perceptions of safety of the community have also supported demand for police services. One-off events such as the catastrophic flooding in the eastern states over 2010-11 and the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria have lead to dramatic spikes in emergency services expenditure. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated its report on the Emergency Services industry in Australia.
Emergency services refer to the services provided by police, firefighters and ambulances. IBISWorld expects that the Emergency Services industry will generate revenue of $20.2 billion in 2011-12, an increase of 4.5% on the previous year. According to IBISWorld industry analyst David Stephen, “Revenue mainly comes from government funding, though it is also derived from donations, levies on property owners, user charges and insurance companies”. Over the past five years, funding has been backed by population growth, which has led to an increase in demand for emergency services. International terrorism attacks, rising cyber crimes and weakening perceptions of safety of the community have also supported demand for police services. One-off events such as the catastrophic flooding in the eastern states over 2010-11 and the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria have led to dramatic spikes in emergency services expenditure. These types of events also increase funding over the medium term, especially in cases where subsequent investigations identify improvements and shortcomings in the emergency response. As a result of increased funding, industry revenue is expected to grow 5.9% per annum over the five years through 2011-12.
“Over the next five years, there will be increasing focus on the inter-agency operability of all emergency services”, adds Stephen. This will occur through standardising communications systems and the provision of inter-agency training and equipment, following a number of operations that required the skills of multiple units such as the recent flood and bushfires. Industry revenue is forecast to increase over the next five years to 2016-17.
The market share concentration level of the Emergency Services industry dipped in 2008-09 as the government reallocated resources to firefighters to combat severe bushfires in Victoria and again in 2010-11 when personnel were mobilised to address severe flooding, particularly in Queensland. These events aside, there has been a trend of increasing concentration as the top four players are police organisations: NSW Police Force, Queensland Police Service, Police Department (Vic) and Australian Federal Police. Concentration levels differ from segment to segment. Within the police services segment, industry concentration is virtually monopolistic as each police department has exclusive jurisdiction in certain areas. The AFP and ASIO have powers that extend nationally, but that generally do not conflict with powers of state police forces. The concentration level is also high in the ambulance services segment. The concentration level is medium in the firefighting services segment.