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Defence Honours & Awards


State and Territory Government Awards

The Australian states and territories have instituted a range of awards to recognise service and achievement of members of state and territory organisations. These include long service and bravery awards for police, ambulance, emergency service and corrective service personnel. An example is the ACT Emergency Medal instituted by the ACT to recognise those who were involved in fighting the 2003 bushfires. These awards are not included in the Australian system and are not to be worn with official awards on ADF uniform.

The administration of these awards is the sole responsibility of the respective states and territories. If you have any questions on these awards, you should contact the protocol branches of the states and territories. DH&A has no authority or responsibility in administering these awards.

Awards such as the National Medal which recognises long service in a range of organisations, including state and territory government organisations are part of the Australian system and are permitted to be worn on a uniform with other official awards.

ACT Emergency Medal

The text of an ADF signal relating to the ACT Emergency Medal is below:

  1. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government has established an Emergency Medal to recognise service by uniformed emergency services and registered or sworn members of a uniformed response agency who perform magnificently in very dangerous circumstances or in a significant emergency in the ACT. The medal is initially being awarded for firefighting and recovery efforts during and after the January 2003 bushfires.
  2. In response to an offer by the ACT government for ADF personnel to accept and wear the ACT Emergency Medal on service uniforms, CDF advised the ACT government that as a federal body, the ADF must conform to Australia's national system of honours and awards when decorating its members. The ACT Emergency Medal and other state and territory awards (such as state police diligent and distinguished service medals) do not form part of the national system and therefore should not be worn on Commonwealth uniforms.
  3. Whilst it is acknowledged that state and territory awards are normally worn on the right breast, the ADF already has a number of defence awards that are worn on the right side. To add further accoutrements to this system would complicate the order of precedence.
  4. However, as this is such a significant recognition of service to the community, eligible personnel may wear the medal on the right breast when attending any official function of the ACT government in either civilian attire or in uniform. This is consistent with federal government policy in relation to wearing of awards that do not fit within the national system, such as some medals bestowed by foreign governments.
  5. ADF members who are offered the Emergency Medal by the ACT government may accept the award for restricted wearing under the above conditions.