The National Medal was created by Royal Warrant and is awarded by the Governor General to personnel in Australia's emergency services.
This award recognises prolonged exposure to hazard in the service of the community. It is available to operational members in approved organisations that protect life and property at some risk to their members. This includes government agencies such as ambulance, correctional, emergency, fire and police forces, and voluntary organisations such as lifesaving and search and rescue groups. The National Medal is Australia's most awarded civilian medal.
- Fifteen years diligent service is required to qualify for the Medal.
- National Medal holders may be eligible for National Medal Clasps for each subsequent 10 years of diligent service.
- Service does not need to be continuous, only total service must meet this requirement.
- In some circumstances previous service in other approved organisations may be added to CFA service and counted toward the National Medal.
The National Medal is awarded for diligent long service to the community in hazardous circumstances, including in times of emergency and national disaster, in direct protection of life and property.
In order to be eligible for a National Medal, the applicant must meet each of the following criteria:
- At least 15 years' diligent service to fulfil the primary function of the organisation.
Diligent service is defined as service that has been of good standard and conscientious and where the person has shown good conduct as a member:
The expectation would be that the member would have shown a high level of dedication to the service and their fellow members, they have been industrious, and have been carrying out their duties with perseverance and painstaking effort.
The primary functions of CFA are fire prevention and fire suppression. These are established by legislation. (S14 of CFA Act 1958)
- Fully trained to fulfil the primary function for the entire period
The individual must have maintained an appropriate level of competence sufficient to be able to carry out their duties for the whole of the relevant period through attendance at organised training or activities.
- Fit for duty for the entire period
Any period where the individual was not fit to carry out their duties shall not be included in the calculation of eligible service.
- Engaged as a member, or ready and able to participate in their nominated function for the whole period.
The application must indicate that the Brigade member was involved in, or prepared and trained to be involved in fire prevention or suppression duties at all times throughout the period of service in question. Engagement in these duties does not have to constitute the sole focus of the application however it must be shown that the applicant does meet these base criteria.
The Government guide Chief Officer’s Manual for the National Medal is the principal resource for interpreting the National Medal Regulations.
The National Medal is a circular bronze medal 38 millimetres in diameter ensigned with the Crown of St Edward. The front of the medal features the Commonwealth Coat of Arms in a recessed circle. The rim of the medal carries the inscription 'The National Medal'. The back of the medal is engraved with the recipient's name. The medal was designed by Mr Stuart Devlin AO CMG.
- The 32 millimetre-wide ribbon features 15 alternating gold and blue vertical stripes.
- The medal is complemented with a miniature and ribbon bar.