The 2003 West Australian Emergency Management Conference from 27–28 March this year fulfilled its aim to demystify issues surrounding emergency management and to spotlight major emergencies such as Bellevue and the lessons that Western Australia has learned from it. In her welcoming address, the Minister for Emergency Services, Michelle Roberts MLA said, “local government and communities must take action to reduce the impact of emergencies by understanding the risks in their community.” West Australia is faced with a broad range of emergencies ranging from cyclones and bush fires to transport and industrial accidents. The conference provided an opportunity for international and local speakers and delegates to focus what is happening in Western Australia and what external influences at the national and international level are impacting the State. The overarching theme of the conference was to have a ‘warts and all’ look at Western Australia's emergency management capability. More than 150 emergency management professionals attending the conference participated in all areas of the conference program. Their positive feedback indicated that a conference helped them to understand contemporary issues in emergency management as well as to demystify recurring challenges.