By 1972, around 100 voluntary Civil Defence Units had been established in municipalities across Victoria. That same year, Parliament passed the State Emergency Services and Civil Defence Act which formally legislated the role of the Victoria Civil Defence Organisation.

In 1973, the first Civil Defence Organisation headquarters was established at 31 Queens Road, Melbourne and in 1975 the Victoria Civil Defence Organisation was renamed the Victoria State Emergency Service to conform with other states.

In 1979, the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services was created. Its branches included Victoria Police, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Country Fire Authority and Victoria State Emergency Service.

In 1981, the Victoria State Emergency Service Act was passed. This act formally recognised VICSES as a general emergency management agency and on 1 November 2005, VICSES was established as an independent Statutory Authority.

2015 marked 40 years of VICSES. This was a time to reflect and celebrate our achievements, challenges and evolution from a Civil Defence Organisation to the organisation we are today.