Australia — The ACT Government has appointed a new chief for the ACT Rural Fire Service (RFS).
Andrew Stark will take over as chief officer of the Rural Fire Service at the end of the month.
He is currently manager of the far-south coast area for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
Emergency Services Minister Simon Corbell says the appointment will help strengthen the Territory’s emergency services.
“This is the first chief officer appointment following my announcement earlier this year to re-establish independent chief officers for all Emergency Services Agency (ESA) services, with the aim of further strengthening ESA governance,” Mr Corbell said.
“I took this decision in response to a series of in-depth discussions I had with the ACT Bushfire Council in relation to ACT rural fire service arrangements, as well as other stakeholders including unions and volunteers about the fire and ambulance services within the Territory.”
Mr Corbell says Mr Stark has more than 20 years of emergency services experience.
He has spent six and half years with the NSW RFS after working for six years with the NSW ambulance service.
Mr Stark says he is entering the role at a time of great change for emergency services around the country.
“Its been quite a period of change since the 2003 Canberra bushfires,” he said.
“The Canberra [ACT] Government is reacting to the outcome of the Victorian Royal Commission similarly to the way governments in Victoria and around south east Australia. So there’ll be some new policies and some new ways of doing things to implement there… I have seen evidence where the ACT Government has moved even quicker than other governments around, in relation to the new warnings and bushfire danger”
He says preparation is the key to bushfire fighting.
Canberra finds itself in the south east where we have a range of issues with bushfires right across regardless of jurisdictional or government boundaries and there will be plenty of challenges to ensure we can deal with bushfire events as they occur.”