Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has welcomed only the second Commissioner in its proud history of keeping Queenslanders safe.
Gregory Leach officially commenced the role following a ceremony at Emergency Services Headquarters today.
A senior emergency services executive, Mr Leach brings a wealth of experience across both fire and emergency and ambulance services in Victoria.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford said he was confident Mr Leach’s leadership would see QFES continue its outstanding service to the community into the new decade.
“Queensland is blessed with some exceptional emergency services leaders, and Mr Leach joins an esteemed class of highly regarded professionals within QFES,” Minister Crawford said.
“As all Queenslanders know, we receive more than our fair share of Mother Nature’s torment, but that also means we have the most experienced personnel in Australia to serve our communities.
“Commissioner Leach has managed responses to some of our nation’s worst fire emergencies, most recently to the Nunnett/Timbarra fire in East Gippsland in February.”
Mr Crawford also acknowledged the outstanding service of Mike Wassing, who has acted in the role of Commissioner since Katarina Carroll’s appointment as Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service in July.
“Mike has led Queensland through one of the most difficult bushfire seasons in history – one that is not over – and I know he will continue to make a significant contribution to QFES and our community.”
Commissioner Leach said he was looking forward to leading QFES in its continuing evolution to face the challenges of the future.
“The role of our QFES staff and volunteers in the community cannot be understated,” he said.
“Whether it be battling bushfires, rescuing traffic accident or house fire victims, searching bushland for a missing child, or those who provide support behind the scenes – everyone plays their part,” Mr Leach said.
“This is an organisation I’m extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to lead, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“I know Queensland is living through a difficult bushfire season and, with the support of my leadership team, QFES will be continuing to protect the lives and property of Queenslanders with everything we have.”
Since August, Queensland has experienced more than 3,000 bushfires, with almost 200,000 hectares of land burnt.
Elevated fire dangers are expected to continue into this week, with fire bans in place across many local government areas.
Minister Crawford said it was important Queenslanders not become complacent, given fire weather was not expected to ease until significant rain falls, which is not likely until at least January.
“This bushfire season, with its high temperatures and strong winds, following an extended period of drought, has been more resource-intensive for QFES than anything in the past decade,” Minister Crawford said.
Queenslanders are reminded to follow the latest bushfire advice and warnings by accessing the QFES website and social media channels, and tuning into local radio.
For bushfire preparation and survival tips, visit www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
The Honourable Craig Crawford