First female AFAC president appointed

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York has been appointed as the first female president of Australia and New Zealand’s national fire and emergency council.

Commissioner Carlene York

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has congratulated Commissioner York on her appointment to the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services National Council (AFAC) and welcomed stronger collaboration between the two nations’ emergency services.

“Her experience as NSWPF’s Northern Region Commander – where she coordinated the emergency response to storms, tornadoes, bushfires and floods – demonstrates she is the outstanding choice to lead AFAC,” the Mr Perrottet said.

Commissioner York, who was also appointed Chair of the AFAC Board, has led the NSW SES for two years after a career of almost 40 years with the NSW Police Force.

Commissioner York was voted in as AFAC President at the AFAC National Council meeting on 27 October 2021.

The AFAC National Council comprises 33 members representing fire, emergency and land management agencies across Australia and New Zealand.

Better skills through diversity

“Commissioner York’s appointment as the first female AFAC President supports the continuing effort to address gender balance and support women in leadership roles across a traditionally male-dominated sector,” AFAC said.

“As the severity and frequency of hazard events increase with a changing climate, inviting a diversity of experience, thinking and capability will better equip the sector with the skills needed to adapt to this future.”

As SES commander, Commissioner York leads 9,000 SES volunteers and 33 members representing fire, emergency and land management agencies across Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s a tribute to the experience and skills of Commissioner York, that she been chosen for this position and understands the pressures staff and volunteers face during a crisis, Police and Emergency Services minister David Elliott said.

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor welcomed the appointment of the first female AFAC President.

“Woman have made incredible contributions to combat agencies for a long time, so I am really pleased to see this reflected in the well-deserved appointment of Commissioner York,” Mrs Taylor said.

Commissioner York replaces FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter who served five years as AFAC President.

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