NSW Rural Fire chief Shane Fitzsimmons, who became one of the nation’s most trusted voices as the face of the recent devastating summer bushfires, will head a new state disaster agency.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, says the new body, to be known as Resilience NSW, will oversee the government’s disaster preparedness and recovery efforts.
One of its first jobs will be to prepare a roadmap to recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
“The NSW community has shown extraordinary resilience in the face of many disasters – bushfires, drought, flood and now the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We know the next six months will be very difficult but we must already turn our mind to recovery.
“Through Resilience NSW we will re-double our efforts to prevent, prepare and recover from crises which impact NSW.”
Commissioner Fitzsimmons, who is retiring after 12 years at the helm of the RFS, said he was honoured to be taking on the new role.
He said resilience NSW will oversee and coordinate emergency management policy and service delivery, as well as disaster recovery, at state, national and international levels.
“There was never a more important time to make sure that communities devastated by drought, bushfires and now COVID-19 are getting the help they need to rebuild and recover,” he said.
RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers will take up the role of Commissioner.
Mr Rogers has held a number of senior roles with the RFS since joining as a volunteer in 1979 in regional management, community safety and operations.
He has also been involved in the leadership of the National Fire Danger Rating review, the enhancement of a state-wide Fire Behaviour Analysis capability and the development of a strategic network for fire trails across NSW. He was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in 2004.
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