QFES Deputy Commissioner Appointments

Wednesday, 19 Aug 2015

To all QFES staff and volunteers,

I am pleased to advise that our extensive recruitment process to appoint three QFES Deputy Commissioners has now been finalised.

I must emphasise that the pool of applicants for the positions was one of the deepest in terms of talent I have encountered during my professional career. Included in the pool of 77 applicants for the three positions were current and former Commissioners and CEO’s of Fire and Emergency Services from across the globe as well as senior executives from most Australian States and Territories.

The process for appointing the Deputy Commissioners applicants was open and accountable and aligned with the Public Service Commission process for the ongoing appointments of Directors-General and CEO’s across Government. The panel comprised members highly regarded in their area of expertise and in the broader public and private sector.  An experienced executive recruitment company assisted in ensuring the process was conducted in a fair and equitable manner.

These senior officers will be an integral part of the QFES leadership team as we work to make QFES a more progressive, inclusive and efficient organisation.

Since having the honour of taking on the role of Commissioner I have consulted extensively with a range of stakeholders on how the structure of my most senior executive should look to ensure we provide the most effective service to the community of Queensland as well as meeting the expectations of all our members and stakeholders. 

As such I have determined it is critical there are two operational deputy positions - Deputy Commissioner (Operations and Emergency Management) and Deputy Commissioner (Emergency Service Volunteers).

The third position will focus on the critical work of positioning QFES for the future.  With these changes in mind the role of Deputy Commissioner (Operational Capability and Performance) will be re-aligned to become the Chief Strategy Officer (Capability and Performance).  This civilian role is essential in developing, communicating, executing and sustaining the strategic initiatives of QFES and will have a greater focus on business aspects of the organisation such as strategy, organisational alignment, governance, risk, performance and high level engagement.

It is my intention to examine the accountabilities of each Division to ensure all functions are clearly aligned and reflect the responsibilities and accountabilities of the appointed officers and other senior executives.  The Deputy Commissioners and the Chief Strategy Officer will assist me in quickly re-evaluating the Deputy Commissioner Divisional structures to ensure the Operations and Emergency Management and Emergency Services Volunteers areas are clearly aligned and able to focus on their functions.

I am confident this structure and the team that has been appointed will work with me to continue building on the excellent work already being undertaken by QFES and will take us to another level again.

I am extremely pleased to announce the following appointments.

Deputy Commissioner (Operations and Emergency Management): Mr Mark Roche

Mark commenced his career in Ipswich as an Auxiliary Firefighter in 1979 before joining the permanent firefighter ranks in 1980. He was first appointed as a Senior Officer in 1998 and undertook a variety of Senior Officer roles in Brisbane Region, South Eastern Region and state functions.

In 2006 he was appointed Assistant Commissioner, Far Northern Region.

Mark returned to Brisbane in 2008 as the Assistant Commissioner, Community Safety and Training, with responsibility for Professional Development, State Community Safety Operations, and Training and Emergency Management.

In November 2012, Mark commenced as the Acting Deputy Commissioner (Operations and Emergency Management). Mark was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in 2014.

He is also the President of the Australasian Road Rescue Organisation, the peak body in Australasia for the development and exchange of information, knowledge and skills in road rescue.

Deputy Commissioner (Emergency Service Volunteers): Mr Mike Wassing

Mike is currently the Assistant Chief Officer North West for the Country Fire Authority in Victoria and is responsible for over 11,000 volunteers and almost 400 staff in the provision of operational capability and service delivery.

With more than 25 years' experience in fire and emergency management Mike has extensive experience leading the management and coordination of responses to major emergencies within an all-hazards environment.

Mike has also served as the Acting Deputy Chief Officer for the CFA in the roles of State Operations and Emergency Management Planning as well as the Deputy Emergency Services Commissioner (Policy and Planning); and the Assistant Deputy Commissioner (Manager Operational Liaison and Planning).

He has strong leadership and interpersonal skills and the ability to mentor and coach others which will benefit QFES as it continues to be a more progressive, inclusive and efficient organisation.

Mike holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Management and Land Use Policy, a Diploma in Firefighting Operations and a Graduate Diploma of Business (Strategic Management).

Mike has been involved with the response to a wide range of major emergencies in Victoria and New South Wales such as bushfires, major structure fires, hazardous materials incidents, floods, road and rail accidents, search activities, and severe storms and is a recipient of the National Emergency Medal for the Vic 09 Fires.

Chief Strategy Officer (Capability and Performance): Mr Doug Smith

Mr Doug Smith is a former Chief Executive Officer of CrimTrac. CrimTrac is a national information-sharing service for Australia’s police, law enforcement and national security agencies.

Doug started his career with the Victorian Police Service in 1973 and in 1990 became an Inspector with the Queensland Police Service and went on to manage the Fitzgerald Implementation Unit in the Office of the Deputy Commissioner. In 1998 Doug was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services.

Since then he has worked in the Solomon Islands as a Consultant with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, and consulted for the Northern Territory Ombudsman on public sector compliance and performance.

Doug has obtained a Masters of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Public Administration and Government and History.

Doug has extensive experience in developing strategic and reform strategies for organisations. Doug’s role as Chief Strategy Officer (Capability and Performance) will be (as outlined above) to focus on governance, strategy, performance, transformation and risk as well as strategic engagement with stakeholders.  Doug will be charged with ensuring that QFES continually improves its business through more integrated systems and procedures.

I congratulate Mark, Mike and Doug on their appointments.  Doug will commence next Monday 24th August and Mike will commence on Monday 21st September 2015.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank a number of senior QFES staff who have acted in the Deputy Commissioner roles in recent years. These include Ian Mitchell, Neil Gallant, John Watson, Tom Dawson and Bryan Cifuentes.

I will also now move quickly to fill outstanding Assistant Commissioner positions as part of the next stage of creating more certainty in the QFES structure.  These positions will be advertised as soon as possible.


Katarina Carroll

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