Council members

There are 11 members of the ACT Bushfire Council, the following provides a short biography of each of the current members.

Mr Kevin Jeffery (Chair)

Kevin Jeffery has been involved in volunteer bushfire fighting since his early teenage years, growing up in a farming family with three generations of involvement in bushfire fighting.  Kevin has been a member of the ACT Bushfire Council for over 15 years, and he is the current Chair.  He has been a member of the Southern ACT volunteer bushfire brigade for 24 years and has held various positions including Senior Deputy Captain for the past 9 years.  Kevin has experience in fire suppression and command of fire-fighting teams, hazard reductions, management of volunteer brigades, and development of bushfire strategy and policy development.

Ms Cathy Parsons

Cathy Parsons holds a postgraduate qualification in urban and regional planning. She was most recently CEO of Green Globe Asia Pacific, a business offering environmental certification to tourism operations worldwide. Prior to that she worked as a Senior Executive for the Commonwealth and ACT Governments for over 15 years, responsible for dealing with a range of environmental, tourism and cultural issues. During that time she was head of the parks and land management functions for the ACT and chaired the ACT Bushfire Council. Cathy is currently an independent consultant providing urban planning policy advice to a range of organisations.

Mr Tony Bartlett

Tony Bartlett has worked in forestry and natural resources management for more than 35 years, in Victoria, Nepal, Vanuatu, the ACT and with the Australian Government. He has extensive experience in the management of native forests and plantations as well as in forest fire management. He was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in 2006 and has been a firefighter since 1973. He has been a Regional Fire Protection Officer in eastern Victoria, a Deputy Chief Fire Control Officer in the ACT and he is an experienced Level 3 Incident Controller. From 1999 to mid 2005, he was the Director of ACT Forests and in that role he had significant leadership roles in the 2001 and 2003 bushfires. He has co-authored a number of articles on mega-fires and fire management in plantations.

Dr Marion Leiba

Marion Leiba has a B.Sc degree from University of Tasmania, and M.Sc and PhD degrees from University of Hawaii.  In the 1970s, she studied volcanoes in New Zealand and worked at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. She worked for Geoscience Australia for 20 years and now works as a Disaster Risk Scientist consultant involved in multi-hazard risk assessments. She has been a member of the ACT Bushfire Council since 2008 and is a Member of the Community Education Unit of the ACT SES. Her personal involvement with bushfires is from living in a fire-affected suburb of Hobart at the time of the 1967 bushfires, and her involvement with Mt Stromlo Observatory before and immediately after it was partly destroyed by the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

Ms Christine Goonrey

Christine has been active in community environmental organisations for the past ten years. She is currently president of the National Parks Australia Council, Secretary of the Conservation Council of the ACT Region President and Immediate Past President of the National Parks Association of the ACT. She works with Gudgenby Bush Regeneration Group and Friends of Glenburn on restoring natural and built heritage in ACT reserves and Namadgi National Park. She has been a member of the ACT Bushfire Council since 2008 and was a member of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan Advisory Committee. Prior to retirement she was a senior policy adviser in various Federal departments and before that taught in both NSW and ACT high schools for fifteen years.

Mr Andrew Joyce

Andrew Joyce is a recent member of the ACT Bushfire Council, but has been involved in urban and rural fire-fighting for over 25 years, with both the ACT Rural Fire Service and the Country Fire Authority in Victoria.  Andrew has been a member of the volunteer ACT Jerrabomberra Rural Fire Brigade for over 15 years and has held various positions including President, Captain, Vice President and Deputy Captain.  Andrew holds BA and LLB degrees and has wide experience in urban and rural fire suppression – including major bushfires in VIC and the ACT; command and control of fire-fighting teams; hazard reduction; leadership and management of volunteer brigades; and the development of emergency management policy at the national level.

Mr Steve Angus

Steve was born and bred in Canberra and has been a member of the ACT Rural Fire Service for 30 years.  Steve has been actively engaged with the Southern Volunteer Brigade since first joining up in 1986. He is currently the Captain of that brigade, and has served in that capacity since 2012. Prior to his position as Captain, Steve held the position of Deputy Captain actively from 1990. Steve has also been active in the local rural industry for the majority of his life, and purchased a property in the Naas Valley in 1999. Steve’s local knowledge, practical approach and understanding of local issues, in particular as relates to the rural community, blend effectively with his significant bushfire management experience.  These qualities combine thoroughly qualifying Stephen as a valuable contributor to bushfire management across the ACT.

Ms Natarsha Carney

Ms Natarsha Carney has been a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service for over five years and holds a Certificate II in Public Safety and is specialised in Aerial Fire-fighting.  Ms Carney holds a Bachelor of Marine Science and Management (UNE), Masters in Environmental Science (UNE) and Graduate Certificate in Public Administration (UC). Ms Carney is an Aboriginal woman from the Wiradjuri nation and has undertaken courses in Indigenous land management and fire management regimes for the purposes of both biodiversity and natural regeneration.  Ms Carney was involved with a study undertaken by the Bushfire CRC into fire fighter safety and sleep patterns while on deployment and is currently employed at the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture.

Mr Mick George

Mr Mick George has a Bachelor of Science and a professional background in forestry and natural resource management. Mr Mick George is a NSW rural property owner, volunteer member of the Gungahlin Brigade of the ACT Rural Fire Service, and is an advanced firefighter specialised in remote area fire-fighting. Mr George has previously been involved with a number of Australian Government international climate change programs and one of these intersected with prescribed burning and indigenous customary burning practices.  Mr George has previously been involved with national policy forums developing national bushfire policy whilst working in the Department of Agriculture.

Ms Sandra Lauer

Ms Sandra Lauer has a Bachelor of Arts/Economics (ANU), Masters in Geographical Science (ANU) and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. Ms Lauer is an ACT small business owner and ACT residential property owner. Ms Lauer owns a rural property in Michelago NSW and is a volunteer with the NSW Colinton Rural Fire Brigade.  Ms Lauer has undertaken an historical investigation of the Monaro, South Eastern NSW and of fire management throughout Australia, with an emphasis on NSW.  Ms Lauer is involved with cross border bushfire training activities involving NSW and ACT and currently undertaking a PhD into the changing functions of Rural Fire Service brigades in NSW.

Dr Sarah Ryan

Dr Sarah Ryan has a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) Honors Class 1 (UWA), a Graduate Diploma in Development Studies (DU) and a PhD in Agriculture (UWA). Sarah Ryan is currently the Deputy Chancellor of the University of Canberra and has extensive experience in natural resource management having previously been employed with CSIRO for over 25 years.  Dr Ryan has an understanding of the ACT Government planning processes and was the foundation chair of the ACT Natural Resource Management Council (NRMC) and has served for over 8 years on the NRMC.    Dr Ryan has previously served on a number of ministerially appointed advisory bodies including NRMC, CIT and Public Education.