There are 8 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.
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.
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 Fearnside
Tony Fearnside’s background is in forest management, which inevitably in southern Australia requires a good knowledge of fire behaviour and fire suppression. He has been a member of the ACT Bushfire Council since January 2007, he was Chief Fire Control Officer from 1967 to 1974 and subsequently a member and deputy chairman of the Council. From 1983 to 1995 he worked on various overseas assignments. His fire experience included fire suppression, publicity, hazard reduction, policy formulation, collaboration in bush fire research and organisational development (including strengthening volunteer fire brigades). Since 1996 he has prepared fire management plans and bushfire risk assessments for a number of clients in both the government and private sectors in the ACT and nearby NSW.
Ms 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.
Mr Simon Katz
Simon has been a member the ACT RFS for over 25 years, serving as Captain of the Rivers Volunteer Brigade for 18 years. He has performed numerous level 1 and 2 Incident Controller roles as well as level 3 Operations Officer and Divisional Commander roles within the ACT and on interstate deployments from the 1994 Sydney fires up until the 2009 Victorian fires. He was actively involved with the ACT Volunteer Brigades Association and has served on the Committee of the ACT Fire Controllers group. He currently serves on the ACT Bushfire Council, and was awarded an Australian Fire Service Medal in 2002. He is employed within the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and is a member of the ACT Pre Formed Incident Management Team roster.
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 Michael Lonergan
Michael holds a B.Ec degree from the Australian National University. He has been a member of both the ACT and NSW Rural Fire Services and a firefighter for almost 40 years. Michael first became a member of the ACT Bushfire Council in 1988 and has served for most years since, for two years as Deputy Chairman. He has extensive interest in the science, management and suppression of bushfires. He is a former Chairman of the ACT Volunteer Brigades Association and has been Captain of two New South Wales Volunteer Brigades. Michael is currently a Group Captain in the Monaro Zone of the NSWRFS and is a member of the Snowy Monaro Bushfire Management Committee.
Mr Peter Beutel
Peter Beutel has worked in Forestry and Land Management roles in Queensland and the ACT since 1983. He has extensive experience in the management of native forests and pine plantations and the associated fire management. Peter become a member of the ACTRFS through the Forests Brigade in 2001 and Parks Brigade in 2006. In 2010, he became a volunteer in the Gungahlin Brigade and Group Officer for the Service. He has undertaken operational and IMT roles at fires in the ACT, management roles on several interstate deployments and managed hazard reduction burns. He has also undertaken incident management roles in pre-formed IMT’s, equestrian horse flu outbreaks, flood events and public events.
Ms Sarah Sharp
Sarah has more than 20 years experience working as a Plant Ecologist, both as a consultant and with the ACT Government. Her major area of expertise is in the conservation of lowland ecosystems in the ACT and region, including threatened communities and associated threatened species. She has extensive knowledge of the bush areas of the ACT (on and off-reserve). She provides scientific and management advice to government and private landholders, which includes advice regarding the role of fire in achieving ecological outcomes. Her work has included monitoring condition of ecosystems, and she has written a manual and provides training in monitoring to conservation volunteers. Recently she undertook a study of the ecological condition of all of Canberra Nature Park for the Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability.