Ten members of the ACT Emergency Services Agency were recognised in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours. The annual awards celebrate distinguished service by members of an Australian emergency service.
The Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) recognises distinguished service by the men and women of Australia’s ambulance organisations.
The Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) recognises distinguished service by members of Australian fire services, both paid and volunteer.
The Emergency Services Medal (ESM) recognises distinguished service by members of emergency services across Australia, and people who are involved in emergency management, training, or education.
The 2022 recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honours from the ACT Emergency Services Agency are:
- Ms Tammy Bennett (ACTSES) awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM)
- Mr Cameron Beresford (ACTESA) awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM)
- Mr Peter Coble (ACTF&R) awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)
- Mr Matthew Dutkiewicz (ACTRFS) awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)
- Mr Stephen Forbes (ACTESA) awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM)
- MMr Nathan Henderson-Smith (ACTSES) awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM)
- Mr Peter Le Lievre (ACTAS) awarded the Ambulance Service Medal (ASM)
- Mr Adrian Manning (ACTSES) awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM)
- Mr Philip Nolen (ACTSES) awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM)
- Mr Gregory Potts (ACTRFS) awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)
Congratulations to the deserving recipients! Read more about each of the recipients below.
For meritorious service and commitment to the protection of the ACT Community during the COVID-19 response and for diligent and effective service as a member of the ACT State Emergency Service. Mrs Tammy Bennett has been a valued member of the ACT State Emergency Service since August 2012. During this time she has held a number of Volunteer roles, rising to Deputy Commander, taking a hands on approach leading the unit for operational response. Tammy has also been employed within the ACT State Emergency Service as the Community Liaison Officer.
Tammy is an active volunteer who consistently provides diligent and effective service through countless callouts to storm, flood, searches, support to fires and ACT COVID taskings. She has deployed interstate on many occasions to support emergencies including the Hunter Valley and Grafton Storms/Flood recovery operations 2015 and 2018, and Tropical Cyclone Debbie 2017 for rapid damage assessment operations.
During the ACT COVID response to Community support in 2020 Tammy completed numerous shifts as the Team Leader at the Canberra Relief Network managed by Canberra Community Directorate. The work involved managing Volunteers and working with staff in the organising, coordination and packing of food and welfare hampers for delivery to Charities across Canberra, for onforwarding to vulnerable citizens.
Cameron has been a key leader within the ACT Emergency Services Agency for all elements of the Agency’s support to the ACT community in relation to the whole of government COVID-19 response.
During the 2021 ACT Lockdown, Cameron was deployed into the Health Emergency Control Centre, alongside other ESA Senior Officers, to provide planning and outbreak control support to Public Health officials. Over the course of two months, Cameron undertook long hours in the Deputy Outbreak Controller and Strategic Planning roles, working for ongoing dedication to protecting the community through leadership in planning and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. For commitment in going above and beyond in developing and implementing strategies to ensure the community continued to receive the support required to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Peter Coble joined ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R) on 7 February 2002 after a successful career with ACT Parks and Conservation Service and ACT Policing. Peter was also a volunteer member of ACT Rural Fire Service, Rivers Brigade, for 10 years 1992-2002. Peter’s dedication to community service is evidenced through his paid and volunteer positions across four operational services. Throughout Peter’s almost 20-year career with ACTF&R, he has dedicated himself above the expectations of an operational firefighter, to contributing to the betterment of ACTF&R’s capability through innovation in the areas of information and communication technology, as well as increasing the resilience of vulnerable members of the Canberra community.
Peter has consistently transferred his operational experience in the areas of Vertical Rescue and Communication Centre Operations to his peers as an instructor in these technical disciplines. In 2008, Peter also served as a lead instructor for ACTF&R Recruit College 32. Peter was on operational duty during the 2003 Canberra Bushfires and the 2019-2020 National Bushfire Emergency. Peter was deployed to the Regional Incident Control Centre in Tumut as Liaison Officer between ACT and NSW during the 2019-2020 National Bushfire Emergency.
In 2016, Peter championed ACTF&R’s partnership with the Deafness Resource Centre to install smoke alarms the homes of the hearing impaired. This partnership has resulted in the installation of over 60 of these units in the homes of some of Canberra’s most vulnerable citizens. Peter was awarded the ACT Community Protection Medal in 2016 for this work.
More recently, Peter has dedicated his career to increasing ACTF&R’s capability through technical innovation. This has included the rollout of smart phones apps and information sharing platforms that enhance ACTF&R’s response capability and increase firefighter safety. Peter has been integral to ACT Emergency Services Agency Communications Centre Reform Project, and the introduction of new radios, and Computer Aided Dispatch technology. These reforms have enabled ACTF&R to dedicate more firefighters to frontline roles, improving firefighter safety through more contemporary and reliable communications stems and procedures.
Mr Dutkiewicz joined the ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) in 1993 and has been an active firefighter with Rivers Volunteer Bushfire Brigade (Rivers) for over 28 years. He has held senior positions within Rivers, including Deputy Captain from 2001 to 2007 and Captain from 2007 to 2016.
His leadership has made him a trusted and respected role model within the service as well as a point of contact and support for members of Rivers.
He has attended numerous major incidents during his extensive career, including the Eurobodalla and Canberra Christmas fires in 2001. He lost his family home and all his possessions whilst out protecting other people’s properties during the Canberra 2003 fires.
He was Sector Leader and Crew Leader on two deployments to Black Saturday fires in Vic 2009.
Over the Black Summer 2019-2020 fire season he served on major fire grounds at the mid-North Coast, Braidwood, Nerriga and Adaminaby in NSW, and Pialligo and Orroral Valley in the ACT. He led crews who saved several houses near Possum Brush and during the firestorm at Nerriga, NSW.
Matt was having a break from firefighting at his parents’ home in Malua Bay on New Year’s Day 2020, when the Currowan fire impacted. He and his brother used garden hoses to save their parents’ house, and several neighbouring houses.
Matt also undertakes significant engagement within the Canberra community on fire safety.
Matt was the initiator of, and integral member of a small team of volunteers who produced “Ablaze. The Long, Hot Summer of 2019-20”, a photo book about the fires from the perspective of ACTRFS firefighters. This book has helped ACT firefighters and the community reflect and recover from the Black Summer 2019-20 fires.
Mr Forbes has been a leader in the development of the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) mapping, spatial, data and digital services capabilities since the inception of the ESA in 2004. In this role, Mr Forbes has led teams to pioneer significant workflow improvements, particularly in the field of operational intelligence, to the benefit of pre-incident mitigation and planning, operational situational awareness and decision making and post-incident recovery and continual improvement. Mr Forbes’ played an integral role in developing innovative capabilities for the ACT and, in some cases, the first of their kind in Australia. Prior to the 2018/19 High Risk Weather Season, Mr Forbes led a team from the ACT and NSW to develop and implement the Specialist Intelligence Gathering (SIG) fire detection helicopter, an aerial asset that provides live streaming, infrared and high-resolution observation that allows an IMT to view real time images and video of incidents. Since the inception of the Australia-first capability in the ACT and southern NSW, this program has been extended into other Australian jurisdictions.
Mr Forbes has demonstrated over more than 30 years of service his passion for service improvement through innovation in spatial, data and ICT technologies. Mr Forbes has pioneered new ways of representing spatial data to improve the intelligence options for an IMT. Mr Forbes has been integral to the ESAs response to the ACT COVID-19 pandemic, providing invaluable assistance to the spatial requirements of ACT Health, including the development of a capability to visually represent exposure sites to assist with contact tracing and isolation strategies. Within ESA, Mr Forbes led a team to develop an enhanced ‘Intelligence Hub’ that could actively track new and updated exposure locations and the home locations of ESA staff in order to quickly provide situational awareness on the COVID-19 impacts on the ability of ESA to deliver critical services and implement business continuity measures if required.
Mr Nathan Henderson-Smith is a dedicated and highly valued member of the ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES) both as a volunteer and staff member serving as a front-line volunteer since 2005. He has responded to requests for assistance during floods, storms and missing person searches and contributed to, and led, the training of other volunteers. He held the positions of Team Leader and Deputy Commander and deployed in 2009 for Victorian Bushfires and 2012 and 2015 Sydney storms and floods as well as numerous local operations.
Mr Henderson-Smith commenced as a staff member in 2014 as Learning and Development Coordinator and is responsible for program development, program delivery, quality assurance, and oversight of services training. Mr Henderson-Smith has shown great dedication and enthusiasm ensuring that volunteer members of the ACTSES receive the best training possible in a timely, effective and efficient manner.
Mr Henderson-Smith was instrumental in the redesign and redevelopment of the ACTSES Recruitment and college style training practices of the Service in 2016 which has resulted in a greater retention of volunteer members and ensuring that new members are qualified and confident to support the ACT Community.
Since the Health Emergency in March 2020, Mr Henderson-Smith has supported ACT Government’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic via the ACTESAs and ACTSES support response, by leading planning and operational support to the community through coordination of delivery of food relief hampers, COVID-19 testing centres and delivery of laptop computers to school students.
Mr Henderson-Smith continues to demonstrate an outstanding level of commitment to the ACTSES and its members. His leadership and commitment ensures the ACT can deliver its valuable service to the community. He is highly regarded by ACTSES volunteers and directly contributes to the ongoing development of the ACTSES into the professional organisation it is today.
Peter joined the ACT Ambulance Service in 1978. Over the next 15 years he progressed to the position of Clinical Instructor. He was a member of the first cohort of advanced life support officers for the ACT Ambulance Service. A transfer to the Queensland Ambulance Service followed in 1993. During that time, Peter took a key role in the establishment of the first intensive care paramedic programme for Queensland Ambulance. He then moved to the Rural Ambulance Victoria where he filled senior clinical and operations management positions, first in Gippsland, then later in North-Eastern Victoria. Following a period employed with the Commonwealth Health Department and Defence Department Joint Health Command, Peter returned to the ACT Ambulance Service in 2014. He has been employed in senior key operations management roles since that time, as well as maintaining his skills and registrations as an operational paramedic.
Mr Adrian Manning commenced service with the ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES) in 1999. Since joining the ACTSES he has serviced in a range of volunteer roles including Training Officer, Team Leader, Deputy Commander and for the past six and a half years he has been the Unit Commander of the Woden SES Unit.
Mr Manning is an outstanding representative of the ACTSES, his time spent within the Service as a volunteer is commendable. Mr Manning is a skilled trainer and assessor, and he is always willing to make himself available for training and assessment activities. Mr Manning freely gives his time to ensure that members from across the Service, not just within his own Unit, are provided every opportunity to be properly trained and assessed across a range of ACTSES core activities. Mr Manning’s efforts and selfless attitude have directly resulted in there being a significantly greater number of competent volunteers to support the ACT and broader Community.
Mr Manning has made exceptional contributions to the service through his leadership and continuous improvement of ACTSES response capabilities, devoting countless hours in enabling the operational capabilities of his unit. This has seen that Woden Unit is always able to stand up teams regardless of the need, be it community engagement, storm response, search, or support to ACT Rural Fire Service and Australian Federal Police, including interstate deployments. He himself demonstrates a considerable commitment and involvement in service operations and community activities, including support to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, 2016 Hunter Valley Region Floods, and the 2019-2020 Bushfires that impacted the eastern coast of Australia.
Mr Manning is a leader of exceptional quality and is highly regarded, approachable and compassionate among his peers in the ACTSES. He works tirelessly to ensure that the capabilities of the ACTSES and the volunteers are well known and promoted within the emergency service sector of the ACT.
Mr Philip Nolen has demonstrated outstanding commitment, drive and extraordinary dedication to serving the Canberra community as a volunteer with the ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES) since 2010. During this time Mr Nolen has successfully held numerous positions with the ACTSES Tuggeranong Unit including Team Leader, Deputy Commander and Commander.
As a Deputy Commander between 2014 to 2016 and then Commander of the Tuggeranong Unit from 2018 to 2021, Mr Nolen was responsible for the leadership, management and overall direction of the Unit, which included operational preparedness and deployments, capability development and the wellbeing of members whilst overseeing training and the management of all human resource concerns. Mr Nolen has represented the Tuggeranong Unit at senior leadership working groups and actively undertaken leadership positions for ACTSES operational response to storm, flood and search requests for assistance. Mr Nolen’s dedication to the ACT Community during the COVID-19 response was exemplarity, going above and beyond the expectation of a volunteer. Mr Nolan worked tirelessly in expertly coordinating the Tuggeranong Unit to maintain engagement during this difficult time, whilst also ensuring the Tuggeranong Unit remained operationally ready to respond to any requests for assistance, leading from the front through his own commitment providing a significant contribution to the ACT COVID-19 response. Mr Nolen is a leader of exceptional quality and is highly regarded among his peers in the ACTSES. He works tirelessly to ensure that the capabilities of the ACTSES and the volunteer are well known and promoted within the emergency service sector of the ACT.
As a current Operational member of the ACT Rural Fire Service since 2011, Mr Gregory Stephen Potts has dedicated more than 25 years to supporting Australian communities since first joining the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS) in September 1996. Mr Potts was also a member of the NSW State Emergency Service (NSWSES) between 1998 to 2004. During his time with NSWRFS Mr Potts held several positions within the Bermagui Brigade during which he was involved in firefighting efforts during the 2003 bushfires in the Adaminaby area.
As a member of the ACTRFS, Mr Potts provided valuable support during the 2019/20 Bushfire Season. This support included sharing knowledge, and experience to members from both the NSWRFS and ACTRFS during the extensive fire activities we experienced in the region.
Mr Potts has dedicated both his volunteer and salaried career to ensuring the safety of his communities through improved interface asset protection zones, improved bushfire fuel reduction activities and advising on best practice development in bushfire prone areas. Mr Potts has also been key to discussions around the protection of critical infrastructure which is often overlooked during bushfire protection activities and significant bushfires.
Mr Potts has made a significant contribution to the preparedness, safety, and wellbeing of the communities of South-East NSW and the ACT throughout his 25-year career, and particularly during the challenges of 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfires. Mr Potts has served his communities with the highest regard for their protection from the impact of bushfires and has always challenged the services to look for improvements to better protect life, property, and the environment.
Mr Potts has also made valuable and consistent contribution to the COVID-19 response, working with several areas of the ACT community. In his role in the Incident Management Team Mr Potts coordinated staff and volunteers in areas including testing centre welfare, computer deliveries to students, Health operations officer and delivery of Rapid Antigen Tests to school students and vulnerable community groups.