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Medals awarded for bushfire support

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Gavin Steele, Beth Whitworth, Kirstin Harrison, Mayor Jack Dempsey, Angela Everist and QFES North Coast Region Acting Assistant Commissioner Neil Francis

Recognised for their dedication and commitment during the 2019 / 2020 bushfires in the Bundaberg Region, four of Council’s Disaster Management team members were recently presented with National Emergency Medals.

Receiving the medals were Local Disaster Management Group Chairperson and General Manager Community and Environment Gavin Steele, Disaster Management Support Officer Beth Whitworth, Branch Manager Community Services Kirstin Harrison and Angela Everist who is now working for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) but was employed by Council as the Disaster Management Officer at the time of the bushfires.

The award criteria includes sustained service for a minimum of five days’ duration which must be in the protection of lives and property or in the service of interests that are not their own and in direct response to the emergency.  This includes support that enables or facilitates the emergency response.

Mayor Jack Dempsey praised the efforts of the medal recipients as well as the emergency services crews and volunteers who put in enormous hours, which meant time away from their families.

“I am immensely proud of our team and the part they played in coordination from a local government perspective,” Mayor Dempsey said. 

“We recognise their hard work and professionalism in doing the job they needed to do to protect the community.

“Their decision-making processes, carried out in conjunction with the emergency services teams, ensured the community, officers and volunteers were kept out of harm’s way.”

QFES North Coast Region Acting Assistant Commissioner Neil Francis attended the presentation to offer his congratulations and show support.

“The Queensland Disaster Management arrangement involves many important stakeholders and one of those is local government,” Act Ass Com Francis said.

“Essentially, local government and QFES partner up to make sure the community gets the services and support they need during disasters.

“The National Emergency Services Medal is a significant recognition of effort and commitment to the community.

“It’s not just handed out to everyone but has to be earned and it’s really important that we take the time to acknowledge staff, and today is a very good example.

“It’s great that Angela is receiving a medal as well and it’s important now that she is with QFES that we show that level of support to her, even though her commitment through Bundaberg Regional Council afforded her the award today.”

Kirstin Harrison was responsible for setting up the Evacuation Centre in Childers for Woodgate and Buxton residents who couldn’t make it back to their homes.  In receiving her medal, she acknowledged the work of those who assisted her.

“I accept this on behalf of the whole team,” Kirstin said.

“It’s not just my work but that of everyone who made things happen in the space of community wellbeing.”

bushfire medals Council
Mayor Jack Dempsey presents Kirstin Harrison with the QFES medal for their role in the Woodgate fire

The National Emergency Medal is administered by the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat at Government House who provides secretariat support to the National Emergency Medal Committee.

The National Emergency Medal Regulations 2011 were approved by Her Majesty The Queen in October 2011.

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