The following statement was made by the Minister for Emergency Services Hon Fran Logan today in the Lower House of Parliament
MR F.M. LOGAN (Cockburn — Minister for Emergency Services) [9.06 am]: I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge retiring Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson, APM, who led the transformation of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority into the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. Mr Gregson has given a lifetime of service to the people of Western Australia, first as a law enforcement officer, rising to the rank of assistant commissioner, and then as the state’s inaugural Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner. He came to the authority at a difficult time following the 2011 Perth hills bushfire inquiry. Mr Gregson transformed the agency into what we can now appreciate is one of Australia’s premier high-tech emergency response organisations. The department’s use of technology to protect this great state is a testament to Mr Gregson’s visionary thinking.
During Mr Gregson’s time as commissioner, a number of catastrophic and devastating fires tested his leadership and earnt him high praise amongst many in the emergency services sector. He led cultural change throughout the organisation and worked hard to bring volunteer and career firefighters together. His great achievements are too many to list to do true justice to them in such a brief forum. However, it is only fitting that I mention a few. Mr Gregson established the Office of Bushfire Risk Management, which operates independently from DFES, to assess the risk of prescribed burns. Under his leadership, DFES developed community bushfire risk management plans in conjunction with local governments to provide an agreed approach to bushfire risk mitigation. He also oversaw the introduction of crew protection, which saw the installation of burnover blankets, radiant heat shields, water deluge systems, in-cab breathing systems, and lagging and panels to protect vital equipment such as vehicle wiring, water and fuel lines for local government and DFES firefighting vehicles. The installation of automatic vehicle location systems was also undertaken to allow tracking and communication of firefighting vehicles on the ground. Under Mr Gregson’s stewardship, eligible firefighters now have access to a positive presumption for workers’ compensation when making claims for specified cancers.
Suffice to say, Mr Gregson’s contributions are extensive and impressive and will benefit the state of Western Australia well into the future. On behalf of this government and the state of Western Australia, I would like to thank Mr Gregson for his outstanding contribution and wish him all the best for his future.