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2003 fire boss has rocky landing taking over Emergency Services

By johnboy - 1 November 2012 8

The ABC has news on some brawling surrounding the appointment of Tony Graham as the ACT Emergency Services Commissioner:

During the 2003 Canberra bushfires, Mr Graham was the operations officer and incident controller.

At an inquest into the disaster, Coroner Maria Doogan said “Mr Graham displayed a lack of judgement by failing to recognise the limitations of his skills and experience in dealing with major fire events.”

In a written statement, United Firefighters Union ACT branch secretary David Livingstone says union members do not trust Mr Graham’s leadership credentials.

Simon Corbell and JACS have come to Mr Graham’s defence.

What’s Your opinion?


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8 Responses to
2003 fire boss has rocky landing taking over Emergency Services
planeguy 1:31 pm 03 Nov 12

Hmm, the UFU vs (the lucky to still be a) minister.

The UFU is a highly effective Union at getting what it wants for its members – no doubting that – but they often do it at the expense of their employers, other Emergency Services and the community. And they do it by playing the media very well. This is obviously a concerted on there part. Probably sparked by a concern that one of their own is not getting a cushy job, just as much for any concern over the actual person chosen.

It was perhaps a bit naive of ESA and the government though, that the initial announcements and media of Graham’s acting failed to mention the 2003 fires and coronial findings at all.

Now without passing critique on the choice of Graham as acting commish, I will say that 2 of the four services in ESA are hoping for a non-firey to get the permanent job…

andym 2:31 pm 01 Nov 12

Thumper said :

That was 2003. And it seemed that there was huge political influence exerted upon certain people at that time.

If he is going to make his decisions based on political pressure rather then the job at hand then I rest my case.

MissChief 1:42 pm 01 Nov 12

The vote’s been taken – time for Corbell to go.

Mr Evil 12:51 pm 01 Nov 12

– At an inquest into the disaster, Coroner Maria Doogan said “Mr Graham displayed a lack of judgement by failing to recognise the limitations of his skills and experience in dealing with major fire events.” –

I think you could add a few names to that list, including one former Chief Minister and several others who should have known a lot better.

Maybe Graham got the job based on the fact that he could spell ‘incident’, and Kate Jackson had sullied her copybook elsewhere?

p1 12:05 pm 01 Nov 12

ACT Emergency Services Commissioner does not mean he has to control every incident on the ground does it?

Surely he would have a staff of experienced people to advise him on the actual putting out of fires and stuff?

Although, as someone said, confidence of the underlings would appear to be an important hurdle for a leader to get over.

Thumper 11:36 am 01 Nov 12

andym said :

Emergency Services Minister Simon Corbell described the comments as cowardly and disgraceful.
“Tony Graham is a good man,” he said.
“He is a very competent and experienced, [he is an] emergency management professional.”

I am sure he is a good man and appears to know he is way around managing SES teams in storms and floods, but he knows dick about fighting fires. Hopefully just a temporary appointment that doesnt turn into a permanent one.

I am sure he is a good man and appears to know he is way around managing SES teams in storms and floods, but he knows dick about fighting fires. Hopefully just a temporary appointment that doesnt turn into a permanent one

That was 2003. And it seemed that there was huge political influence exerted upon certain people at that time.

54-11 11:26 am 01 Nov 12

Surely fire-fighting is as much about trust as it is about technical knowledge and experience. If the troops cannot have any trust in their boss (“Mr Graham displayed a lack of judgement by failing to recognise the limitations of his skills and experience in dealing with major fire events.”), then the operation becomes dysfunctional.

Even if Corbell and JACs are right, that Graham is a nice guy and has learned his lesson, this is far too inadequate at a time of emergency when trust is at a premium.

This is a major fail (again) by Corbell.

andym 10:32 am 01 Nov 12

Emergency Services Minister Simon Corbell described the comments as cowardly and disgraceful.
“Tony Graham is a good man,” he said.
“He is a very competent and experienced, [he is an] emergency management professional.”

I am sure he is a good man and appears to know he is way around managing SES teams in storms and floods, but he knows dick about fighting fires. Hopefully just a temporary appointment that doesnt turn into a permanent one.

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