ACT News


Heat is on for new ESA commissioner

The ACT's new emergency services chief has taken up his post, following a week of intense activity for the territory's firefighters.

Dominic Lane started in his role as Emergency Services Agency commissioner on Monday, leaving his role as an assistant commissioner with the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Mr Lane toured the agency headquarters at Fairbairn with Emergency Services Minister Simon Corbell on Monday morning.

The new commissioner, who started his career at the RFS as a volunteer and worked his way up through the ranks, replaces former ESA boss Mark Crosweller, who resigned to take up a role as director-general of Emergency Management Australia.

Mr Lane will spend his first few days receiving briefings from the chief officers of the four emergency services; ACT Fire and Rescue, ACT Ambulance Service, the State Emergency Service, and the Rural Fire Service.

He will also prepare for the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Canberra Bushfires on Friday.


"It's an important event for Canberra, and on a personal level it's important that we learn and reflect on any emergency, whether that be the Victorian bushfires of 2009, the fires in NSW of 1994," Mr Lane said.

He closely observed the work of the ACT's emergency services during last week's horror bushfire conditions, which intensified workloads right across the agency.

"We're very mindful at this particular time, across Canberra and across this part of the world, just how important it is to be on our toes," Mr Lane said.

"We've seen that recently with the events of last week... we saw a wonderful effort involved here in Canberra over the last week," he said.

Mr Corbell welcomed Mr Lane to the role this morning, and thanked SES chief officer Tony Graham for his hard work as acting commissioner over the past month.

Mr Graham's appointment as acting commissioner had raised concerns from the United Firefighters Union, who pointed to criticism of his actions during the 2003 bushfires.

"What we have seen under Tony's leadership during that interim period was an outstanding marshalling of the resources, strong coordination on the ground amongst all our emergency services, and I have to say, I think some excellent work in rounding up and stopping a couple of fires that could have become very significant in the Namadgi National Park," Mr Corbell said.

"I think it does highlight that the ESA as a whole, all of our emergency services, have learnt some of the lessons of 2003," he said.

The appointment of Mr Lane comes just four days before the 10th anniversary of that disaster.