Fresh Start For CFA: New Leadership To Deliver Reform

17 June 2016

A new board of the Country Fire Authority has today been appointed to deliver reforms that the organisation needs to keep Victoria safe.

The new board will be chaired by Mr Greg Smith AM, with Ms Michelle McLean to serve as deputy chair.

The other board members are Ms Pam White, Dr Gillian Sparkes, and Mr Simon Weir.

The board brings together decades of experience in governance, industrial law, public policy, and financial management.

Its make-up is in line with the Andrews Labor Government’s policy of appointing women to at least 50 percent of paid board positions.

The board’s first priority will be to resolve the long running Enterprise Agreement dispute so that volunteer and career firefighters can focus on fighting fires and keeping their communities safe.

The new board will drive cultural change in the CFA, with a focus on lifting morale and ending the deep divide between senior management and firefighters that was identified in the Fire Services Review.

It will also improve governance practices within the CFA so that what occurred at the Fiskville Training Facility never happens again.

In accordance with the Country Fire Authority Act, the Minister has asked Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria to nominate a further four members to join the board.

I thank the previous board for their service to the CFA.


Chair Greg Smith AM

Mr Smith is the principal of G R Smith and Associates, with decades of experience in industrial arbitration and conciliation. Mr Smith was a Commissioner for the Fair Work Commission and its predecessors for almost three decades, under successive Federal Governments, and was made Deputy President in 2012. He has worked extensively for international organisations, including the United Nations, and was an advisor to the South African Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. He is currently a board member of Ambulance Victoria and Life Education Victoria.

Deputy Chair Michelle McLean

Ms McLean is the CEO and Partner of Cornwall Stodart Lawyers and an expert in finance, governance and people management. She is on the executive council of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Royal Agricultural Society. Ms McLean has previously been a board member of the Mercy Health Foundation, and is a former President of the Australian Legal Practice Management Association.

Dr Gillian Sparkes

Dr Sparkes is the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability in Victoria and was originally appointed to the position by the previous Coalition Government. She is an expert in public sector management and stakeholder engagement. Dr Sparkes has held senior positions in the private sector with BHP and Brambles, and the public sector with WorkSafe Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment. Dr Sparkes has previously served on the board of South Gippsland Water and as Chair of Sustainability Victoria.

Ms Pam White

Ms White is the Chairperson of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, and has extensive public service experience. She is a former CEO of the State Services Authority, and served as the State Recovery Coordinator in the Department of Human Services. Ms White was appointed as an adviser to the Victorian Flood Review by the previous Coalition Government and also served as CEO to the Victorian Reconstruction and Recovery Authority after the Black Saturday bushfires.

Simon Weir

Mr Weir is a barrister with more than thirty years’ experience in workplace law. He has worked as a Partner of Slater and Gordon and was a Senior Legal Counsel for the Victorian Workcover Authority. Mr Weir has consulted for Wisewould Mahony and was a senior associate for Hall and Wilcox.

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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