Monday, June 24, 2024

NSW SES Commissioner to retire

NSW State Emergency Service (SES) Commissioner Carlene York APM has announced her retirement from the role, after almost five years leading the emergency service agency.

Commissioner York will step down next month and hand over to Deputy Commissioners Damien Johnston and Deborah Platz.

Commissioner York (pictured) joined the NSW SES in October 2019, becoming the first woman to lead the agency in its almost 70-year history, and the first woman leader of any emergency service in the state.

Her time at the SES saw her leading the agency through some of the state’s worst natural disasters, including record-breaking floods and the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing support during the Black Summer bushfires.

“It has been an honour to lead an organisation made up of such committed and professional individuals. Over the years I’ve drawn inspiration from their strength, resilience and selflessness,” Commissioner York said today.

“I am so proud to have had the experience of being the first female Commissioner. While it is bittersweet to be leaving a job I love, I look forward to seeing the future achievements of the incredible SES team.

“It has been such a privilege to lead an organisation which at the very heart is run by its volunteers. I have been so honoured and humbled to be a part of this and to witness the incredible goodwill of our volunteers and the resilience of our state’s communities.

“There have definitely been days that are heartbreaking and tough. But even in the very worst of times I have witnessed the very best of humanity.”

Carlene York during her time with NSW Police.

Commissioner York joined the SES after almost 40 years in the NSW Police Force, where she served as director of the Forensic Service Group, Commander of Northern Region, Human Resources Commander and led the strike force that captured convicted murderer Malcolm Naden in 2012.

Her professionalism and work ethic have seen her receive numerous awards, including the Australian Police Medal and the Commissioner’s Commendation for Service.

Deputy Commissioners Damien Johnston and Deborah Platz will alternate as Acting Commissioner while a recruitment process is undertaken.

“This milestone is an important opportunity to recognise Commissioner York’s significant leadership achievements over a long and distinguished career dedicated to serving the people of NSW,” said Emergency Services Minister, Jihad Dib.

“She leaves the NSW State Emergency Service in a stronger position to face future disasters, with a strengthened organisation a testament to her leadership.

“I know that she will be greatly missed by many at the SES where she has established a positive culture amongst volunteers and worked hard to make the agency an attractive organisation to join.

“In my time as Minister, Commissioner York has demonstrated her longstanding commitment to be there to help when NSW communities need it the most.

“I wish her all the best as she enters retirement, as will countless others who have worked with the Commissioner as she has driven change to improve workforce welfare, community preparedness and our emergency response,” he said.

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