Dr Ron Edwards has extensive board experience in the fisheries, the resources and not-for-profit sectors, including previous appointments on the Pacific Area Working Group for the Marine Stewardship Council, the Not-for-Profit Sector Reform Council, the Australian Social Inclusion Board and the Seafood Trade and Market Access Forum.
He is the co-founder of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation for indigenous youth and has also served on the boards of the Perth Mint, as Chair of Anglican Youth Ministries, the Anglican Schools Commission and as Chair of the Potato Marketing Corporation and the Rock Lobster Industry Advisory Committee. He is currently on the boards of Youth Focus, the Young Lives Matter Foundation, the National Landcare Advisory Committee and continues with the Polly Farmer Foundation.
Dr Edwards' career has also included strategic project work, academic, research and media communications roles, and he served as the Federal Member for Stirling in Western Australia between 1983 and 1993.
Dr Ron Edwards has been the SEMC Chair since October 2017.
With a passion for community and fascination with government, Ms Melissa Pexton has dedicated her career to working with communities to build resilience within the complex environment of emergency management
Ms Pexton currently oversees the Emergency Management Policy portfolio for Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA). WALGA is an independent, membership-based group representing and supporting 140 local governments statewide. Ms Pexton's draws on her background in community development, policy and advocacy to ensure that the interests and views of local government are conveyed to other spheres of government.
Prior to joining WALGA in May 2015, Ms Pexton held positions with Emergency Management Western Australia (EMWA) as Principal Policy and Planning Officer, during the implementation of the Emergency Management Act WA 2005 and later leading the Community Emergency Management Services portfolio, overseeing the Western Australian Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (WANDRRA), Natural Disaster Resilience Program, AWARE and State emergency management training. During this time, Ms Pexton was appointed as an Executive Officer to the State Emergency Management Committee and the State Emergency Coordination Group.
Ms Pexton has built extensive experience working in the community engagement portfolio of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (now Department of Fire and Emergency Services) working with emergency service volunteers and staff, alongside local governments and key stakeholders to build resilience and understanding of the impacts of natural hazards in the community.
Ms Pexton is regarded for her comprehensive understanding of the Emergency Management Policy Framework and her ability to facilitate beneficial outcomes involving diverse and varied stakeholders from all sectors of the community.
Ms Pexton was appointed as Deputy Chair of the SEMC in May 2018 and Chair SEMC Recovery and Community Engagement Subcommittee.
Mr Richard Simpson has significant commercial and management experience in the financial services sector and over 30 years' experience in providing investment banking and board governance advice to a range of corporate and government clients in Australia and internationally. He has worked in investment banks in London, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Mr Simpson was appointed to the Botanical Parks and Gardens Authority (BGPA) Board of Management as the Chairman in 2002 and is also Chair of its Audit Committee. He was Chairman and Managing Director of Hartleys Limited from 2003 to 2008 and Head of Corporate Finance from 2002 to 2009. He remains a Director of Hartleys Limited. He is currently a board member of WA Parks Foundation (June 2016).
Mr Richard Simpson has been a SEMC Independent Member since January 2015 and Chairman of the Lessons Management Reference Group.
Mr Mal Cronstedt commenced his career in the fire service as a volunteer in 1976 and then joined full-time in 1982, progressing through the ranks across the state in a variety of operational and support roles. Mr Cronstedt undertook a secondment to Fire & Rescue NSW (then NSW Fire Brigades) in 2003–04 and in 2005 joined the NSW Rural Fire Service as the Blue Mountains Superintendent. He returned to Western Australia in 2008 as Fire and Emergency Service Authority's Rural Operations Coordinator South and was subsequently appointed as Chief Superintendent Country South in July 2012, upon the creation of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).
Mr Cronstedt was appointed inaugural Director of the Office of Bushfire Risk Management in August 2012. In August 2014 he became Executive Director of the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) Secretariat (now OEM). Mr Cronstedt is an ex-officio member of the SEMC, Chair of the SEMC Risk subcommittee, member of the State Bushfire Coordinating Committee and member of the DFES Audit and Risk Committee. In addition, he is Chair of the Development Disability WA board, and sits on the Kensington Secondary School board as an independent member.
Mr Cronstedt holds a Master of Business Administration, a Graduate Diploma in Disaster Management and a Bachelor of Arts. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Institution of Fire Engineers and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government's Executive Fellows Program.
Mr Mal Cronstedt has been the SEMC Executive Officer since August 2014.
Mr Darren Foster was appointed as Director General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in July 2017.
Mr Foster has over 30 years of public sector experience as a senior policy and strategy adviser in Commonwealth, State and local governments, in areas as diverse as Environment, Treasury and Finance; Energy; Health; Education and Training; Tourism; Racing and Gaming and Native Title.
Mr Foster has held senior roles in the Department of Fisheries and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority, and the National Native Title Tribunal. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Communication and Cultural Studies) and a Postgraduate Diploma of Arts (History), and is an alumnus of the Australian and New Zealand School of Government Executive Fellows Program.
Mr Darren Foster has been a SEMC Member since October 2017.
Mr Darren Klemm has over 27 years of experience in fire and emergency services, having served three years with the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service before joining the WA Fire Brigades Board in 1993.
Originally posted to Perth Fire Station, he served at various metropolitan fire stations. This was followed by time in Country Operations in the Goldfields Midlands, based in Northam, which gave him the opportunity to gain considerable experience in regional firefighting operations, as well as the chance to work closely with volunteers.
Mr Klemm also spent time at the then FESA Training Centre before being promoted to Assistant Commissioner in 2012.
Over the last six years he has successfully delivered and implemented a number of high level strategic reforms, including delivering key aspects of the DFES response to the Report of the Perth Hills Bushfire. This facilitated significant changes across DFES and the EM sector in WA.
Mr Klemm has also been responsible for significant structural and cultural reform in the training and professional development of DFES personnel and volunteers, including management of the WA Fire and Emergency Services Academy and the introduction of the Professional Pathways competency based framework. He has been involved in strategic operations at State and Incident Controller level during significant emergencies such as the Waroona, O'Sullivan and Toodyay bushfires and Tropical Cyclone Olwyn.
Mr Klemm is a member of a number of national committees concerned with EM in Australia, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Management from the Australian Institute of Management. He was appointed as Commissioner of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services in August 2017.
Mr Darren Klemm has been a SEMC Member since October 2017.
Mr Chris Dawson joined WA Police as a cadet in February 1976, going on to provide 38 years of continuous service in country and metropolitan positions across a range of portfolios. He was appointed to the rank of Superintendent in 1999 when he became the inaugural principal of the WA Police Academy in Joondalup. The Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2002 saw him awarded the Australian Police Medal for distinguished service.
He was appointed Deputy Commissioner under Karl O'Callaghan in July 2004, with a brief to lead an agency reform program resulting from outcomes from the Kennedy Royal Commission. From May 2008 he had overall management of all operational policing within metropolitan and regional areas, including the specialist portfolios of serious and organised crime, counter terrorism and state protection.
In 2011, Mr Dawson headed up the biggest security operation in the history of WA Police, as State Commander for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). He was responsible for the security of all attending Heads of State from 53 Commonwealth countries and their respective senior ministers and delegates.
After ten years as Deputy Commissioner, Mr Dawson left WA Police in April 2014 to take up the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, formerly the Australian Crime Commission. He has also served as Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology at this time. He was appointed as Commissioner of the Western Australia Police Force in August 2017.
Mr Dawson has been a SEMC Member since October 2017.
Dr David Russell-Weisz was responsible for overseeing the commissioning of the Fiona Stanley Hospital. The Fiona Stanley Hospital is a major tertiary/quaternary hospital, offering comprehensive health care services to communities south of Perth and across Western Australia. The 783-bed hospital includes the 140-bed State Rehabilitation Service and will be a leader in clinical care, research and education. The hospital successfully opened the first two phases in October and November 2014, with the third phase opened in February 2015.
Dr Russell-Weisz was the Chief Executive, North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS), Perth, for six years. The NMHS consists of three tertiary hospitals and three outer metropolitan hospitals, many of which underwent significant redevelopment as part of the broader WA Health reform program. He oversaw, and was responsible for: the $1 billion redevelopment at the QE II Medical Centre; the contract management and expansion of the Joondalup Health Campus; and the Midland Health Campus, a new 307-bed facility in the eastern suburbs of Perth which was completed in late 2015.
Dr Russell-Weisz qualified from the University of Dundee, Scotland in 1987 and then continued his training as a procedural General Practitioner. Since moving to Australia in 1993, he has worked for the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Broken Hill and spent eight years in the North West of Western Australia, initially as a procedural GP and then as Director of Medical Services for the north west of the State. From 2004, Dr Russell-Weisz has held the appointments of Medical Director of King Edward Memorial Hospital and Executive Director of the Sir Charles Gairdner Group.
Dr David Russell-Weisz has been a SEMC Member since September 2015.
Mr Mark Webb has a Degree in Science (Agriculture) Hons from the University of Western Australia and a Postgraduate Certificate in Cross-sector Partnership from the University of Cambridge (UK).
Mr Webb was previously employed by the Department of Agriculture and Foods WA (DAFWA) for more than 15 years and worked in South Perth, Manjimup, Kununurra and Albany. He has extensive experience in horticultural research, public and private sector management, farming and business.
Mr Webb was CEO of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority from 2004 – 2017. From March 2016 to June 2017 he was Acting Director General of DAFWA. He sits on a number of local, national and international committees and boards. Mr Webb has been appointed to lead the new Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions as Interim Director General.
Mr Mark Webb has been a SEMC Member since October 2017.
Mr Grahame Searle was appointed to lead the State Government's regional services reform in June 2015 with a mandate to transform the way government services are provided to Aboriginal communities in WA.
Mr Searle has been a public service leader and innovator for many years. He successfully drove major organisational change in his former roles as Department of Housing director general (2008-2015) and Landgate CEO (2004-2008). He is widely respected in the State Government and by Aboriginal leaders for his ability to facilitate collaboration and achieve results.
At the Department of Housing he led the nation in fulfilling targets set under the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing, exceeding Indigenous employment targets for five consecutive years.
As State Reform Leader, he is overseeing sweeping, systemic and long-term changes that will lead to better living conditions and greater education and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people in regional and remote WA.
Mr Searle holds a Bachelor of Business from Monash University. He is a national fellow and former State president of the Institute of Public Administration Australia, a fellow of the Spatial Sciences Institutes well as being a board member of the Western Australian Treasury Corporation and Leadership WA. Grahame is also a former member of the Australia New Zealand Land Information Council and chairman of its Standing Committee on Land Administration. He is also a former board member of the CRC for Spatial Information and the Australia Housing and Urban Research Institute.
Mr Grahame Searle has been a SEMC Member since October 2017.
Prior to joining the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) in February 2000, Ms Ricky Burges was the Director General of the Department for Culture and the Arts, CEO of Perth Zoo, and Director of Human Resources at the WA Tourism Commission.
Ms Burges has a Masters in Leadership and Management from Curtin University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Development, a Certificate in Psychotherapy, and a Diploma in Coaching.
Ms Burges sits on the ROADS Foundation, the Board of MercyCare, the Local Government Insurance Board, the Murdoch Senate, the Western Australian Council on Homelessness, the Healthway Board and various Local Government committees and Boards.
Ms Burges is a past President of the Australian Institute of Management and the Board of the Art Gallery of Western Australia. She was the Western Australian Businesswoman of the Year in 1997 and was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2007.
Ms Ricky Burges has been a SEMC Member since January 2013.