​​​​SEMC Members

​​​​​​​Dr Ron Edwards - Chair

Independent Member


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.  

​Ms Emma Cole - Deputy Chai​r

Independent Member 

Emma is the Mayor of the City of Vincent and has been involved in local government for eight years. As a full-time Mayor of a dynamic inner-city Council, Emma is an advocate for reform in the way that local government serves community, engages and responds to issues and is transparent and innovative.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emma led the City of Vincent’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Strategy which established new governance structures and relief and support measures in response to evolving public health restrictions and rapidly changing community and business needs.

With a strong interest in planning, Emma is the Metropolitan Local Government representative on the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) and a Member of the WAPC’s Executive, Property and Finance Committee.

Emma has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a background as a public servant working in government policy across diverse areas, from public sector management to Aboriginal Health. This has provided her with experience in effective project management, understanding legislative and governance frameworks and a commitment to consultative and accountable decision making.

Emma Cole has been the SEMC Deputy Chair, and Chair of the Recovery and Community Engagement Subcommittee, since October 2020.

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​Independent Member - Position vacant

Independent Member 



​Ms Melissa Pexton

Executive Officer


Melissa Pexton is the Director Risk Capability and Analysis at the Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA (DFES) and the Executive Officer of the State Emergency Management Services WA (SEMC).  Melissa has also recently held the position of SEMC Deputy Chair and Chair of the SEMC Recovery and Community Engagement Subcommittee.

Prior to joining DFES, Melissa was the Manager Emergency Management for the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), an independent, membership-based group representing and supporting the work and interests of 140 Local Governments state-wide.

Melissa held positions with Emergency Management Western Australia (EMWA) as Principal Policy and Planning Officer and Manager Community Emergency Management Services overseeing the WANDRRA, NDRP, AWARE and regional staff.

Melissa has built extensive community emergency management experience working in the community engagement portfolio of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) working extensively with communities, emergency service volunteers and staff, alongside local governments to build resilience and understanding of the impacts of natural hazards in the community.  

Ms Pexton was appointed as Deputy Chair of the SEMC in May 2018 and Chair SEMC Recovery and Community Engagement Subcommittee.  


​Ms Emily Roper ​


Emily Roper is the Director General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC). 

As the head of DPC, Emily is responsible for leading the public sector in providing whole-of-Government advice and support to the Premier and Cabinet in their service of the WA community

Emily has held various leadership positions in both State and Commonwealth Governments, with experience spanning over a 21-year period in a range of areas including national security, intelligence and reform. 

Prior to this role, Emily was the Deputy Director General of the Inter-Governmental Relations and COVID-19 at DPC, responsible for leading engagement with the Australian and other State and Territory governments and supporting WA’s COVID-19 pandemic response. 

Emily has also held the Deputy Director General, Policy and Reform position, overseeing Aboriginal, social, economic and environment policy, as well as the Government’s public sector reform program. 

Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Murdoch University, majoring in Psychology.

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​Mr Darren Kl​emm AFSM


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​ APM


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 Andrew Robertson, CSC PSM


Dr Andrew (Andy) Robertson is the Assistant Director General and Chief Health Officer within the Public and Aboriginal Health Division in the Western Australia Department of Health (WA Health). With specialist qualifications in Public Health Medicine and Medical Administration, he served with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from 1984 until 2003, including completing three tours to Iraq as a Biological Weapons Chief Inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in 1996 and 1997. He remains in the RAN's Active Reserve, and was promoted to Commodore and took up the role of Director General Navy Health Reserves in July 2015 to 2019.

​In October 2003, Dr Robertson took up the position of the Director, Disaster Preparedness and Management in WA Health. In December 2004, he led the Australian Medical Relief team into the Maldives post tsunami, managed WA Health's response to the 2005 Bali Bombing, led the WA Health team into Indonesia after the Yogyakarta earthquakes in June 2006, worked as the Radiation Health Adviser to the Australian Embassy after the Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011 and conducted the AUSMAT needs assessment in Nepal after the Nepal earthquake in 2015. Since 2008, as Director, Disaster Management and Deputy Chief Health Officer, he has coordinated the WA Health disaster and public health responses to the Ashmore Reef incident, the H1N1 2009 pandemic, the 2011 CHOGM meeting, the 2014 Ebola preparations, and acted as the Chief Information Officer and the Chief Medical Officer. He has been undertaking the current role since June 2018. 

​Mr Mark We​bb PSM


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 Mike Rowe  


Mike Rowe is the Director General of the Department of Communities.  Mike was previously Director General of the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation in Western Australia, which was established on 1 July 2017. Mike moved into the role following three years as the Director General of the former Department of Water.

Having worked in a variety of leadership, policy, advisory and delivery roles since 1993, Mike is an experienced member of the WA Government's senior executive service. His experience spans natural resources management portfolios including agriculture, environment and water. He has also worked with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and other portfolio areas including Aboriginal affairs and public sector management. 

Mike studied environmental science and holds postgraduate qualifications in social research and program evaluation and public sector management. 

Mike is currently the President of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (Western Australia) and a board member of Leadership WA.​

​Mr Nick Sloan 


Nick is the Chief Executive Officer at the Western Australian local Government Association.  Nick has experience at Executive level in State Government including roles across regional and metropolitan Western Australia. During this time, Nick has managed complex policy agendas at both State and Local Government level.  

Most recently Nick was the Executive Director, Planning and Service Delivery at the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. 

Nick has wide-ranging Board experience and is currently a Director on the Board of the Local Government Insurance Scheme and NaturePlay WA, having previously served as Deputy Chair on the Western Australian Local Government Grants Commission and the Board of the Western Australian Institute of Sport.

Mr Nick Sloan has been a SEMC Member since August 2019. ​​