Australia Day Achievement Awards Warren Smith, Tiaro SES Group Leader
Australia Day Achievement Awards Warren Smith, Tiaro SES Group Leader Renee Albrecht

Recognition for dedicated Gympie region SES leader

THE commitment and achievements of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services staff and volunteers were recognised at an Australia Day Achievement Awards ceremony in the Gympie Civic Centre yesterday morning.

A number of Australia Day Medallions and Certificates of Appreciation were presented, including an Achievement Medallion for Tiaro SES group leader Warren Smith, who was awarded for Outstanding Service to the Fraser Coast through the State Emergency Service.

QFES Assistant Commissioner John Cawcutt said the ceremony demonstrated the exceptional level of dedication provided by staff and volunteers throughout the previous year.

"The ceremony is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate why the contribution of staff and volunteers is crucial to the ongoing success of QFES," Mr Cawcutt said.

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford congratulated the six recipients who received their Australia Day Achievement Medallions.

"Each member of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services recognised today should be proud of their efforts," Mr Crawford said.

"They often work under extremely challenging conditions and never do so for reward or tributes.

"The Australia Day Achievement Medallions are presented to high achievers who take it upon themselves to go beyond their normal course of duty," he said.

"These recipients fit that bill and have provided significant contribution to the delivery of fire and emergency services in Queensland."

Caloundra senior firefighter Greg Toman was awarded for his significant involvement in the development of QFES' specialist remote rescue team.

Mr Crawford said Mr Toman played a leading role in the training and development of remote rescue firefighters, who scale mountains to rescue trapped or injured people.

"The remote rescue component of QFES is an emerging capability within the service, and Greg has been at the forefront of championing its development to the benefit of the local community," he said.

"This specialised unit has already been involved in a number of significant incidents, particularly on the Sunshine Coast."

Mr Crawford also highlighted the work of State Emergency Service Yandaran Group Leader Ray Smith who was awarded a medallion.

"Thanks to Ray, the community can be assured highly-trained SES volunteers are on hand to answer the call for help when needed."

Similarly, Bundaberg SES Field Operations Member Cory Pignatelli was praised for his involvement in training the region's SES volunteers.

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said recipients had made outstanding contributions to their communities and the organisation.

Australia Day Appreciation Certificates were also handed out during the ceremony to recognise organisations who supported QFES within the past 12 months.

Clayton's Towing received a certificate for supporting training and exercises, while the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council was honoured for collaborating with QFES to provide operational services to the local community.