Gregson named as first fire commissioner
Wayne Gregson, WA's first fire commissioner

Fire and Emergency Services Authority boss Wayne Gregson has been named as Western Australia's first Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner.

The incumbent FESA chief executive, Mr Gregson will head the organisation in its new guise as the Department of Fire and Emergency Services from tomorrow.

Premier Colin Barnett said Mr Gregson's appointment and FESA's hange to a Government department were two of the key recommendations of Mick Keelty's inquiry into the Perth Hills bushfires.

"As the new head of the department, the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner will be directly accountable to the Minister, the State Government and to the people of WA," Mr Barnett said.

"This was the intent of Mr Keelty's recommendation and I am extremely pleased that this has been achieved in readiness for the bushfire season."

The announcements were made at WA's new $40 million emergency services complex in Cockburn, which was opened this morning.

The purpose-built complex will serve as the headquarters of the new department.

“This new high-tech facility accommodates the state operations centre as well as the triple zero communications centre and it will set a new standard for how emergency incidents are managed across the state,” Premier Colin Barnett said.

The Government has also announced a support package to assist firefighters and volunteers experiencing hardship.

The package includes consistent insurance coverage for volunteers operating under the emergency services acts, and simpler compensation claims for firefighters who develop one of 12 prescribed cancers.

“For too long there has been a lack of clarity about insurance arrangements,” Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell said.

"Our Government will change this by amending the emergency services legislation to provide uniform insurance provisions for emergency services volunteers.”

The Minister said it was known that firefighters were at an increased risk of developing certain cancers through exposure to carcinogens.

A $1 million assistance scheme for emergency services volunteers experiencing financial hardship was also in the support package.

with AAP

The West Australian

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