First female Commissioner to lead ACT Emergency Services Agency

The ACT Government today welcomes Commissioner Georgeina Whelan as the fifth Commissioner to lead the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) into the next decade.

Commissioner Whelan spent almost two years in the role of Chief Officer of the ACT State Emergency Service (ACTSES). During this time, she has led the ACTSES during a number of storm, flood and bushfire events and immersed herself in every aspect of the Agency.

Prior to her time with the ESA, Commissioner Whelan led various front-line teams and international disaster management operations, including the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in Banda Aceh.

I am very pleased to see a woman being appointed to the Commissioner role. This further demonstrates the ACT Government’s commitment to strengthening the diversity of its workforce and support for the Women in Emergency Services Strategy.

Commissioner Whelan is highly regarded in the emergency services sector and across government. She will bring a renewed focus on the safety, training, health and wellbeing of our first responder staff and volunteers and continue to build upon the community’s trust of the Emergency Services Agency across its four individual services.

Commissioner Whelan brings strong leadership experience from across defence and emergency management roles that will benefit the ACT. Her skills and experiences as part of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services community has meant that she has quickly and confidently step into the Commissioner role.

Commissioner Whelan’s appointment ensures that ACT Emergency Services Agency has clear leadership in place as we head towards the next bushfire season.

I look forward working closely with Commissioner Whelan as we continue to enhance the capabilities of our Emergency Services Agency to ensure it remains one of Australia’s leading and most trusted emergency management organisations.

As stated by ACT ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan

“It is such a privilege to have been appointed to this role and the opportunity to continue to build upon the great work of the previous leadership.”

“It is an exciting time to be leading the Agency as we embark on a period of innovation that will ensure we remain at the forefront of the emergency response capability provided by to our community.”

“I look forward to engaging with our community and partners to inform the work of each of our four Services and the Agency as a whole. I will be working closely with each of the Service Chief Officers to ensure effective leadership of our dynamic team of staff and volunteers as we progress toward the next phase of the Agency’s maturation.”


Four previous ESA Commissioners have been appointed on a permanent basis:

  • Peter Dunn – 2003 to 2006
  • Gregor Manson – 2006 to 2009
  • Mark Crosweller – 2010 to 2013
  • Dominic Lane – 2013 to 2019

Commissioner Whelan’s appointment is for a five-year term to August 2024.

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