New SAFECOM Chief Executive appointed

A proven South Australian leader with extensive experience in the public sector, who served as a nurse before ascending to executive appointments in health and emergency management, is the new South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM) Chief Executive.

Following a competitive and thorough national search, Julia Waddington-Powell has been appointed to the role.

Mrs Waddington-Powell currently serves as SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) Executive Director of Operations (Country, Rescue Retrieval & Aviation Services).

She is responsible for leading SAAS’ strategic direction to maintain sustainable, quality service delivery throughout country South Australia.

Mrs Waddington-Powell handles high-pressure responsibility in her current role – and has throughout her career – directing thousands of volunteers and career staff.

This experience will hold her in good stead to deliver South Australia’s most important Emergency Services Sector projects, including a new $80 million purpose-built headquarters at Keswick.

Mrs Waddington-Powell will oversee the final construction phase of the earthquake resistant headquarters where the CFS, MFS, SES and SAFECOM leadership will permanently unite for the first time in state history. Project completion is expected by the 2021/22 bushfire season.

A core understanding of the values of the emergency services organisations under the SAFECOM umbrella will help Mrs Waddington-Powell fulfill her obligations in the role to the highest standard.

“SAFECOM plays a very important role in supporting the SES, CFS and MFS to ensure that volunteers and career staff across the sector are provided with the resources to support their work,” she said.

“I am excited to be joining the organisation at this time particularly given the number of key projects currently underway which will greatly add to the operational response capability of the sector.”

Mrs Waddington-Powell replaces former Chief Executive Dominic Lane AFSM, who resigned in April to take up a new executive position in the New South Wales Government.

Mr Lane now leads the Operational Management and Partnerships Division of Resilience NSW.

Emergency Services Minister Vincent Tarzia extended a warm welcome to Mrs Waddington-Powell and thanked acting SAFECOM Chief Executive Mary-Anne Healy for her service in the interim.

She will start the role on August 2.

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