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New Deputy Fire Commissioner appointed

Published: 28th June 2012

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Assistant Commissioner Jim Smith was today officially appointed to take over from Deputy Commissioner John Benson who has retired after an esteemed career spanning almost 40 years.

FRNSW Commissioner Greg Mullins, who announced the new appointment, said Assistant Commissioner Smith brought significant skills, experience and knowledge to the job which governs FRNSW’s operational response capability.

“Assistant Commissioner Smith was most recently in command of FRNSW’s regional operations statewide and has led the organisation’s community safety directorate,” he said.

“He joined FRNSW 32 years ago and has extensive experience at the helm of a number of commands, such as the Newcastle, Hunter, Central Coast and Illawarra regions, as well as managing FRNSW’s bushfire and natural hazards section.”

The appointment was made following an exhaustive recruitment process which resulted in applications being received from around Australia and overseas.

“My congratulations to Assistant Commissioner Smith on his appointment and I wish him every success in this demanding role,” Commissioner Mullins said.

Deputy Commissioner John Benson was farewelled at FRNSW’s headquarters yesterday afternoon after a highly commendable career that culminated in his appointment as Deputy Commissioner six years ago. Nearly 200 firefighters and support staff formed a guard of honour as he prepared to leave the City of Sydney Fire Station, with Commissioner Mullins leading a general salute.

“John has played an integral role in building Fire & Rescue’s operational capabilities, including our specialist urban search and rescue task forces which responded to help in Christchurch and Japan last year,” Commissioner Mullins said.

“He has made an outstanding contribution to FRNSW, formerly the NSW Fire Brigades, throughout his career. I wish him all the very best for his retirement and thank him for his outstanding achievements during his many years of service.”