Governing Board

The Governing Board meets regularly throughout the year.

Mr Len Foster AO

Independent Chairman

Mr Foster is the Independent Chairman of the Bushfire CRC Governing Board. He was appointed to this position in April 2007.

He is formerly the Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian Fire Authorities Council, the peak body representing Australia’s fire agencies, including bushfire and structural fire services.  Mr Foster was also Chairman of the Country Fire Authority of Victoria (CFA), Chairman of the Australian Government’s Bushfire Advisory Committee and a Director of the Australian National Aerial Fire Fighting Centre (NAFC).

Prior to his association with the fire industry Mr Foster was Director General of the Department Conservation, Forest and Lands in Victoria, which encompassed all firefighting activities in State Forests and National Parks. He was responsible for the amalgamation of formerly independent areas of forestry, the National Parks Service, Lands Department, Soil Conservation Commission and Department of Fisheries.

Mr Mike Taylor AO

CRC Independent Director

Mike Taylor is the current Chair of the Gardiner Foundation and was previously the part time Chair of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

Prior to this appointment Mike has had more than 15 years of extensive experience at chief executive level. This included that of Secretary to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, regional services and Local Government (2007-09), Secretary to the Department of Transport and Regional Services - Australia (2004-07) and Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry – Australia (2000-04). 

Prior to 2000 he was Secretary for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (1996-2000) and before that, he was responsible for the leadership and management of two other Departments for the Government of Victoria(1992-1996). He was also Chief Executive of the Australian Dairy Industry Council (1991-92).

Mike is a member of the Melbourne University-Melbourne Business School Board of Directors (2008-), a Member, of the Crawford Fund Board of Directors (2001- ) supporting international agricultural research, and a Member, of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (2004- ) providing support to rural communities.

Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM

Bushfire CRC Board, Stakeholder Council

Shane Fitzsimmons has 25 years experience with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) serving as both a volunteer and salaried officer. In 1998 he was appointed an Assistant Commissioner with the RFS and has held portfolio responsibilities for Operations, Strategic Development and Regional Management.

In 2004 he was appointed the inaugural Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) Visiting Fellow to the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) for a period of 12 months. In September 2007 he was appointed Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service. In March 2008 he was appointed a Director of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) and is currently the Chair of the NAFC Board. He is a member of the NSW State Rescue Board and has recently been appointed Chairman.

Shane was awarded the National Medal in 1999 and the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in 2001.

He is a Director on the Board of the Bushfire CRC and on the Bushfire CRC Stakeholder Council.

Murray Dudfield

Stakeholder Council

Murray Dudfield is the National Rural Fire Officer for the National Rural Fire Authority in New Zealand. Murray was appointed to this position in 1990.

His role is to ensure the effective and efficient administration of fire management over the 27 million hectares of forested and rural lands of New Zealand.  This includes the national administration and co-ordination of the 97 Rural Fire Authorities.

He also has a forest management background holding a number of management position  for the New Zealand Forest Service from 1973 through until 1987.

He is a current member of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council and is the Chairperson of the Rural Land Management Strategic Group. He was elected to the Board of the Bushfire CRC in May 2007.

Professor Alistar Robertson

Stakeholder Council

Alistar's research discipline is the ecology of natural and agricultural systems with a particular emphasis on food chains and biogeochemistry.

He has held research positions with Dalhousie University in Canada, the CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and Charles Sturt University. He was the Dean, of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UWA between 2003 and early 2008. His current role focuses on strategic environmental research initiatives with government agencies and industry.
He has served on national and international committees responsible for resource management, training and research. These include the Torres Strait Baseline Study Management Advisory Committee, the Water Quality Technical Advisory Panel for the Great Barrier Reef, the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Committee, the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy’s Environmental Engineering/Science Task Force, the Australian Research Council’s Biological Sciences Discipline Panel and Expert Advisory Committee on Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, and as a member of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Centres of Research  Excellence Fund.

He is currently a Director on the Board of the Bushfire CRC and a member of the Boards of the Western Australian Marine Research Institution, the International Water Centre and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research.

Yvonne Sneddon

Yvonne is a professional non-executive company Director, with fifteen years experience on unlisted public company and government boards and has chaired a number of audit, finance, governance and risk committees.  She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and available for listed and unlisted national and international directorships.

Until 2004 Yvonne was a Partner in Deloitte in Adelaide, after a term as a Partner at Ferrier Hodgson, Chartered Accountants. She is Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, with over thirty years experience providing financial services and business advice across a wide range of industries including engineering, legal, health, water, insurance and finance.

Yvonne’s board appointments reflect her strategic, governance, financial and commercial competencies and experience.

Stuart Ellis

Stakeholder Council

Stuart Ellis is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC). 

Stuart Ellis is an ex SAS Officer who served with the Australian Defence Force for 22 years.  During this time he gained significant operational experience.  On leaving the Defence Force he was appointed CEO and Chief Officer of the Country Fire Service in South Australia from 1996-2001. During that period he became Deputy President of the AFAC.

He has been involved in a number of major inquiries including, The Black Hawk Disaster in 1996 and the Operational Review into the Canberra Bushfires in 2003

Stuart Chaired and co-authored the COAG National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management in 2004 and recently consulted to the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission 2009 – 2010.  He was also involved in the Major Incident Review for FESA WA into the Lake Clifton, Red Hill and Roleystone Fires 2011 and the Independant Review of the Operational Response into the Christchurch Earthquake 2012. 

Has provided independent emergency management advice and services to all Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand over the last 10 years.  He has gained extensive knowledge observing and analysing Incident Management at all levels.

Craig Lapsley

Craig Lapsley has nearly 30 years’ experience in the Emergency management sector. Commencing his career with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) as a volunteer, he finished his employment in 2007 as the Deputy Chief Officer.

In 1996, Craig was seconded to the NSW Fire Brigade (Sydney) as the Manager State Operations and in 2005 was seconded to the Victorian State Emergency Service (SES) in order to transform it from a Government Department to a Statutory Authority. During his time with the SES he fulfilled the role of Director and later the Chief Executive Officer. In 2007, Craig was appointed the Director Emergency Management – Health and Human Services sector.

Craig was appointed the first Fire Services Commissioner for Victoria in 2010.  He prides himself on being dynamic in the Emergency Management industry and a strong believer in the integration of the community into all levels of Emergency Management.