2021 Election Candidates

Candidates for the 2021 FBEU State Committee of Management have provided short bios to support their candidacies.

They have been ordered according to the drawn ballot.

This page will continue to be updated as candidate bios are submitted.

President

Mick Nairn

My name is Mick Nairn. I’m a Relieving Officer and I’m standing for re-election to President.

I joined our union in 2001 as a Retained Firefighter and became Permanent in 2003. I’ve been stationed at 211 Ballina, 001 Headquarters, 16 Concord, 64 Lakemba, 15 Burwood, 33 Engadine and 54 Cronulla, before becoming Relieving Officer in February 2021. 

I became a Station Delegate and then Sub-Branch Executive member in 2009. I was elected as the first Sydney South Sub-Branch Secretary in 2012 before being elected President in 2018. During my time, I organised the successful Miranda by-election campaign which has been replicated as a model by National Firefighting Unions. I’ve worked on the successful campaign to introduce Firefighter Cancer Compensation Legislation and re-activating the Union’s delegate network. I sit on the D&D Fund Board with two other rank-and-file members. 

Organising is incredibly important as it’s the best way to ensure all members, stations and sections are engaged and have a voice in their union. We’ve built structures that give members control in decisions that affect us and our union, and I want to continue that work.

For more on my achievements and to join candidates on a debate: www.ourfbeu.net.au and www.facebook.com/OurFirefighterUnion

Carlos Henry

I joined the job and Union in 1986 and am currently a Station Officer at 77 St Marys.

I was the FBEU’s Senior Vice President from 2012 to 2018. I’ve held Hazmat and Rescue quals and been awarded numerous bravery awards, including the NSWFB Conspicuous Bravery Award and NSW Police Commendation Medal for Bravery.

I’m running for President to unite the FBEU and re-engage members by giving you a say in our direction. I plan to show the Government – no matter the party – that we are a force to be reckoned with through tactical and militant action and a united front. I also believe that we need diversity on the State Committee and our team will provide this.

They say that the standard you walk past is the standard you accept. The FBEU Members First team has the courage to not walk past. The State Committee is not a club and it shouldn’t behave like one. Our team will be open and honest and we’ll respect the trust members place in us to manage your money carefully.

For more on the FBEU Members First team and our plans for the next three years see www.fbeumembersfirst.com.au and www.facebook.com/FBEUMembersFirst/

Senior Vice President

Brett Carle

I’m Brett Carle and I’m running for the position of Senior Vice-President.

I became a Retained Firefighter in 2007 at 325 Helensburgh and immediately joined the Union. In 2008 I joined the permanent ranks. I am Hazmat qualified and currently at 13 Alexandria on A Platoon. As a relieving firefighter the past 9 years, I have worked from Berkeley Vale to Shoalhaven. Through this, I get a broad perspective on people’s concerns and priorities.

Firefighters should have a voice and be connected to shared experiences; through this I created the Independent Firefighters Forum. Firefighters who were fearful of criticism and backlash have asked me to speak on their behalf. Firefighters come to me for assistance as a trusted resource. If elected, this will continue with union backing.

I created the Firefighter CANCER Coalition where I have advocated for our members to the department and NSW Parliament.

As the Treasurer of the Burns Unit Fund, I visit recruits to advocate for the work the Burns Unit does and request their support.

I strongly believe in Honesty, Integrity, Trust and Transparency. It’s not OUR FBEU, it’s YOUR FBEU.

For more on my platform and bio, visit www.fbeumembersfirst.com.au and reach out via www.facebook.com/FBEUMembersFirst/

Trevor Ross

I’m Trevor Ross and I am a Senior Firefighter stationed at 78 Ropes Crossing. I’m standing for re-election to Senior Vice President.  

I joined our union in 1988 and have served as a firefighter for 39 years, 15 years as Retained and 24 years as Permanent. Prior to joining the Union, I was a Transport Workers Union member.  

I serve on the Training Review Committee, negotiating training with the Department, and the Review Policy Sub Committee to oversee changes to boundaries and the expansion of FRNSW fire districts. I’m involved in recruiting new members to our union and I support the Secretary, Executive and Staff in strategy and industrial matters.  

I am proud to have been a part of the rollout of the organising model for our union in which members are electing delegates and deciding what happens in stations and being supported by organisers. It means more members have more of a say and control of our union. I work hard on SCOM to make sure members are treated with the respect they deserve and have access to officials who work hard for them.

For more on what I’ve achieved and to join candidates at a debate: www.ourfbeu.net.au 

Junior Vice President

Matthew Graves

My name is Matthew Graves a Snr Firefighter based at 373 East Maitland.

I joined the brigade as a Retained in 2003 and entered the Permanent ranks in 2006. During this time I have been an active member of the FBEU, of which I am currently serving our members as an FBEU Country Sub-Branch Executive.

Awards:

  • NSWFB Commendation for Meritorious Service
  • St. John’s Life Saving Award

For this upcoming election, I am running for the position of Junior Vice President (JVP).

I am passionate about supporting our members, strengthening our union and protecting our benefits that we have worked hard to secure and ultimately putting our members FIRST.

As a JVP I will work hard with all Sub-Branch Secretaries and Executives towards seeing the FBEU change its current methodologies to that of “Members First” and increasing our union’s effectiveness, sense of community and transparency.

I will work hard to learn from our current members and from any sources available to represent this role to the best of my ability, with honesty, integrity and transparency.

I ask for your support in continuing to serve our members, in electing me as the next Junior Vice President.

http://fbeumembersfirst.com.au/candidates/matthewgraves/

Sandy Linton

I’m the Deputy Captain at 507 Woolgoolga and I’m standing for re-election as your Junior Vice President.

I joined our union in 2000 and work at a primary rescue station. I was a station delegate before joining the Retained Sub-Branch Executive and was elected Junior Vice President in 2018.

I work closely with the Retained Sub-Branch Executive and the rest of the Union Executive to support retained and regional members, as well as overall executive decision making, and I am always looking for ways to improve the conditions of all firefighters.

I am currently supporting station audits and assisting in the investigation of the systematic incorrect allocation of authorised duties payments.

I have made sure I am available and contactable by all members, by whatever means. I am always available to assist members with enquiries and help them out at work.

Union values are important to me; they come from my family and I work hard to uphold them. I hold my current position with great pride and want to be re-elected to keep doing the work of bringing our union together to fight for firefighters.

More on my achievements here www.ourfbeu.net.au and join candidates on a debate via www.facebook.com/OurFirefightersUnion

State Secretary

Leighton Drury

I joined our union in 1999 and was a station delegate, Sub Branch Executive, Sub Branch Secretary and Vice President before being elected as Secretary.

I’ve led the Union through a major strategic shift to empower members and give back control of our union by introducing an organising model that sees elected delegates build power in workplaces. I oversaw the reinvigoration of elected WHS representatives, modernised the Union’s office functions and introduced a member meeting schedule of over 400 digital meetings in 2020. I’ve worked to build the profile of professional firefighters in Parliament and community, and to ensure members have a say through the Award committee and log of claims votes.

I believe in a union where members are in control, where our operations are modern and serve members, where our job is growing, and in fairness in our wages, our safety, and our conditions. Over the past four years as your Secretary, I’ve worked hard and we’ve had some great wins despite a government that cuts our budgets and dismisses our value. I want to continue working to give members control as your Secretary.

More on my achievements and to join candidates on a debate: www.ourfbeu.net.au and www.facebook.com/OurFirefightersUnion

Shane Kennedy

I joined FRNSW and the FBEU in 2003 and have been a Union member since day one. I am a Leading Firefighter and am currently attached to 21 Kogarah. I’ve also served in several Operational Support roles including Appliance Training and BA/HAZMAT Training.

The last four years have been years of inaction and low wages. While FRNSW is moving forwards our Union is standing still on important issues like medical response.

We need Union officials we can trust, and who FRNSW and the Government respect. We need Union officials who negotiate for members from a position of strength. We need Union officials who will have go. We need a change.

The Committee I lead as State Secretary will listen. We will have open and transparent votes on our direction, and we will lead. There are challenges and opportunities looming in our industry. We will confront the challenges, and make the most of the opportunities. With me, you won’t die wondering.

The FBEU Members First team’s platform is available on www.fbeumembersfirst.com.au and explains our plans for the next three years. You can also find more on www.facebook.com/FBEUMembersFirst/

Vote for honesty and integrity. Vote for change. Vote 1 FBEU Members First.

Sydney Central Sub-Branch

Kelly Buchanan

I’m a QF at 1 City of Sydney and I’m running for Sydney Central Sub Branch.

As a relatively new member of FRNSW and our Union (coming up to 5 years), I bring a fresh and fair perspective on issues and coupled with my inclusive and consultative personality, will endeavour to embrace those traits as the FBEU’s ME1 representative.

I have a background in health and fitness, and this has provided me with a strong passion for mental and physical wellbeing. I believe in looking after yourself and practicing healthy work place habits, I have been involved in firefighter cancer awareness and continue to encourage safe workplace practices around this important issue and many others as well.

I am empathic, earnest, honest and driven. I am against toxic, negative, and non-constructive workplace attitudes and behaviours. My prior work has given me tools that I would utilise as your Sydney Central Sub Branch Rep to fairly, justly and empathetically assist you with concerns and issues that might arise for you. I’m an excellent listener and motivated to help people and this is why I believe I would be a great Sydney Central Sub Branch Rep.

For more see www.fbeumembersfirst.com.au and www.facebook.com/FBEUMembersFirst/

Sydney Outer West Sub-Branch

Robert Callow

I am a Station Officer at 98 Cranebrook and have been a firefighter for 35 years. I am standing for re-election to the Sydney Outer West Sub Branch Secretary position. I was a station delegate before being elected to my current role on the State Committee.

I sit on the Training Review Committee and negotiate with the employer to train us well. I challenge our employer to train and keep us safe throughout our careers and fight hard against the cost-cutting measures in our training.

I sign up new recruits as they join our job and attend send offs on behalf of the union so I am with firefighters from the beginning to the end of their career.

I care about working with members to push for improvements in our job. I aim to be a visible and busy Committee member who votes the way my members think. With your support I can continue to be busy in members’ interests.

More on what I’ve achieved is available here www.ourfbeu.net.au and you can join candidates on a debate via www.Facebook.com/OurFirefightersUnion

Benjamin Buckingham

I have been a fire fighter with FRNSW for 14 years working in both MW1 and MW2 regions. In that time I have acted as a relieving firefighter for a large part. This has enabled me to experience a wide range of stations and fire fighters not just in my zone but across Sydney.

I previously sat on the executive of the Outer West Sub Branch for SCoM Representative Kam Pooley. In this role I attended several SCoM meetings on their behalf and that of the outer west members, this experience gave me an insight into the role and a desire to seek the position.

I am a strong believer in honesty, transparency and independence. This is some thing that led me to nominate and also to join the FBEU Members First campaign. One thing I believe is that the members as a whole are the drivers of what policies and direction the union should follow. As a SCoM representative I would seek to visit stations to meet with staff on a regular basis as well as regular Sub Branch meetings for those who wish to attend. The result would be a voice not of just mine but that members.

Sydney South Sub-Branch

Harry Fisher

I am a Station Officer at 21 Kogarah station and have been on State Committee since 2018 and a firefighter since 1996.

I am a qualified accountant and one of the members who benefited from the flexible rosters fought for and won by the union.

I bring a keen eye for governance to our committee and I am always the first to identify where management are trying to cut corners or go around the elected representatives of firefighters.

Members elected me to ensure that our senior management are held to account for not acting in the best interests of members. I am proud to be part of a strong union and to work with members to defend our jobs and conditions.

I watch how State Committee runs closely, bringing my experience as a qualified accountant, and examining how we look after members.

As someone who benefited from a flexible roster, I want each and every member to have a job that is safe and that suits them, and to have a station that’s fit for purpose. With your support, I can continue this work.

Gabrielle Lee

I’m a QF at 26 Mascot and I’m running for Sydney-South Sub-Branch Secretary (MS2).

My goal is to support and represent all members, retained and permanent. By offering transparency and clear communication, I’ll ensure firefighters have a greater understanding of the current issues and input into the way these issues are addressed.

Prior to my role as an operational firefighter, I worked in the FRNSW HR department. This provides me with great insight to industrial matters and enables me to leverage established relationships to the benefit of members. These open lines of communications provide advantages to achieving positive outcomes and important oversight for SCOM.

I aim to encourage engagement from junior firefighters so that all perspectives are heard. This will not only provide a balanced view, but also ensure a stronger and more engaged Union for the future.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants” is a saying that I believe in. Many firefighters and strong union members have come before us to fight for the current conditions we enjoy. Now is not the time to let these conditions be eroded. We need to be proactive and courageous to ensure our union is strong.

For more see www.fbeumembersfirst.com.au and www.facebook.com/FBEUMembersFirst/

Senior Officers Sub-Branch

Rod Chetwynd

I am a Superintendent stationed at Port Macquarie Zone Office who is standing for re-election to our Senior Officers Sub Branch. I first joined our Union in 1993 and have been a firefighter for 28 years.

I was on the SOSB executive before becoming its Secretary in 2018. My goal since becoming an elected leader has been to continue building relationships across the union, bringing a management perspective with union values, and ensuring the safety and welfare of all firefighters.

I’ll never forget when the union was there for me when I needed them. I am like most senior officers; the union has helped shape my career. It is a privilege to be elected to State Committee and oversee the work of the union looking after members when they need it. At the same time, I bring my experience as a senior officer who runs a Zone to the Union’s deliberations and I have seen firsthand the effects that budget cuts have on union members and their ability to carry out vital roles in the community.

I know we are in a stronger position because of the work your current committee has done to repair important relationships across the sub branches and I am proud to run again to continue that work.

Retained Sub-Branch

Robert Healy

I have worked in education for over thirty years and worked in big city private schools, TAFE Colleges, a Remote and Isolated School and at Wagga High. I have been a union member throughout my career. I have been a NSW Teacher’s Federation Member for over 20 years and a Federation Representative for most of this time.

I have lived in a Koori Community for over 20 years and have specialised in helping them advocate for themselves and be politically active for all of this time.

I have been an FBEU member for 16 years and started my career at 212 Balranald. For the last 11 years I have worked at 472 Turvey Park working closely with both retained and permanent firefighters at a very busy station with over 1200 call outs a year. I’m a pumper operator and tanker driver.

I attended the NSW bushfires during the 2019/20 season in northern NSW and the Snowy Valleys.

I have developed a good working and social relationship with both my retained and permanent colleagues and it is through this that I have developed my inclusive politics where I don’t want to either my retained or permanent colleagues go backwards in their conditions and renumerations.

Daniel Finney

I am the Deputy Captain at 221 Bellingen, having joined our job and our union six years ago. I am standing to be re-elected as Retained Sub-Branch Secretary, a position I have held since 2020. I was first elected to the Retained Sub-Branch Executive in 2019.

I’ve also been a HSR in FRNSW since 2017. I been a union member my whole working life.

I have been a Director and Chair of the Board for a local community organisation and am experienced at running and participating in governing body meetings, assisting in business plans and overseeing governance.

As HSR, I am passionate about the safety of firefighters at work. I am also committed to fighting for increased rights and representation for Retained firefighters.

Since being elected to the Retained Sub-Branch Executive two years ago, I have worked hard to represent the Retained to our State Committee and to the Department. I sign new members up at their phase training; this is so important as it guarantees our numbers stay large and we have the power to make sure our voice is heard.

More on my achievements can be found here and join candidates on a debate via www.ourfbeu.net.au and www.facebook.com/OurFirefightersUnion