Our Structure, Board & CFA Act

Our Structure

CEO Natalie

Natalie Macdonald

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Officer Jason

Jason Heffernan

Chief Officer

CFA Organisational Structure 20231010

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Our Board

The Board of Authority is constituted under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958. It is responsible for CFA's overall performance and compliance with legislation and governance.

The Board is accountable to the Minister for Emergency Services.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is appointed by the Board and is responsible for implementing policies and general business administration.


Greg Wilson, Chair

Mr Wilson brings to CFA significant knowledge and experience in forest fire management, bushfires and cross-agency emergency response through his previous role as Secretary of the Department of Sustainability and Environment, as well as overseeing the operation of Emergency Management Victoria as Secretary of the former Department of Justice and Regulation. Mr Wilson is also Chair of the Transport Accident Commission and the Victorian State Emergency Service and has extensive emergency management sector experience as well as a background in governance, industrial law, public policy and financial management.


Michelle McLean, Deputy Chair

Ms McLean is the Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Building Authority. She is also a Director of East Gippsland Water, a Board member of Frontier, and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

Previously, Ms McLean was Managing Partner and CEO of the law firm Cornwall Stodart (now Cornwalls). She has also been President of the Australian Legal Practice Management Association (where she is a life member), an Advisory Board member of the Melbourne University Business School, an Executive Council member of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a Board member of the Mercy Health Foundation, the Overnewton Anglican Community College and Acom International.


Beth Davidson, OAM

Ms Davidson is a community advocate with extensive experience in community capacity building and good governance processes. Beth’s passion for making a difference in community is demonstrated in three key areas: neighbourhood houses, local government and emergency management services, particularly CFA. Her focus is on making a systemic difference that supports good governance and community resilience.

Ms Davidson has served at local, regional, state and national level. Surf Coast Shire Council for more than a decade including four consecutive terms as Mayor (2001 – 2004); also, President of Victorian Local Governance Association, Founding Director G21 Geelong Regional Alliance, National Seachange Taskforce. President Neighbourhood Houses Victoria & Neighbourhood Houses Barwon.

Ms Davidson has been involved in all three categories of CFA: Board (2004 – 2007) and again now, staff (Fire Ready Tourism Coordinator) and volunteer (non-operational member since 1983). She was awarded the Centenary Medal and OAM for her contribution to local government and community.


Dawn Hartog, AFSM

Ms Hartog is an experienced senior manager with a background in public safety, emergency and incident management and planning and community engagement. She has worked across a range of emergency services including the Country Fire Authority, Emergency Management Victoria and Forest Fire Management Victoria and is currently Senior Manager, Water Emergency Management within the Water and Catchments Group at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

Dawn has been a CFA staff member (2005-2018), CFA volunteer (operational since 2012) and CFA Board Member (since 2019) and is also an accredited Level 3 Public Information Officer.

Dawn has a long history of working with community groups having been a committee member of Kinglake’s Bollygum Park, and committee member and President of Kinglake and District Neighbourhood House.

She is currently Captain of the Toolangi Fire Brigade and Deputy Group Officer for the Yea Group of fire brigades.


Peter Shaw, AFSM

Mr Shaw is the Group Officer of Knox Fire Brigades Group and has been a volunteer firefighter since 1974. He has a long history in police with experience in leadership and management, particularly in the fields of emergency management, critical incident management, major collision investigations and protective security.

Mr Shaw has corporate and business planning experience and holds tertiary qualifications in public sector management, with significant exposure to change management, project management, training and assessment, and has auditing experience. As a volunteer with CFA he has previously been brigade captain, and is currently a level 3 Incident Controller.


Ms Pam White PSM, GAICD

Ms White has over 30 years’ experience with the Victorian Public Service and was the State Recovery Coordinator at the time of the 2009 bushfires. She led the recovery operations of the Department of Human Services and in 2012 was the CEO of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction. She also worked on the Review of the Victorian Floods.

Ms White holds positions on several Government committees and bodies and was the Inaugural Chair of the Commonwealth Emergency Medal Award Committee. She was awarded the Centenary Medal, the Emergency Services Medal and the Public Service Medal for her services to emergency management and her work on vulnerable families. In early 2016 she was appointed Chairperson of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority.


Tony Peake, OAM

Mr Peake is currently a non-executive director of Domino's Pizza Enterprises Ltd (ASX:DMP), Bakers Delight, Central Highlands Water Corporation, Scanlon Capital, the Melbourne Fashion Festival and is Chair of the Museum of Australian Photography. Prior to this, Mr Peake was the COO at PwC Australia and was a Senior Partner with over 25 years board level experience across the public, commercial and not for profit sectors, with particular experience in Retail & Consumer, Education and Government. Mr Peake is a GAICD, Fellow of CAANZ, and holds a B.Bus from RMIT University. He is a Victorian Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and Fellow of Leadership Victoria’s Williamson Community Leadership Program.


Ms Rachel Thomson

Ms Thomson has been a non-executive director of the Central Highlands Region Water Corporation since 2015, an independent member of the Risk and Audit Committee at DELWP since 2019, and an independent member of the Risk and Audit Committee at V/Line Corporation since 2021. Ms Thomson held various positions at XL Insurance between 2002 and 2013, including national head of Professional Lines from 2012 to 2013 and product management from 2009 to 2012. Ms Thomson holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne


Ross Coyle, AFSM

Mr Coyle was previously a member of the Authority from 2010 to 2016. He has extensive experience in emergency management leadership, from operational to corporate governance. Mr Coyle was a councillor at Wodonga City Council from 2002 to 2005, where he was the council representative on all Fire Prevention and Emergency Management Committees. Mr Coyle is an operational wildfire and structural firefighter and was an officer and captain of the Wodonga West Fire Brigade from 1996 to 2018. Mr Coyle has also run a family farming operation in Wodonga since 1989.

Acts and Regulations

The Country Fire Authority Act 1958 and other Acts related to CFA can be found on the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website. Search under 'Victorian Statute Book'.


Unlike most statutes enacted by the Victorian Parliament in recent years, the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 does not contain a section which spells out the purposes or the objectives of the Act. Rather, these must be determined by reference to particular sections of the Act, which spell out the powers, duties and responsibilities of CFA, the Chief Officer, other officers, municipal councils, etc. Of necessity, statutory interpretation and inference are important activities in working out what CFA can and must do, to fulfil its statutory charter.

Powers, Duties and Responsibilities

The following Sections of the Act appear to be the principal sources of direction as to the powers, duties and responsibilities of CFA and its personnel.

Section Section Summary of Power, Duty or Responsibility
14 Control of the prevention and suppression of fires
20 General duty of the Authority
20AA General powers of the Authority
20A Attendances unconnected with fire
27 Chief Officer to have control of all brigades
28 Powers and duties of Chief Officer
29 General powers and duties of Chief Officer
30 and 33(2) Powers of officers at fires
35 Authority to inform the Chief General Manager, Health Dept. on certain matters
36 Authority may require municipalities to provide hydrants
44 Duties of officers as to inspection, etc.
44A Power of Chief Officer to close roads
48 Power of Chief Officer to direct extinguishment
97 Authority as a protection agency
97A Authority may provide rescue and extrication services
97B Authority may provide road accident and rescue service
97C Authority may provide protection service
98 Power to investigate fires
In addition, the Act sets out a number of obligations. These are several of the more important provisions:
Section Summary of subject matter

General prohibition against lighting fires in the open
40 Total fire bans
41 Fire prevention notices
41F Issue of notices by Chief Officer
49 Obligations of saw millers

Our Funding

Under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958, CFA receives funding of annual estimated expenditure through the State Government via the Fire Services Property Levy.

CFA also generates a lesser amount of revenue from a number of internal activities.

CFA applies its funding to the delivery of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, and organisational support services for fires and other emergencies.

For more detailed figures see our Annual Report.

Volunteer Association

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) is the voice of CFA Volunteers. It brings together the Victorian Urban Fire Brigades Association and the Victorian Rural Fire Brigades Association both of which are established under the Country Fire Authority Act.

VFBV is the single and unified body representing all CFA Volunteers to the CFA Board and Management and to Governments, Ministers, Members of Parliament, councils and instrumentalities, business and the public.

Through a statewide network of Regional Councils and elected volunteer representatives, VFBV maintains direct links with grass roots volunteers over their issues, needs and concerns.

The VFBV Board meets with the CFA Board as the peak forum for strategic consultation on matters impacting on volunteers whether policy development, volunteer welfare, volunteer support, equipment and infrastructure, volunteer development or planning for CFA’s future.

VFBV shares with CFA a commitment to a community based volunteer and integrated fire and emergency service which delivers a safer Victoria.

The associations can be contacted as follows:

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria

VFBV logo

PO Box 453

Mt Waverley VIC 3149

Telephone: (03) 9886 1141
Facsimile: (03) 9886 1618
Email: vfbv@vfbv.com.au




Page last updated:  Monday, 25 September 2023 3:41:50 PM