Four Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel recognised for extraordinary service with Australian Honours

Published Thursday, 26 January, 2023 at 07:31 AM

Minister for Police and Corrective Services and Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
The Honourable Mark Ryan

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel have today been named in the Australia Day Honours List and awarded the prestigious Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) and Emergency Services Medal (ESM).

Acting Fire and Emergency Services Minister, Mark Furner, said recipients of the medals were honoured for their bravery and commitment in the face of disasters and emergencies. 

“Putting themselves at the frontline when disaster strikes might come with the territory but the extraordinary work they do should never be underestimated,” Minister Furner said.

“The four members of QFES being honoured today have committed decades of service between them.

“They don’t pull on the uniform for a pat on the back but it’s important to highlight the crucial work they do day in, day out.

“They deservedly sit alongside a selection of very special Australians who are being recognised today for making a lasting positive change in their communities.”

Chief Superintendent Rob Boniwell was awarded the AFSM for distinguished front-line service, exemplary leadership and his vision to achieve significant organisational changes and champion diversity and inclusion.

Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteer Lesley Brand was awarded the AFSM for dedicated service to the Brooweena and District Rural Fire Brigade and wider community of more than 30 years.

Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) Station Officer Ian Fulton was also awarded the AFSM for his dedication to enhance road crash rescue response for all emergency services and distinguished frontline service in Far North Queensland.

State Emergency Service (SES) Deputy Group Leader Alex Johnson was awarded the ESM for his sustained work as a volunteer since 2003, including in frequent deployments and in training other members.

QFES Commissioner Greg Leach thanked the recipients for many years of dedicated service to their respective communities.

“They have consistently gone above and beyond in the line of duty and I want to congratulate them on what is a very proud day for their families and colleagues,” Mr Leach said.

“They exemplify the qualities that make Queensland communities special.

“Bushfires, storms and floods are a certainty in Queensland but so too are our personnel, who are always ready to step up when they’re most needed.”


This year recipients from QFES are:

Chief Superintendent Robin Paul BONIWELL
Mr Robin Boniwell has demonstrated exemplary service to his community for over 28 years (11 in the United Kingdom and 17 in Australia). He joined the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in 2006. As a Senior Operational Fire and Rescue Officer, he is regularly deployed to operational command roles to coordinate and control large-scale bushfire events, and other emergency responses, including floods, cyclones and hazardous incidents. He has demonstrated excellence in frontline service delivery through multiple avenues and for several major disaster events as a Specialist Rescue Swiftwater and Urban Search and Rescue Technician. He has also served as the QFES State Operations Centre State Coordinator and Queensland State Disaster Coordination Centre Deputy Commander, leading the COVID-19 disaster management, and other natural hazard responses.

Rural Fire Service volunteer Lesley Charlotte BRAND
Mrs Lesley Brand has been serving the Queensland community since 1990. She has volunteered an enormous amount of time over the last 28 years, improving the Rural Fire Brigades Operational Support capability, with a particular focus on the welfare of the front-line firefighters and ensuring her community is informed, prepared and engaged. Throughout her career, she has performed countless deployments undertaking the roles of Incident Controller, Logistics Officer, Liaison Officer, Firefighter, Volunteer Community Educator and Engagement Officer. She is a true community leader who is trusted, respected and acknowledged for her ethos and commitment to the brigade with both her local and broader community. She is also a volunteer community educator, driving community engagement in bushfire preparedness and prevention in bushfire-prone and impacted communities. She has also given countless hours to attend fire and flood incidents, community engagement and education activities, hazard reduction activities, and training.

Fire and Rescue Service Station Officer Ian Maxwell FULTON
Mr Ian Fulton has been an operational Fire Officer for over 38 years, commencing his career with the Tasmanian Fire Service in 1984, then transitioning to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) in 1997. He has and continues to provide distinguished service to the Queensland community, where he has served with exemplary dedication and commitment to excellence in Fire and Rescue and in particular Road Crash Rescue (RCR) capabilities. He was instrumental in the introduction of the STABFAST vehicle stabilisation devices. Which is now a standard piece of equipment on all new frontline appliances, enhancing their safety and the safety of the casualty by immediately isolating any vehicle movement. He led the development and design of new techniques for the stabilisation system. These techniques have proven to be very efficient and effective and are now taught by QFES in RCR training.

State Emergency Service Deputy Group Leader Alex George JOHNSON
Mr Alex Johnson has been a State Emergency Service (SES) volunteer for 25 years, the first five years in Penrith SES NSW.  Since joining QLD SES in 2003 he has been a very active and dedicated SES volunteer. He has demonstrated his passion, commitment and enthusiasm through Resource and Group Management. He organises, coordinates and ensures that the unit's equipment and vehicles are operationally ready for activation. During COVID-19 restricted periods, he ran one-on-one programs for members to attend maintenance and training sessions to maintain engagement. He regularly runs training sessions demonstrating storm operation and heights training principles and methods and always makes himself available for training activities such as flood boating and coaching the next generation.

Media Contacts
QFES Media: 3635 3310
Minister Ryan’s Office: 3035 8300