RFS recognises ANU for bushfire support

21 July 2020

The Australian National University has been awarded the 2020 Supportive Employer Special Commendation by the NSW Rural Fire Service.

ANU is one of 12 organisations nationally to receive the honour this year, which recognises the vital contribution of employers who support their employees serving in the NSW RFS.

Russell Buzby, Executive Officer of the Research School of Social Sciences who is a member of the Braidwood RFS Brigade, nominated ANU for the honour.

“I was defending my own home, my town, and the homes of my neighbours, friends, and family, but didn’t suffer any financial disadvantage,” Russell says.

NSW RFS District Manager for Lake George Supt. Paul Jones presenting the award.
NSW RFS District Manager for Lake George Supt. Paul Jones presenting the award. (Photo: Adam Spence/ANU)

Russell cites the University’s generous provision of emergency services leave and flexible working arrangements as enabling him to attend over 40 responses from November 2019 to February 2020.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the values of service and making a positive impact in the community are core to ANU.

“This was clear in the recent catastrophic fire-season, where in the face of an almost unprecedented disaster our academic and professional staff provided frontline support – including protecting their communities and their neighbours’ homes. We are proud of all members of the ANU community who gave their time and effort to such an important cause. This is the true spirit of our national university. 

NSW RFS District Manager for Lake George Supt. Paul Jones presents the award to Professor Catherine Waldby and Russell Buzby.
Image: NSW RFS District Manager for Lake George Supt. Paul Jones presents the award to Professor Catherine Waldby (middle) and Russell Buzby (right). (Photo: Adam Spence/ANU)

“Our people not only raced to the front to help others in need during the fires; they are now helping the nation with recovery. On behalf of Australians everywhere, I thank all ANU staff who have given so much to this important effort.”

The award was accepted on the University’s behalf by Professor Catherine Waldby, Director of the Research School of Social Sciences.