Gill Metz, of Riddells Creek, is a part of the Australia Day honours list of recipients.

By Tricia Mifsud

RIDDELLS Creek resident Gillian Metz has been recognised for her 21 years of exemplary service with the Country Fire Authority, CFA, receiving an Australian Fire Service Medal.

Ms Metz said she was ‘very humbled and very honoured’ to be recognised as part of the Australia Day Honours Meritorious Service Award for her commitment to the CFA, which began as a volunteer in 2000.

Since then she has responded to 1255 incidents.

Ms Metz has led strike teams, and was deployed to major fires such as the Sydney Christmas Day fires in 2001, Northeast campaign fires in 2003, Black Saturday fires in 2009 and the 2019-2020 Black Summer fires. She has also held elected roles of third and fourth Lieutenant and training coordinator.

Ms Metz said among all her achievements, her ability to serve not only the CFA but also with Forest Fire Management, FFM and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning have been some of her proudest achievements.

“The things that I’m proud of is being able to serve two emergency services organisations, both the CFA and FFM, and to be able to work and influence better outcomes for the incidents we attend, and for the wellbeing of those we work with,” she said.

“In all my roles, supporting the people has been the most rewarding part of my job.”

Ms Metz has questioned traditional practices across the fire services sector, challenged bias and pushed for equality for all. She was the first woman to hold the senior position of regional manager in the CFA.

“When I joined the CFA, I needed to challenge the status quo to improve the lives of those around me, and of frontline workers,” she said.

“If you’re surrounded with a diverse group, you’ll get a better outcome. For many traditional organisations, their bias is so ingrained it makes it very difficult for females, culturally diverse and young people.

“For the future of CFA, we need to engage young people and have them involved as much as possible.”

Ms Metz thanked her family for their ongoing support during her career, and enjoyed sharing stories and advice over the years to her two daughters and son-in-laws who are all also involved in emergency services.

“I’m very grateful for my family who have been mentors, and who have stuck by me and supported me as you can’t do this by yourself,” she said.