CFA’s own receive Australia Day top honour

A CFA volunteer board member and a CFA volunteer who works with DELW have featured in the fire and emergency services sector of the 2020 Australia Day Honours list.

CFA's own receive Australia Day top honour

Two CFA members will receive the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) today in recognition of their remarkable service to the Victorian community.

  • Peter Shaw – a CFA volunteer since 1974, current member of The Basin Fire Brigade, Group Officer for Knox Fire Brigades Group, and second-term volunteer member of CFA’s Board.
  • George O’DwyerGeorge O’Dwyer – a volunteer firefighter with Barongarook West brigade since 1995, who has also provided 14 years of distinguished emergency service with the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP)


An exceptional leader, through his career in Victoria Police and work with CFA, Mr Shaw is a Level 3 Incident Controller and has distinguished himself by demonstrating outstanding operational ability to manage incidents effectively. He is known for his ability to inspire others and his willingness to go well and above what is expected, and is passionate about improving service to the community.

Peter Shaw

Mr Shaw is a CFA life member and received a National Emergency Medal for his role in the 2009 bushfires, and a National Medal and a 40-year Service Award during his time at CFA.

He was honoured to have been nominated and considered worthy to receive the award.

“It is fantastic to be part of an organisation that has the ability, often at very short notice, to rally from across the State to support each other and the communities of not only Victoria but across Australia,” Mr Shaw said. “My appointment to the Board has been a significant highlight of my time at CFA, providing me with the ability to have a role in taking this this great organisation forward.”

George O’Dwyer has undertaken the role of Public Information Officer (PIO) in incident management teams since the roles were established following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and was the first Victorian officer to achieve the Incident Management Team (IMT) level 3 PIO status. He has actively provided support across the CFA, DELWP and Victoria State Emergency Service to build capability in community engagement, warnings and advice and public information.

George O’Dwyer with CFA South West Region’s Mandy Maglaras while working together as PIO and Deputy PIO at Bairnsdale ICC in December 2019.

Playing significant roles in community fire recovery including after the 2005 Mt Lubra fire, and the 2009 Victorian bushfires, Mr O’Dwyer also demonstrated outstanding leadership while working with community members in Wye River on Christmas Day 2015, supporting evacuation, relief and early recovery. He continues to work with communities about the importance of fuel management across the Victorian landscape, particularly the Otway Ranges and Surf Coast.

CFA Chief Officer and CEO Steve Warrington said this year’s AFSM recipients had provided commitment and excellence to the fire services.

“Receiving an AFSM is the highest honour an individual in the fire and emergency services can receive and it is fitting that these individuals are recognised in the Australia Day honours list, a time when we come together to recognise all Australians who have gone above and beyond.

“The work you undertake and the time you devote help ensure that our organisation can uphold its mission of protecting lives and properties in your communities and across the rest of the state.”

The AFSM is awarded for distinguished service to fire services across Australia. Only one award is presented to an individual, and recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters AFSM. The AFSM is awarded by the Governor of Victoria at a dedicated ceremony at Government House in Melbourne.

/CFA News Release. View in full here.