Katarina Carroll: bringing QFES into the 21st century

Katarina Carroll led the largest peacetime security operation in Australia’s history, a success she attributes to “relationships, relationships, relationships”. Now she’s in charge of overhauling the troubled Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. She spoke to The Mandarin.

Brought in to fix up an organisation found to be suffering from a culture of sexism, bullying and misconduct, Katarina Carroll has wasted no time making change happen at the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

She was initially appointed acting commissioner in December last year following a high-profile review led by former director-general of the Department of Communities Margaret Allison on sexual harassment and workplace bullying at QFES. To tackle these problems, the report made thirty recommendations on issues such as management of harassment and bullying allegations, recruitment practices, training, governance and leadership.

“Even though I was in an interim role, I made sure I owned that position and I actually started the implementation of the recommendations of the report,” she told The Mandarin.

Carroll, who recently won the Queensland Government and Academia Award at the 2015 Telstra Business Women’s Awards, said her move into QFES was initially a challenge for some. “I can understand why, I came from another organisation,” the former policewoman of 32 years observed.

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