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Public Safety IRC Chair Profile

In this month’s newsletter we continue a series of profiles featuring the Chairs of each of the 11 Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) we support.

This month we profile the Chair of the Public Safety IRC, Mark Burgess

How did you come to work in your industry?

I had wanted to join the police for a number of years before I actually did, but in 1987 when there was a downturn in the coal mining industry in the Hunter Valley, where I worked, I decided it was now or never, so I made an application to NSW police and joined in 1988

What is your current role?

I am now retired from both my role as CEO of the National Police Union, the Police Federation of Australia (PFA) and from NSW Police, however I have remained in a consultancy role at the PFA and they have asked me to stay on as their representative on the Public Safety IRC.  I’m also a board member of Police Health and Emergency Services Health and am involved in a few other projects in and around policing.

What has been the best part of your career?

In my role as CEO of the PFA I had the opportunity to see policing from both a national and international perspective.  As policing is very jurisdictionally based, looking at it from above lets you see a range of ways that things could be improved, not just for police officers, but for the general public.  Then having the opportunity to pursue many of those issues through the various levels of government.

Have you undertaken any VET courses, and if so, how have you incorporated these into your work or other pursuits?

My policing studies have all been in higher education.  I have a Bachelor of Social Science (Justice Studies) from Newcastle University and Master of Public Policy and Administration from Charles Sturt University.

In my previous life as a coal miner however, I obtained a Deputy’s Certificate of Competency in NSW through the then VET system.

Why are you an advocate for Vocational Education and Training?

From a policing perspective, the Police Training Package is very skills based, which from a police officers’ perspective, is essential.

What has the Police Federation of Australia done to develop the skills of its workforce?

The PFA has been at the forefront of the debate about police professionalisation for over 20 years.  We have argued for a national police registration scheme and the importance of national standards & competencies.  The PFA has also been a key contributor, both morally & financially to the establishment of the Australia New Zealand Council of Police Professionalisation (ANZCoPP) with police commissioners.

What are you passionate about? What makes you smile? 

Well I’m ‘sort of’ retired now, so having the ability to spend a bit more time around the farm with the cattle and horses is very enjoyable, especially now that we’ve received some long sought-after rain.