Melinda McDonald


Melinda McDonald featured image

Melinda McDonald is an experienced communications specialist, researcher, and qualified operational firefighter with Fire & Rescue NSW. Having transitioned from a corporate career, Melinda has dedicated the past six years to firefighting - combining her expertise in communications and her passion for community safety to make a lasting impact.

Melinda’s primary focus is on community risk reduction in culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia. She emphasises the importance of prevention as the first line of defence in reducing fire-related injuries and fatalities. Melinda believes curiosity, collaboration, and relentless optimism are key to equipping emergency responders with greater cultural competence, and empowering communities to actively participate in risk reduction program design.

In 2023, Melinda won the National Emergency Media and Public Affairs Award for Research Excellence for her joint initiative with University of Technology Sydney on culturally appropriate communication in emergency services. She has shared this work with international audiences at the Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference at the Gold Coast, Australia, and at the International Communications Conference in Toronto, Canada.

Melinda holds a Bachelor of Business (with Distinction) from the Queensland University of Technology, where she received the Coca-Cola Amatil Scholarship and the Public Relations Institute of Australia Award for her academic achievements. Currently, she serves as a Director on the Board of Women and Firefighting Australasia, where she actively contributes to the advancement of women in fire services.

Melinda also received the National Emergency Medal and the NSW Premier’s Commendation for her service as a firefighter during the 2019-2020 bushfires. 


To study co-designed fire and emergency risk reduction programs for culturally diverse communities

To study co-designed fire and emergency risk reduction programs for culturally diverse communities

Public Service
Melinda McDonald

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