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Who we are

We are a growing cohort of former senior Australian fire and emergency service leaders who have observed how Australia is experiencing increasingly catastrophic extreme weather events that are putting lives, properties and livelihoods at greater risk and overwhelming our emergency services.

Climate change, driven mainly by the burning of coal, oil and gas, is worsening these extreme weather events, including hot days, heatwaves, heavy rainfall, coastal flooding and catastrophic bushfire weather.

Our members

John Anderson photo
John Anderson AFSM

John Anderson AFSM

Former Deputy Commissioner, NSW Fire Brigades
John joined the NSW Fire Brigades in 1966 and progressed through the ranks to retirement as Deputy Commissioner in 2006. In his career with the Brigades, John served in operations, education and training and fire safety and prevention. On retirement from the Fire Brigades, John was Chair of the NSW State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC). As Chair of the SEMC, John represented NSW on the Australian Emergency Management Committee and chaired the National Risk Assessment Advisory Group. John has extensive experience in emergency management and planning, possesses qualifications in building fire safety and management and has experience in human relations, industrial relations and education and training. Through his extensive operational and planning experiences, John has long recognised the effect that climate can have on natural disasters such as bushfire, storm, flood and inundation and their effects on the lives and well-being of people, flora and fauna.
Mary Barry photo
Mary Barry

Mary Barry

Former CEO, Victorian State Emergency Service
With qualifications in Health Sciences, Public Policy and Management, Mary Barry has had a long career in local government, health and emergency services. She held a number of CEO roles including the the Shire of Melton, Victorian Association of Health and Extended Care, The Heart Foundation, and was CEO of the Victoria State Emergency Service for eight years between 2006 and 2014. She was a Board member of the Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities Council.
Neil Bibby photo
Neil Bibby AFSM

Neil Bibby AFSM

Former Chief Executive Officer, Country Fire Authority VIC
Neil Bibby was the CEO of the Country Fire Authority between 2002 and 2009 prior to which he was Assistant Chief Officer of the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade where he started as a firefighter in the 1970s. He has been the Chairman of the Emergency Services Foundation since 2011. Working closely with emergency management services in the Asia/Pacific Region, he is the current editor of the Asia Pacific Fire Magazine.
Tony Blanks photo
Tony Blanks AFSM

Tony Blanks AFSM

Former Fire Unit Manager, TAS National Parks
Tony Blanks’ career in firefighting and fire management spans more than thirty years, working at various levels within Tasmania, including Fire Unit Manager for Tasmania National Parks, and Fire Manager for Forestry Tasmania. Tony has been involved in incident management arrangements on many major campaign fires locally, interstate and overseas. He also served as a board member on the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC).
Mike Brown photo
Mike Brown AM, AFSM

Mike Brown AM, AFSM

Former Chief Fire Officer, TAS Fire Service
Mike Brown spent 39 years working with the Tasmania Fire Service. His roles ranged from operations, brigade management, district and regional management, and Chief Operating Officer and Chair of the State Fire Commission for more than six years, where he led Australia's only fully integrated (career/volunteer/urban/rural) fire and emergency service of 5,500+ members. At a National level, Mike served as a Director on the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), Chair of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC), and as the Deputy President of the Australasian Road Rescue Organisation (ARRO).
Naomi Brown photo
Naomi Brown

Naomi Brown

Former CEO, Australasian Fire & Emergency Service Authorities Council
Naomi Brown is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) and a board member of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC). Her career has spanned many roles, including Director Community Safety at the Country Fire Authority Victoria, Executive Director Community Safety at the Fire and Emergency Services WA, Executive Director State Emergency Service WA and Volunteer Marine Rescue. She has worked extensively with all of the Australasian Fire Services, the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and Emergency Management Australia.
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Malcolm Connellan AFSM

Malcolm Connellan AFSM

Former Deputy Commissioner, Fire Rescue NSW
Malcolm Connellan started his firefighting career in 1983 and retired in 2020. He served in a variety of operational and specialised positions, including training, Professional Standards and Conduct Unit, Recruitment and Staffing, Human Resources and the Commissioner’s Chief of Staff. In July 2016, he was appointed Executive Director People and Culture and assumed the rank of Deputy Commissioner. Deputy Commissioner Connellan holds a Graduate Certificate in Social Science (Emergency Services) and is a Member of the Institute of Fire Engineers and has completed the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) Strategic Command Course. He chaired the AFAC Mental Health and Wellbeing network and was a member of the Employee Relations Network and the Workforce Management Group.
Bob Conroy photo
Bob Conroy

Bob Conroy

Former Fire Manager, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Bob Conroy has more than 35 years' experience in land and bushfire management, covering all aspects of fire management strategy, policy and planning. He has represented the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for more than ten years on the Bush Fire Coordinating Committee and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council, operating under the Minister for the Environment. His expertise in fire management and policy has led him to take on a major fire policy review for Parks Australia, be a part of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) audit of the 2016 Tasmanian bushfires and become a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas. Bob is the recipient of the National Fire Medal and AFAC Special Acknowledgement Award for Contribution to the Industry and is a Churchill Fellow. Since retirement he has joined the NSW Rural Fire Service as a volunteer and has been the leader of firefighting teams sent to assist in the USA and Tasmania.
Campbell Darby Photo
Campbell Darby DSC AM

Campbell Darby DSC AM

Former Director-General, Emergency Management Australia
Campbell Darby is a previous Director-General Emergency Management Australia. Campbell had a long operational career in the Royal Australian Navy, including numerous ship and shore commands. Leaving the Navy as Commodore, he changed career direction and joined the NT government to manage a number of portfolios, including strategic emergency management, disaster recovery and security. Campbell was Director-General of Emergency Management Australia from 2010 to 2012, a period that included numerous major domestic and international disaster events. Since leaving EMA, he has continued working to improve policy outcomes, planning and preparedness across inter-Government coordination, national security and disaster management.
Major General Peter Dunn
Major General Peter Dunn AO (Ret)

Major General Peter Dunn AO (Ret)

Former Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services Authority
Major General Peter Dunn is a former senior officer in the Australian Army, and former Commissioner for the Australian Capital Territory's Emergency Services Authority. His role as Commissioner in the ACT saw him responsible for the ACT Fire Brigade, ACT Ambulance Service, Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service. He was appointed to drive a reform and operational enhancement program following the disastorus 2003 Canberra bushfires.
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Brian Gilligan

Brian Gilligan

Former Director General, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
With over 40 years of experience in environmental geology, Brian Gilligan has extensive experience in environmental protection, working at the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) from 1992 to 1998, then becoming CEO of NSW National Parks, with a focus on Aboriginal land management. Throughout his career, he has held numerous positions in the NSW Marine Parks Authority, has chaired the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme Panel and has also undertaken evaluations of the Australian Government’s National Reserve System Program and Indigenous Protected Areas Program. From 2010 to 2017, Brian was a Commissioner with the NSW Planning Assessment Commission and in 2018 was appointed to Chair a committee of senior managers of agencies that focuses on state land management.
John Gledhill photo
John Gledhill AFSM

John Gledhill AFSM

Former Chief Fire Officer, Tasmania Fire Service
John Gledhill was appointed to the Rural Fires Board in 1974 as a lookout and firefighter. Throughout his career, he has held many positions, including President of the Tasmanian Branch of the Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE), Regional Officer (South), Deputy then Chief Officer, as well as Treasurer of the Australasian Fire Authorities Council. He served as Commander of Task Force Tiger, a select group of rapid-response firefighters. In 1998, during his term of leadership at the Tasmanian Fire Service, he oversaw the containment and extinguishment of life-threatening fires on Mount Nelson. John has represented Tasmania and Australia internationally, and has addressed and advised international governments on several occasions.
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Dr Jeff Godfredson AFSM

Dr Jeff Godfredson AFSM

Former Chief Fire Officer, Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade
Dr Jeff Godfredson was the Chief Fire Officer of the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade from 1988 to 1998, and Chief Fire Officer of the Northern Territory Fire Service from 1984 to 1986. He has been an active member of the International Fire Chiefs’ Association (USA) and Past Chairman of the Metro Chiefs, was a Director (Asia Pacific and Middle East) of the National Fire Protection Association, and has consulted internationally in the fire engineering field. Under his leadership the Melbourne MFB was the first fire service in Australia to adopt a medical first responder program in partnership with Ambulance Victoria, a program that has saved many lives.
Dr Wayne Gregson photo
Dr Wayne Gregson APM

Dr Wayne Gregson APM

Former Commissioner, WA Dept of Fire & Emergency Services
Dr Wayne Gregson was Western Australia’s first Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Services when the Department of Fire and Emergency Services was originally formed in 2012. Within this role, he led a major reform program, based on supporting frontline services and increasing transparency. Prior to his role in the DFES, he was the Assistant Commissioner at WA Police for seven years.
Craig Hynes photo
Craig Hynes AFSM

Craig Hynes AFSM

Former Chief Operations Officer, WA Fire and Emergency Services Authority
Craig Hynes has over 30 years’ experience in fire and emergency services, and crisis and disaster management, with significant Australian and international experience. Craig has served as the Operational Head of Western Australia’s Emergency Services, as well as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Officer with the Fire & Emergency Services Authority of WA. Prior to these executive positions, Craig served as a Firefighter and Officer with the WA Fire Brigades Board.
Lee Johnson photo
Lee Johnson AFSM

Lee Johnson AFSM

Former Commissioner, QLD Fire & Emergency Services
Beginning his career in 1975, Lee Johnson is experienced in all aspects of the fire service, holding firefighting, officer and management positions throughout Queensland. Lee is the former Commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, former President of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), former Director on the Board of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre, and is currently a Director of the Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.
Murray Kear photo
Murray Kear AFSM

Murray Kear AFSM

Former Commissioner, NSW State Emergency Service
Murray Kear spent 29 years with the NSW Fire Brigades (now Fire & Rescue NSW) where he attained the senior rank of Assistant Commissioner before being appointed as (former) Commissioner of the NSW State Emergency Service. He has been awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal for distinguished service.
Phil Koperberg photo
Phil Koperberg AO AFSM BEM

Phil Koperberg AO AFSM BEM

Former NSW Minister for the Environment
Phil Koperberg started as a volunteer firefighter in the Blue Mountains in 1967 and later became the full time Fire Control Officer in one of the most fire-prone areas of NSW. In later years he became emergency services adviser to the NSW Government Minister, then Director General of the Department of Bushfire Services. After leading firefighting efforts as Bushfire Service Commissioner during the statewide 1994 bushfires, he established the NSW Rural Fire Service. In 2007, he was elected to the NSW Parliament and served as Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water. After leaving Parliament, he was appointed as Chair of the NSW Emergency Management Committee, responsible for advising the NSW Government on emergency response strategies.
Craig Lapsley photo
Craig Lapsley PSM

Craig Lapsley PSM

Former Emergency Management Commissioner and Fire Services Commissioner, Vic
With a career in Australian emergency management spanning over 30 years, Craig Lapsley has worked within the Victorian Country Fire Authority as the Deputy Chief Officer, and as Manager State Operations in NSW Fire Brigades. He was taken on to transform the Victoria State Emergency Service from a government department to a statutory authority, before being appointed as Victoria’s first and only Fire Services Commissioner in 2010. In 2014, he became the Commissioner of Victoria’s Emergency Management, a position he held until 2018.
Andrew Lawson photo
Andrew Lawson AFSM

Andrew Lawson AFSM

Former Deputy Chief Officer, SA Fire Service
Andrew Lawson spent ten years as the Deputy Chief Officer of the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS), and has over 30 years’ experience in the South Australian Emergency Management sector. He is a former Member of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) AIIMS National Steering Group, the National Review of Warnings and Information and the National Working Group – National Fire Danger Rating System.
Grant Lupton photo
Grant Lupton AFSM

Grant Lupton AFSM

Former Chief Fire Officer, SA Metropolitan Fire Service
Grant Lupton was the Chief Fire Officer and CEO of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) from 2002 to 2015, making him one of the longest serving Chief Officers in its 150-year history. Grant has also worked as the Deputy Fire Commissioner for the Province of British Columbia, Canada, and spent three years as the Senior Advisor for Civil Defence (Fire and Rescue) for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government. Grant has served as a Director of the International Fire Chiefs' Association of Asia and is an Honorary Life Member of the Fire Prevention Officers Association of British Columbia, as well as being a member of the International Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, the International Fire Marshals Association and a Director of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC). He has held a number of international and national roles with the Institution of Fire Engineers.
Greg Mullins photo
Greg Mullins AO, AFSM

Greg Mullins AO, AFSM

Former Commissioner Fire & Rescue NSW
Greg Mullins started as a bushfire brigade volunteer in 1972 then became a full time firefighter with the NSW Fire Brigades in 1978. After serving in a variety of operational and specialist roles in 2003 he became the first person in the organisation's history to come from the ranks and  be appointed as both Chief Fire Officer and CEO (Commissioner). When he retired in 2017 he was the 2nd longest serving chief in the organisation's 133 year history. He coordinated responses to many major natural disasters over more than two decades but moe importantly led a cultural and organisational reform program that included a name change to Fire & Rescue NSW, a focus on innovation and technology, workplace communication, values-based leadership, gender equity in recruitment, and Indigenous recruitment.He worked with bushfire fighting authorities in the USA, Canada, France and Spain during a Churchill Fellowship in 1995, studied at the US National Fire Academy in 2001-02, and represented Australian emergency services at many international forums. During his 39-year career he served as President, Vice President and Board Chair of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), Deputy Chair of the NSW State Emergency Management Committee, Australian Director of the International Fire Chiefs Association of Asia, NSW representative on the Australian Emergency Management Committee, Australian representative on the UN’s International Search & Rescue Advisory Committee, and as a member of the NSW Bushfire Coordinating Committee. He is currently Chair of the NSW Ambulance Service Advisory Board. Awards include Officer of the Order of Australia, Australian Fire Service Medal, Commissioner's Commendation for Courageous Action (rescue during 1994 bushfires), Chief Officer's Commendation, NSW Police Commissioner's Commendation for Service, St JOhns Ambulance Emergency Services Award. Upon retirement, he rejoined the volunteer bushfire brigade where he started in 1972, and also volunteers as a bush regenerator.
Greg Newton photo
Greg Newton

Greg Newton

Former Deputy Commissioner, NSW State Emergency Services
Greg Newton has spent over 33 years working in emergency management, having first joined the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) and Rural Fire Service (RFS) as a 17-year-old volunteer. His most recent role was NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Operations, with responsibility for the delivery of emergency response through the Service's 150 units. During his career, both paid and volunteer, Greg has responded to most of the major emergencies, including the 1999 Sydney Hailstorm, the Thredbo Landslide, the 2007 'Pasha Bulker' storm, major flooding in Western NSW, the bushfires in ACT (2003), Black Saturday (2009), and Blue Mountains (2013). Prior to joining the staff of the NSW SES, Greg worked as a senior manager in emergency management for the ACT Government. Greg has a Bachelor of Arts (ANU), Graduate Diploma in Education (Latrobe University), Graduate Certificate in Applied Management (AIPM) and is currently finalising a Master of Public Administration (ANZSOG).
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Frank Pagano AFSM, ESM

Frank Pagano AFSM, ESM

Former Executive Director, Emergency Management QLD
Having dedicated over 30 years to the fire service, Frank Pagano has experienced all aspects of fire fighting and management, beginning his career as a Firefighter in Mount Isa, and eventually becoming the Executive Director of Emergency Management Queensland (SES) where oversaw disaster response, flood response, and rescue helicopters. Other roles included Deputy Commissioner of Operations Management for the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, and he was the first Assistant Commissioner of Community Safety and Risk Management for the Fire and Rescue Service.
Darryl Pepper photo
Darryl Pepper AFSM

Darryl Pepper AFSM

Former Director and Chief Fire Officer, NT Fire and Emergency Services
Prior to commencing his firefighting career, Darryl was a member of the Royal Australian Navy. He served in Vietnam for a period of 14 months. On commencing his firefighting career on the Gold Coast, Queensland in 1974, Darryl was promoted to District Officer in 1988 and appointed Assistant Commissioner South East Region in 1995, then Assistant Commissioner South West Region 1997. During his career, he travelled extensively throughout Queensland, performing statewide portfolios in HR Management and Communications. During his time in Queensland, Darryl led two contingents of firefighters to assist NSW in 1994 and 2001, during state fire disasters. Darryl was appointed Director and Chief Fire Officer, Fire and Emergency Services N.T. in January 2002. He was responsible for both fire and emergency services for the Territory, as well as the Territory delegate on the Emergency Management Australia committee, Australian Fire Authorities Council and the Australian Defence Force Northern Command committee. Darryl retired from his fire career in 2004 to move to Toowoomba.
David Prince photo
David Prince AFSM

David Prince AFSM

Former Chief Officer, ACT Fire Brigade
David Prince AFSM served with both the Australian Federal Police and the ACT Fire Brigade over a period of 33 years and was the Chief Officer 2004 to 2007. At the end of his Fire Service career, David directed and managed the Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Headquarters and Training Infrastructure project, where he successfully relocated both the headquarters and training centre. Now retired, David supports Emergency Leaders for Climate Action to ensure our planet and its environment is in good shape for our children and grandchildren.
Russell Rees photo
Russell Rees AFSM

Russell Rees AFSM

Former Chief Officer, Country Fire Authority, Victoria
Russell’s time in Country Fire Authority (CFA) began as a volunteer in 1972 and his career spanned more than 35 years working in a range of field and senior operational roles. He represented CFA in many state and national peak bodies and organisations associated with emergency management planning and operations. He was Chief Officer of CFA from 2001 to 2010. Since leaving CFA, he has worked across a range of government departments and statutory authorities in emergency management related fields.
Steve Rothwell photo
Steve Rothwell AFSM

Steve Rothwell AFSM

Former Chief Officer, NT Fire & Rescue Service
Steve Rothwell is the former Chief Fire Officer and Director of the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service, and boasts a 40-year career in the fire service, working in locations all around Australia. His roles have included Assistant Commissioner of various regions around NSW and Queensland, Manager of Strategic Development in the Brisbane South Region, and Station Officer. He began his career at the ACT Fire Brigade, and is now the Executive Officer at the Australasian Road Rescue Organisation.
James Smith photo
James Smith AFSM

James Smith AFSM

Former Deputy Commissioner Field Operations, Fire & Rescue NSW. Former Acting Commissioner, NSW State Emergency Service
James Smith AFSM retired in 2016 after a lengthy career in NSW Emergency Services, and is now a volunteer firefighter with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) on the NSW South Coast. On retirement, James was the Deputy Commissioner Field Operations for Fire & Rescue NSW, but immediately prior to that had acted as Commissioner of the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) for a year. During his career, James worked in a variety of operational and specialist positions, including as Officer in Charge of the Bushfire Section. He holds two Masters degrees and upon retirement, completed a Law degree.
Stephen Sutton photo
Stephen Sutton

Stephen Sutton

Former Chief Fire Control Officer, Bushfires NT
Stephen Sutton has 26 years' experience working the the Fire Protection Industry. With a background in engineering, his roles have centred around project management and consultation. Steve is the owner of RASK Fire Life Safety, a company specialising in fire safety engineering and risk management. As Chief Fire Control Officer in the Northern Territory, Stephen was responsible for Territory-wide bushfire control, hazard reduction and bushfire mitigation, and oversaw the operations of the Territory’s volunteer bushfire brigades.
David Templeman photo
David Templeman

David Templeman

Former Director-General, Emergency Management Australia
David Templeman is a former Director-General of Emergency Management Australia (DGEMA) (2000-2006), in particular serving during the 2003 bushfires. As part of his DGEMA appointment, he coordinated national preparedness for the Sydney Olympics in 2000, contributed to enhanced security arrangements in Australia since the 2001 September 11 attacks, Bali bombings and London bombings in 2005. After the South East Asian earthquake/tsunami in 2004, David managed several Australian task forces in the assistance effort. With a strong interest in community and preventative health, David is currently the president of the Public Health Association of Australia. David is also the CEO of the Australian Council of Deans of Education.
Ken Thompson photo
Ken Thompson AFSM

Ken Thompson AFSM

Former Deputy Commissioner, Fire & Rescue NSW
Ken Thompson is the former Deputy Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, where he was responsible for a range of portfolios including community safety, built environment, fire investigation and research, and risk management.
Ewan Walter photo
Ewan Waller AFSM

Ewan Waller AFSM

Former Chief Fire Officer, Forest Fire Management, VIC
With over 40 years' experience in land, forest and bushfire management and consulting, Ewan Waller has advised state governments, agencies and companies across Australia on strategic and practical approaches to reducing bushfire risk. Among his specialities drawn from his wealth of experience are land use planning, management and conservation of natural values. He served as Chief Fire Officer for the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria, from 2005-2012.

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