Fire and Emergency Male Champions of Change

The Fire and Emergency Male Champions of Change was established in April 2017 with support from the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC).

The group is convened by the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner Kristen Hilton and includes Chief Executives and Commissioners leading 30+ agencies responsible for fire, emergency and land management services across Australia and New Zealand.

Together, their objective is to advance gender equity, inclusive cultures and achieve significant and sustainable improvements in the representation of women in their workplaces, including senior leadership positions, amongst a paid and volunteer workforce of more than 280,000 people.

The Fire and Emergency Services Male Champions of Change supports and strengthens AFAC’s wider focus on diversity and inclusion.

Who are the Male Champions of Change in Fire and Emergency?

  • Chris Arnol, Chief Officer, Tasmania Fire Service
  • Paul Baxter, Commissioner, Fire and Rescue NSW
  • Chris Beattie, Chief Officer, South Australian State Emergency Service
  • Neil Cooper, Manager Fire, Forest and Roads, ACT Parks and Conservation Service
  • Greg Crossman, Chief Officer and Chief Executive, SA Metropolitan Fire Service
  • Ross Dickson, Chief Forester and Company Secretary, Forestry Corporation NSW
  • Stuart Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council
  • Shane Fitzsimmons, Commissioner, New South Wales Rural Fire Service
  • Stephen Griffin, Chief Executive Officer, Victoria State Emergency Service
  • Jim Higgins, Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Fire & Emergency Services Board
  • Ben Klaassen, Deputy Director General, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services
  • Darren Klemm, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Fire and Emergency Services WA
  • Dominic Lane, Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services Agency
  • Craig Lapsley, Emergency Management Commissioner, Emergency Management Victoria
  • Andrew Lea, Director, Tasmania State Emergency Service
  • Paul McGill, National Commander, Urban Fire and Emergency Operations, New Zealand Fire Service
  • Greg Nettleton, Chief Officer, SA Country Fire Service
  • David Nugent, Director Fires and Emergency Services, Parks Victoria
  • Grant Pelton, Director Regional Programs Parks and Regions, Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources SA
  • Mark Smethurst, Commissioner, New South Wales State Emergency Service
  • Martin Winters, Fire Coordinator, Forestry SA

Special advisers to the MCC are:

  • Sally Barnes, Director of National Parks, Parks Australia
  • Michelle Bennetts, Executive General Manager, Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Services
  • Collene Bremner, Executive Director, Bushfires NT
  • Katarina Carroll, Commissioner, Queensland Fire & Emergency Services
  • Frances Diver, Chief Executive Officer, Country Fire Authority Victoria
  • Jennifer Reilly, Executive Director, Northern Territory Fire, Rescue and Emergency Service
  • Stephanie Rotarangi, Chief Fire Officer, Forest Fire Management Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Naomi Stephens, Director, Fire & Incident Management Section, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service Office of Environment and Heritage NSW


For further information please contact the MCC Fire and Emergency Program Director, Julie Bissinella at

Recent news & announcements

Click here to read the MCC Fire and Emergency program charter

Kristen Hilton’s speech on “Strengthening Organisations ” at the 2017 Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Council Conference