Greg Mullins, Commissioner of Fire & Rescue NSW, started as a volunteer bushfire fighter in 1972 with his father. He rose through the ranks from station officer to inspector, to superintendent, and in 1996 was the youngest-ever assistant commissioner appointed. By 2003, Greg became the first person from within the ranks to be appointed both CEO and fire chief, bringing international experience in disaster relief and urban search and rescue, as well as postgraduate qualifications in management.
When Greg joined the volunteer bush fire brigade in the 70s, emergency services were siloed and there was little interaction between the different organisations. "What I've witnessed over the years, just by necessity through major bush fires, floods, and other disasters, is that we've had to link up. It's a really joined-up approach and what we call the ‘all hazards approach.' If there's a storm in western Sydney and the State Emergency Service can't get there as fast as we can, we're the first hit, but then we pull back and support their volunteers. In terms of major bush fires in the state, we work seamlessly with the NSW Rural Fire Service."
"During the Christchurch earthquake, the first international team into Christchurch was from New South Wales. We had 72 people with 20 tonnes of rescue equipment flown in by the RAAF. We sent 75 people on a big RAAF transport to Japan following the tsunami, and then the US Air Force flew us into the area of operations. So, working with other agencies, I've learned a great deal. But the big thing is to leave your ego at the door, always be ready to learn, and look at ways you can support the other agencies."