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Kiwi takes top job at FRNSW

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/01/2017

Three Maori community elders have marked the arrival of newly appointed NSW Fire & Rescue Commissioner Paul Baxter as the New Zealander steps into retiring Commissioner Greg Mullins' boots.

After 13 years in the job, Mr Mullins officially transferred command to Mr Baxter at a ceremony outside the City of Sydney Fire Station on Monday.

Mr Mullins was the first person promoted from within the ranks to fulfil the role of both Chief Fire Officer and chief executive, joining the service in 1978.

Mr Baxter, the outgoing New Zealand Fire Service chief executive, has spent more than 30 years with the organisation and also served in Australia during the 2001 NSW Black Christmas bushfires.

"The NSW Fire & Rescue Service has got a outstanding reputation in Australia, in New Zealand and around the world and that's largely due to the good work that has been done by all the people in the organisation under Greg Mullin's leadership," Mr Baxter said.

"They're big shoes to fill and I'm looking forward to that challenge."

Mr Baxter conceded there could possibly be some resentment from within the NSW fire community for an outsider being appointed to the top job.

"Quite possibly, but it's a decision that's made by the appointments panel and the board," he said.

Emergency Services Minister David Elliot thanked Mr Mullins for leaving an "outstanding legacy" and welcomed Mr Baxter to the role.

"On behalf of the NSW government, I congratulate and welcome Commissioner Baxter who is highly qualified in firefighting, rescue, disaster management and senior command," Mr Elliot said.

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