Australian Disaster Resilience Conference 2019

Speaker profiles

The conference features an expert lineup of national and international researchers and practitioners.

Speakers and panels

Explore the people and presentations coming to the 2019 Australian Disaster Resilience Conference.

Dr Robert Glasser

Dr Robert Glasser 

Visiting Fellow

Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Keynote speaker –- shared with AFAC19

Dr Robert Glasser is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and Honourary Associate Professor at the Australian National University. He was previously the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Head of the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and a member of the Secretary General’s Senior Management Group and the Deputy Secretary General’s Climate Principals Group. Dr Glasser has over 30 years of experience as a practitioner, advocate and policy-maker in the areas of sustainable development, climate change and disaster risk. He was formerly the Secretary General of CARE International, among the world’s largest non-governmental humanitarian organisations, Chief Executive of CARE Australia, and Assistant Director General at the Australian Agency for International Development. He was previously a board member of the Global Call for Climate Action, an alliance of more than 450 national and international organisations focusing on climate change advocacy; Inaugural Board Chairman of the CHS International Alliance, an organisation resulting from the merger of People in Aid and the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership; Chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response; Advisory Panel member of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor; member of the Principals Steering Group of the United Nations Transformative Agenda for Humanitarian Action; and member of the Steering Group for the World Economic Forum project on The Future Role of Civil Society. An Australian national, Dr Glasser has published on several topics, including climate change, disaster risk, peace and conflict, and development policy.

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Eliane MilesEliane Miles

Founding Director

The Curious Co

Keynote speaker – shared with AFAC19

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, business strategist, demographer, and trends analyst. She is in-demand for her research-based presentations and advisory services on next generation leadership, the future of work, workplace culture, consumer trends, communicating for impact, and the engagement styles of the emerging generations. Eliane bridges the gap between the numbers and their real-world application. Her trend analysis gives a full 360-degree view of how demographic shifts combine with social change, generational transitions, and digital trends to create ever-changing consumer and household landscapes. She is a sought-after media commentator on the latest social trends, regularly interviewed on prominent television programs such as ABC The Drum, National Nine News, SBS News, Seven News and the Today Show, as well as on radio, print and in online media. Eliane is the Founding Director of a The Curious Co (, a strategic social trends consultancy that brings expertise and wisdom to organisations who want to be at the forefront of change and innovation. Her passion is finding the story in the data and sharing practical insights that move teams towards confident decision-making.

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Dr. Lance O’SullivanDr Lance O'Sullivan 

Founder and Chair

The MOKO Foundation

Keynote speaker – shared with AFAC19

Dr Lance O’Sullivan is a leading medical innovator pursuing the goal of increasing access to quality health care using emerging digital technologies. Concepts such as cloud, mobility, artificial intelligence, digital humans, internet of things and blockchain are not typically taught at medical schools and yet Lance believes the time has come for them to be. 'The tools of my trade that will allow the greatest impact on the health of our country have changed'. Lance believes there is a big enough clinical knowledge base to have exponential improvements in the health and well-being of all New Zealanders if we can create more digital bridges separating the patient from the care. Lance has been recognised nationally for being an disruptor and champion for ensuring that health care is delivered to the most important of our society-children particularly those with high health and social needs. Lance lives by the famous quote of Sir Fredrick Douglas that reflects the value of our children. He created NZ’s first digital health program (iMOKO™) for children across the country that delivers health services to communities of children in minutes and hours rather that hours and days. Lance is a passionate son of NZ that wants to see our country lead the way in the delivery of innovative models of care that provides more care to more people of higher quality for less cost resulting in a fairer society.

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Agenda Item ImageBronwyn Weir

Managing Director

Weir Legal and Consulting

Keynote speaker – shared with AFAC19

Bronwyn is a lawyer specialising in government law for regulators. In 2017 Bronwyn was co-appointed with Professor Peter Shergold by the Building Ministers Forum to make recommendations on a national best practice approach to regulation of the building sector. The appointment reflects Bronwyn’s in-depth knowledge of building regulation having acted over many years for building regulators, local government, fire brigades and the architects Board in Victoria. Bronwyn was a member of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee for over 10 years. She is a legal advisor to the Victorian Cladding Taskforce and is also currently advising the Queensland government on its controversial security of payment reforms. In addition to building regulation, Bronwyn has also advised regulators in a range of other sectors including human services, education and natural resources.

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Sioux CampbellSioux Campbell

Disaster Management Resilience Officer

Cairns Regional Council

Does saying we're resilient make it so? The Cairns Resilient Scorecard Project

Sioux Campbell is the Disaster Resilience Officer for Cairns Regional Council. She has extensive experience in the public and community sectors in community engagement, behaviour change and crisis management. Specialising in tricky environmental issues and risk communication, Sioux is a multi award winner in public relations, public participation and resilience. She is a life member of the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education, a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand and regional ambassador for the International Association of Public Participation. 

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Renae HanvinRenae Hanvin

Founder and Director


Empowering resilient businesses to drive thriving communities

Renae Hanvin is a highly experienced stakeholder engagement specialist who connects businesses (small to large) with government, emergency services and communities before, during and after disasters. Known for ‘Doing Disasters Differently’, Renae is motivated by her personal experience of disasters, belief in the private sector, knowledge of community needs and understanding of government limitations. Having led the community disaster response approach for large national corporates prior to consulting within the emergencies sector, Renae is driven by her two-fold focus of building organisational resilience and community resilience across all businesses and communities within Australia. A strategist, networker and facilitator, Renae has an MBA, is an iap2 and AICD member as well as a strategic advisor for the Australasian Women in Emergencies (AWE) network.

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Jimmy Scott

Jimmy Scott

General Manager of Resilience

Queensland Reconstruction Authority

Building resilience through regional collaborations and partnerships

Jimmy Scott has extensive working knowledge within the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA), having worked in the organisation since May 2012 to successfully manage the acquittal of the state’s largest reconstruction program following 2011 events including Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi. He was QRA’s General Manager of Operations for 3 years, assisting State and Local governments prepare for and respond to natural disasters. In April 2019, Jimmy commenced as General Manager of Resilience at QRA, which coordinates implementation of the Queensland Strategy for Disaster Resilience, making Queensland the most disaster resilient state in Australia. Holding a Bachelor of Business and Arts, Jimmy is experienced in state government grants administration, principally to local government, and has worked across both Queensland and Northern Territory governments. Within his work, Jimmy is passionate about helping communities build their resilience, enabling quick recovery following natural disasters.

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Sharna Whitehand

Sharna Whitehand

Municipal Emergency Management Officer

Corangamite Shire Council

A recovery approach – drawing out the strengths within the community 

Sharna is the Municipal Emergency Management Officer at Corangamite Shire and for the past 18 months has been part of the Fire Recovery team following the South West fires in March 2018. She comes from a fire and local government background and has broad experience both here in Victoria and California. While working with a particularly resilient Californian community who experience major emergencies regularly, she gained insights which she applied when working with the connected rural farming community in South West Victoria.

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Jacqui PringleJacqui Pringle

Manager Strategy and Influence

Australian Red Cross

Taking preparedness action to scale

Jacqui manages the national Strategy and Influence team at Australian Red Cross, which includes leading on the development of Red Cross’s domestic emergency services program strategy and planning, the coordination and implementation of activities aligned to major national emergency services partnerships, program and product design and development, and advocacy activities. Jacqui has worked in emergency management with Australian Red Cross for the past ten years in both a domestic and international setting, including three emergency missions undertaken while a Red Cross International Communications Delegate. Prior to her work with Australian Red Cross, Jacqui has held a number of roles in both communications and media in the not-for-profit sector, local and federal government. She also spent a year working with a national aid and development organisation in Sri Lanka following the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami.

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Emily SextonEmily Sexton

Artistic Director

Arts House


Claire Coleman

Claire Coleman 

Writer and poet


Refuge 2019: Displacement

Emily Sexton is Artistic Director of Arts House, Melbourne’s centre for contemporary performance. Her previous roles include Head of Programming for the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas (2014-17), Artistic Director of Next Wave (2010-14) and Creative Producer of Melbourne Fringe (2008-10). Emily was awarded a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in 2014 and is alumni of the Australia Council’s Leadership Program (2018). Across Emily's curatorial work is an abiding interest in international exchange, reciprocity and collaboration. She has long maintained a commitment to the empowerment and programming of First Nations artists, which is reflected in much of her proudest curatorial work.

Claire Coleman is a Wirlomin Noongar woman whose ancestral country is in the South Coast of Western Australia. Her debut novel Terra Nullius, published in Australia and the USA, written on a second-hand iPad in a caravan, has won the Norma K. Hemming Award and a black&write fellowship and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and an Aurealis Award. She has written essay, short fiction, reportage, opinion, criticism and poetry for publication on multiple national and international platforms and is a popular speaker and storyteller.  The Old Lie is her second novel.

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Scotia MonkivitchScotia Monkivitch

Executive Officer

Creative Recovery Network 

Arts and culture – sustaining people and place in a changing world

Creative Recovery Network advocates for and supports the role arts and creativity plays within disaster preparedness, response and recovery. We aims to gather, critique, develop and share the knowledge gained nationally and internationally for engagement of the arts in disaster recovery, along with developing tools and support for artists working in this field. Scotia has a broad range of professional experiences in the community arts and cultural development sector, which have taken her throughout Australia and internationally. She has diverse experience in training, mentoring, strategic planning, project management, research and facilitation of community cultural development programs and strategies, specialising in working with people experiencing disability and disadvantage, mental health, creative aging and rural and remote communities. Scotia is committed to artistic and executive collaborations and partnerships which privilege the contributors to develop their vision, their art, their audience and the cultural and social relevance of their work – creating art and experiences that changes the way people see their own and others lives. 

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Grade 6 Student



Grade 6 Student



Grade 6 Student



Grade 6 Student



Grade 6 Student

'We want to show people what kids can do': A participatory student-led evaluation of the Strathewen-Arthurs Creek Bushfire Education Partnership

Brody is in grade 6. His hobbies are soccer, rock climbing, karate and video games. He goes to Strathewen Primary School. His favourite part of the Bushfire Education Partnership has been learning about the scientific instruments and how to use them and going down to Anglesea to learn about that area.

Lachlan lives in Kinglake West, but he goes to school in Strathewen. He is in grade 6 and enjoys playing sport and playing games. He thinks the most important thing about the Bushfire Education Partnership is that it’s giving people information about what to do if a fire came through and how to prepare for the fire season. His favourite thing about the project has been learning about filming and using stop motion cameras.

Liam goes to Strathewen Primary School and is in grade 6. He enjoys playing with nerf guns and going on the trampoline with his brother. Liam thinks the most interesting part of the Bushfire Education Partnership is going to Anglesea and finding out what their fire plans are for the town.

Scarlett goes to Strathewen Primary School and is in grade 6. She enjoys calisthenics and playing with her pets. She thinks the most important part of the Bushfire Education Partnership is learning how to use all the instruments, such as the whirling hygrometer and the fine fuels moisture meter. She also thinks that doing this program is a once in a lifetime experience.

Rory lives in Strathewen and is in grade 6. He enjoys eating exotic food and spending time with his family. He has really enjoyed learning how to use the instruments that help calculate the Fire Danger Rating for the day. For Rory, the most important thing about the partnership is that it’s letting people know how to be aware and be prepared.

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Michelle VilleneuveDr Michelle Villeneuve

Senior Researcher

University of Sydney


Mandy MooreMandy Moore

Senior Manager

NSW Office of Emergency Management

Empowering disability-inclusive disaster risk reduction through cross-sector leadership

Dr Michelle Villeneuve is Research Lead - Disability-Inclusive Community Development at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy at The University of Sydney. Michelle’s international program of research, Collaborating 4 Inclusion, addresses inclusive capacity development using social learning methodologies to impact policy and practice and overcome inequities that people with disability experience in everyday living. Michelle has over 20 years of experience working in regions of conflict and natural hazard disaster to develop community-led programs and services and re-build opportunities for people with disability (including those with disability acquired by human conflict and natural disaster). Michelle leads participatory action research on DIDRR in Australia. She led the PREPARE NSW project (2017-18), a community capacity development project to co-design the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness Toolkit. Michelle was a chief investigator on the first DFAT funded disability inclusive disaster risk reduction research and development project (2013-2014) in Indonesia focused on the role and capacity of disabled people’s organisations as policy advocates for inclusive DRR in Indonesia. In Australia, Michelle led our team’s development of Local Guidelines for Emergency Managers Disability-Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction in NSW and accompanying video - core outputs from the Enabling Community Resilience Through Collaboration project funded by the Community Resilience and Innovation Program in 2015-16.

Mandy Moore has over 12 years’ experience working in the emergency management sector in disaster welfare services, community preparedness and recovery. Her role at the Office of Emergency Management includes the Get Ready NSW program, the Community Resilience Innovation Program and the Community Engagement Sub-Committee of the State Emergency Management Committee. Mandy’s career has spanned management roles in public and social policy areas in State and local government, as well as community service and volunteer peak organisations. She has managed programs in crime prevention, health promotion, homelessness and volunteerism.

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Uncle David WandinUncle David Wandin

Wurundjeri Elder


Return of the Firestick

Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Dave Wandin is Wurundjeri Corporations Manager of Cultural Practices (Fire and Water). Prior to this role, Uncle Dave was instrumental in the implementation and establishment of the Corporation’s Narrap Team – a team of cultural land managers who provide commercial services for different authorities and businesses with land and water management responsibilities. Uncle Dave is a recognised leader in both the promotion and execution of cultural burns in Victoria and is the main protagonist in a publication titled “Sshhhh the Parent Trees are Talking”, a publication that resulted in Dixon’s Creek Primary School and Uncle Dave taking home the Resilient Australia National School Award for its Wurundjeri-led fire program in 2018.

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Dr Scott Hanson-Easey Dr Scott Hanson-Easey 

Research Fellow

University of Adelaide 

On heatwave risk communication to the public: new evidence informing message tailoring and audience segmentation

I have a research interest in how natural hazards (e.g., heatwaves, bushfires, flooding) risk communication operates, and how it could could be enhanced to better prepare lay publics for disasters and emergencies. In particular, my work explores how risk communication efforts could better address psychological, cultural, social, material, and discursive facets alive in our communities. I use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) paradigm to broker engagement and understanding between communities and government emergency management agencies, facilitating the co-development of risk messages. Employing a CBPR approach, I have worked with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the Karen (former humanitarian refugees from Burma) community in Victoria to develop a film on fire bans and restrictions. I have a formal background in social psychology, and joined the School of Public Health in 2012 to manage a National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) funded project: Public understanding of climate change risk in South Australia. Before that, my PhD research focused on the discursive and rhetorical aspects of racism as it is produced on talkback radio and in political discourse. In addition to this research, I was Manager of NCCARF's Vulnerable Communities Adaptation Network (VCN), hosted by the School of Public Health at the University of Adelaide. The network strengthened Australia's research capacity in this vital area and augmented understanding of how climate change will impact on the nation's most vulnerable groups, and how these impacts could be mitigated. Before this, my research focused on the discursive aspects of race-talk in the Australian media and politics. I critically examined how Sudanese-Australians were being portrayed in political and lay talk on talkback radio. The mercurial nature of racism as manifested in discourse continues to interest me.

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Kristin GabrielKristin Gabriel 

Deputy Chief Resilience Officer

Resilient Sydney

The lived experience of four disasters – insights into community urban resilience experiences

Kristin Gabriel is the Deputy Chief Resilience Officer for metropolitan Sydney, hosted by the City of Sydney Council as part of the 100 Resilient Cities Network. Kristin developed and implemented the metropolitan-wide community research program to develop the Resilient Sydney Strategy. Sydneysiders were involved in innovative, experiential engagement methodologies to prioritise actions addressing community risks and opportunities for a stronger, safer and more connected city. Kristin is a passionate advocate for the role of the community voice in decision making. She has over 15 years of experience of robust research design in stakeholder engagement in local government, including the use of deliberative democracy processes exploring contentious city issues.

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Mary FarrowMary Farrow


Emerald Community House

The future is now for the inclusion of women in emergency management planning

Mary Farrow is the Manager of Emerald Community House (ECH) Inc., Director of the Centre of Resilience and editor of the Emerald Messenger. ECH’s strong foundation of community development provides the basis for ECH to help people consider the risks they face, especially from bushfires and storm impact. ECH’s approach to building community resilience to disasters is to integrate preparedness and capacity strengthening into its numerous community programs, enterprises, markets, festivals and services. Under Mary’s management, ECH has won 5 Fire Awareness Awards and a Resilient Australia Award. ECH’s approach has been recognised in Monash University’s Victorian Community-based Resilience Building Case Studies and as a resilience exemplar in the Strategies for Supporting Community Resilience, Multinational Resilience Policy Group, Swedish Defence University, Stockholm, Sweden and in Disasters and Public Health: Planning and Response by Bruce W. Clements, Julie Casani, Texas, USA.

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PANEL: Respect and recovery – state and local government working together with communities

Anne LeadbeaterAnne Leadbeater 


Leadbeater Group

Anne is the director of Leadbeater Group Pty Ltd, specialising in disaster recovery and community resilience. Her background is in emergency management, community development and adult education, working first in the neighbourhood house sector and then for 16 years in local and state government.
Anne has worked with communities recovering from drought, fire, flood and cyclone in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, and in 2014, she headed up an international team to evaluate the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal for New Zealand Red Cross. Last year she completed a review of the national Community Recovery Handbook for the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience. Anne lives in Kinglake, Victoria and was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her work in the aftermath of the 2009 ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires.


Andrea SpiteriAndrea Spiteri 

Director, Emergency Management Branch

Department of Health and Human Services Victoria 

Andrea has extensive emergency management knowledge, experience and networks, built through significant emergencies such as the 2008 Cranbourne methane gas incident, 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, 2010-2011 Victorian floods, 2013 Aberfeldy fires and the 2014 Hazelwood Mine Fire. Andrea has a degree in Applied Science (Environmental Health) and previously worked in local and state government public health roles. She has held executive roles as the Area Director Inner Gippsland and Director Emergency Management in South Division. Andrea is passionate about recognising and strengthening the capacity of communities and further enhancing the capability of the emergency management, health and human services sectors.


Ange Gordon

Ange Gordon

Community member/participant

La Trobe Health Assembly 

Ange has been involved in recovery as a community representative since the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. After these bushfires she became the chairperson for the Traralgon South and District Community Recovery Committee and was the Gippsland representative on the Community Advisory Committee, responsible for the distribution of the VBAF funds for community recovery. A natural progression from the community recovery process was Ange’s involvement in the Traralgon South and District Association as President. Ange’s profession is teaching with specialities in VCE PE and VET Allied Health/Sport and Recreation, currently working at Kurnai College in Churchill. She is also a community and board member of the Latrobe Health Assembly which was formed in response to the Hazelwood mine fires in 2014. A passionate resident of the Latrobe Valley, Ange highly values the working relationships between community and government.


Wendy GrahamWendy Graham 

Director, Resilience and Planning

NSW Office of Emergency Management

Wendy is the Director of Resilience and Recovery in the NSW Office of Emergency Management. She has provided strategic leadership and cross government recovery coordination in numerous disaster events over the last 14 years. Major recovery operations include the Tathra Bushfire 2018, Northern Rivers Flooding Ex Cyclone Debbie 2017, NSW Western Fires 2017, Lindt Cafe Siege 2014, Warrumbungle and Blue Mountains Bushfires 2013, and Hunter/Newcastle “Pasha Bulka” Storms 2007. Wendy has been responsible for the development of disaster resilience strategy in NSW and established the NSW Community Resilience Innovation Program, a grants program designed to resource local grass roots community disaster resilience initiatives. Wendy also established “Get Ready NSW” an all-hazards community preparedness initiative that provides resources to councils, community services and businesses to build resilience in their local communities. Wendy is a Winston Churchill Fellow and researched disaster recovery programs and community resilience in the international setting. This experience continues to inform her practice and passion in working with disaster affected communities.


Leanne BarnesLeanne Barnes

General Manager

Bega Valley Shire Council 

Leanne Barnes has been General Manager at Bega Valley Shire Council since January 2014. Leanne stepped up into the job following 10 years as a Group Manager with the Council. At the time of her appointment she was challenged by the Council to drive a cultural change in the organisation. The team at Bega Valley is in the early stages of becoming more proactive, flexible, courageous and committed to engagement. In 2009 Leanne was awarded the NSW Ministers’ Award for Women in Local Government in the regional/rural staff category. Previously, Leanne has held leadership and management roles with Planning NSW, the Victorian Country Fire Authority, local government in Victoria, the Victorian Ministry for the Arts and in TAFE. Leanne also has considerable board experience with sporting and cultural organisations and ead the international and Australian campaign for the inclusion of women’s water polo onto the Olympic Games program. As a result of her dedication to this sport she was awarded an Order of Australia Medial (OAM) as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2019.


Euan FergusonEuan Ferguson

Recovery Coordinator 

Euan Ferguson Pty Ptd

Euan Ferguson is a forester and fire and emergency manager with over 40 years experience. Recent executive roles include acting as the Recovery Coordinator for the March 2018 Tathra (NSW) bushfire, Recovery Coordinator for the April 2017 Northern Rivers (NSW) floods and Special Inquirer into the January 2016 Waroona (WA) bushfire. Before his retirement, Euan was the Chief Officer of Country Fire Authority (CFA) from 2010-2015 and prior to that, Chief Officer and CEO of the SA Country Fire Service (CFS) from 2001-2010. Euan is currently the Principal Consultant and Director of Euan Ferguson Pty Ltd.

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CLOSING PANEL: A changing world, 10 years on from Black Saturday

Shared with AFAC19

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The Australian Disaster Resilience Conference is proudly supported by the City of Melbourne. 

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