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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Brendan Moon

Brendan Moon

Chief Executive Officer

Queensland Reconstruction Authority

Building resilience through regional collaborations and partnerships

Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA), Brendan Moon leads Australia’s only permanent disaster recovery agency. Since 2011, QRA has overseen a Commonwealth/State funded disaster reconstruction program worth $14.4 billion, with Mr Moon leading Queensland’s contribution to the Commonwealth’s recent reform of disaster funding arrangements. Mr Moon started with QRA in 2011, following the Queensland floods and Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi and led QRA operations for Cyclone Oswald and recovery efforts for Cyclone Debbie, described by the Insurance Council of Australia as the costliest cyclone to impact Australia since 1974. Mr Moon was appointed the State Recovery Coordinator following five separate natural disasters to strike Queensland in early 2018 and is the State Recovery Policy and Planning Coordinator, assisting with the recovery of disaster-impacted communities. He is a regular contributor to national and international dialogue on disaster risk and resilience and was invited to address the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction’s Asian Ministerial Conferences in 2016 and 2018.

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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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No imageEmily Sexton

Artistic Director

Arts House

Refuge 2019 Displacement

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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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Michelle VilleneuveDr Michelle Villeneuve

Senior Researcher

University of Sydney


No imageMandy 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.

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Brett EllisBrett Ellis

General Manager Risk and Resilience

Emergency Management Victoria 


Uncle David WandinUncle David Wandin

Wurundjeri Elder


Return of the Firestick

Brett Ellis has 30 years’ experience working with communities in building community resilience within the public safety realm. His career includes roles with Life Saving Victoria, Yarra Ranges Council, and Emergency Management Victoria (EMV), and a secondment to City of Melbourne to assist with the development of the Resilient Melbourne Strategy. Brett is employed as the General Manager Risk and Resilience within EMV, where he also undertakes operational functions as State Consequence Manager and State Relief and Recovery Manager. Brett is an independent Board member with Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation a national body established to support indigenous fire knowledge. Brett has been working with Uncle David Wandin for five years on the Return of the Firestick Project which is returning indigenous fire practices to Country. Brett was awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM) for distinguished services to the community, and the National Emergency Medal for sustained service during the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires. He has also been honoured with Australian Surf Life Saver of the Year. Brett lives on an off the grid farm with his wife and two daughters in the Yarra Valley, where he manages a growing hobby/agricultural enterprise which supplies high quality produce to restaurants across Australia.

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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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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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No imageAnne Leadbeater 


Leadbeater Group


Andrea SpiteriAndrea Spiteri 

Director, Emergency Management Branch

Department of Health and Human Services Victoria 


No imageAnge Gordon

Community member/participant

La Trobe Health Assembly 


Wendy GrahamWendy Graham 

Director, Resilience and Planning

NSW Office of Emergency Management


No imageLeanne Barnes

General Manager

Bega Valley Shire Council 


No imageEuan Ferguson

Recovery Coordinator 

Euan Ferguson Pty Ptd

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

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

Shared with AFAC19

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