Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers 2017


  • Jack Archer, CEO, Regional Australia Institute

The Conference Program Committee would like to thank our 2016 keynotes.

Dr David Fleming, Research Economist, CSIRO

Dr. Fleming’s research analyses different issues linked to economic growth and regional development, employing mainly econometric models and spatial analysis. He also specializes on impact evaluation.

In Australia he has provided important insights on the impacts of CSG in southern Queensland and on the benefits (and costs) of the recent mining boom across regions of the country. He is currently president of the AARES ACT Branch and associate Editor in the journal Resources Policy. His work has been published in important journals such as Nature, The Journal of Development Studies and The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Mr Sean Gordon, Chief Executive Officer, Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council

Sean is a Wangkumarra/Barkintji man, and grew up at Brewarrina, Western NSW.

Sean has formal qualifications in Carpentry and Joinery, Clerk of Works, Bachelor Degree in Teaching, Advanced Diploma in Community Services, is a licensed builder and a qualified teacher in adult education. During the past 10 years Sean has been heavily involved in Aboriginal Community development and Economic development. Sean’s employment background covers a diverse range of industries which gives him a unique view and knowledge base to assist Aboriginal communities.

Sean commenced his position as Chief Executive Officer with Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) in October 2008 and retains this position today. Darkinjung are a leading Land Council both in NSW and nationally, having combined assets valued at more than $55 million (cash and land).

In addition to Sean’s work with Darkinjung LALC, Sean has spent the past 24 months as the convener of the Empowered Communities Leadership Group. He has also implementing Empowered Communities on the Central Coast of New South Wales and now the newly elected Chairperson of Naisda Dance College.

Sean is a strong advocate of self-determination within the Local Aboriginal Land Council movement and is highly regarded across all sectors of community, government and industry. He has sharp and well-regarded business acumen and brings a common sense approach to business management and accountability.

Sean’s greatest achievement is demonstrating that Land Councils can deliver real outcomes for communities and members.

Ms Nicky Ison and Jarra Hicks, Founding Directors, Community Power Agency

NickyIsonJarraHicksIn 2011, Nicky Ison and Jarra Hicks formed Community Power Agency to help grow a vibrant community energy sector in Australia. Through Community Power Agency, they have worked with and visited over 50 community energy projects and organisations in Australia, Europe and North America. Nicky and Jarra also help found the Coalition for Community Energy, which is working to address the barriers to the development of a wider Australian community energy sector. Together they have been instrumental in the development of community energy policy in NSW, Victoria and federally.

Jarra spent two years as the Project Coordinator of Mount Alexander Community Wind in Central Victoria. Jarra is also currently a PhD Candidate at the University of New South Wales. She is researching the potential for community energy projects to contribute positive social, economic and environmental outcomes for regional communities in Australia.

Nicky also works as a Senior Research Consultant at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology, Sydney. Nicky was the lead author of the ARENA funded National Community Energy Strategy and co-authored GetUp and Solar Citizen’s Homegrown Power Plan – a policy blueprint for a transition to a 100% renewable Australia.

Mr Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, Australian Logistics Council

Michael Kilgariff is the Managing Director of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) – which represents the major and national companies participating in the Australian freight logistics supply chain industry.

Since his appointment to the position in 2009 following a number of senior positions in both industry and government, Michael has worked closely with senior politicians and state and federal public servants to elevate the needs of freight.

He has achieved this by utilising his strong understanding of how industry and government interact, and how key public policy issues can be successfully developed and progressed.

Central to Michael’s dialogue with state and federal leaders has been to encourage them to focus on practical ways to improve the efficiency of the freight logistics industry to help strengthen Australia’s economy.

Michael is a strong advocate for more productive supply chains which he argues are critical to meeting a national freight task which is expected to increase significantly over the coming decades.

Under Michael’s leadership, ALC has also strengthened its focus on improving safety in the industry through the ongoing development of ALC’s Safety Codes, and through strong engagement on the development of national laws for heavy vehicles, rail safety and maritime safety.

Michael’s has also drawn upon his knowledge of the freight logistics industry and his experience in national industry associations to play an active role in a number of international bodies, including a group established to assist APEC bodies establish and develop their national logistics associations.
Michael holds a degree in Economics from the Australian National University, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ diploma and advanced diploma courses.

Associate Professor Simon McArthur, Deputy Chair, Australian Regional Tourism Network

Simon has 25 years experience in tourism planning, development and operations. He has extensive qualifications that include a Masters in Business Administration, PhD in Tourism Management, Associate Professorship in Hotel Management and Bachelor of Applied Science in Natural Resource Management. He has published several books on heritage and visitor management in protected areas and cultural sites. Simon has received some 20 awards for heritage tourism planning and development, marketing, product innovation and sensitive environmental design. He was recently awarded the Australian Travel Innovator Award (Travel and Leisure Magazine).

Simon is both creative and logical, moving from ideas generation and market and financial analysis to full implementation and evaluation. He is renown for his ability to interpret social trends into unmet market needs and then into creative product development that meets these needs. Simon has an innate skill to match target markets to products and identify products that are mismatched. Simon is differentiated from peers by his business skills to then perform comprehensive feasibility assessments, business plans and business development. With a decade developing and operating tourism businesses, he has the commercial capacity to know what can work and what is unlikely to work.

Simon is Deputy Chairperson of the Australian Regional Tourism Network and has been a Board Member for several years.

Mr Warwick Powell, Founder and Chairman, Sister City Partners Ltd

Warwick Powell is founder and chairman of Sister City Partners Ltd, a regional not-for-profit investment banking enterprise. He is a director of a number of companies in Australia and Hong Kong involved in investment banking, big data analytics, renewable energy and agribusiness services.

He is a recognised creative thinker in economic, social and enterprise development with 20 years’ experience in identifying and assessing social and economic impacts across a broad range of public policy propositions and development activities and initiatives. His expertise in this arena is reflected in being invited to deliver a complete 13-week course on ‘creativity, innovation and leadership in the 21st century’ for James Cook University’s MBA program. He is the author or co-author of a range of research papers and conference papers, cutting across areas as diverse as regional financial innovation through to the socio-aesthetics of urban design and open space.

Invited to open the conference

  • Senator the Hon Fiona Nash

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