Global Speakers


Douglas Brown


Bushfire Architecture: Research and Consulting

In 2016 Douglas set up Bushfire Architecture a research consultancy which provides design advice to building professionals with clients in bushfire-prone areas, it also provides essential background material to staff engaged in assessing development applications in bushfire-prone areas.

Earlier this year he completed his PhD entitled Domestic Architecture and the Perception of Risk in Bushfire-Prone Areas, this research was undertaking in the Faculty of Architecture, Design & Planning at the University of Sydney. In April he gave a continuing professional development seminar on Building in a Bushfire Zone at the Australian Institute to Architects, this resulted in one of the other speakers and Douglas deciding to write a book to illustrate the way good design can improve the bushfire protection of buildings.

In September at the 2018 Australian Bushfire Building Conference & Community Forum he will be giving a paper entitled: Could Current Mandated Building Legislation, Through Omission, and Endanger Future Residents in Bushfire-Prone Areas? At the Community Forum the following day he will give a talk on Where to Take Refuge in Your Home During a Bushfire, this is based on `The Conversation’ article he wrote in 2017. Since 2015 he has been a casual academic in a range of subjects in both the Bushfire Protection and Building Construction courses at Western Sydney University.

As Conference Chairperson and Moderator, Douglas will seek to maintain a harmonious, respectful and interactive conference; one where the speakers are supported and delegates are encouraged to become fully engaged. He looks forward to welcoming all delegates and being part of such a stimulating and vibrant agenda.


Bapon Fakhruddin, PhD

DDR and Climate Resilience Specialist

Tonkin & Taylor

Dr Fakhruddin is an expert climate change risk assessor with 15 years’ global experience in working on disaster risk and climate resilience projects. This experience is a major advantage in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategy development. His key areas of expertise are climate and hydrological assessment, early warning and emergency response, climate change adaptation, and capacity building. Dr Fakhruddin designed early warning and emergency response projects more than 25 countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Dr Fakhruddin is currently advising the Government of Samoa on potential adaption strategies for dealing with the country’s vulnerability to climate change and enhancing its resilience to hydrological disaster. He is a Science Committee Member of IRDR of ICSU/UNISDR, Co-Chair for the Disaster Loss DATA and Risk Interpretation and Applications (RIA) Working Group of IRDR of ICSU/UNISDR. He is also Co-Chair CODATA task group Linked Open Data for Global Disaster Risk Research (LODGD) and PSG member of the Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP) of WMO.


Hank Van Ravenstein

Principal Advisor, Building Compliance

Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria

Hank is the Principal Advisor Building Compliance for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. He manages at a high level the fire risk management policy, strategy and principles and regulatory compliance. Hank represents the Department on several executive and other high-level discussions and committees on fire risk management. He is he is also a qualified Building Surveyor and holds an Executive Master of Public Administration, which has further developed his ability in the formation of policies. He has publish many papers on Fire Safety”

Also Dr Ian Bennetts “Ian is a civil and fire safety engineer with experience in the assessment and design of structures and buildings for fire safety. He works with SKIP Consulting Pty Ltd after holding senior positions with BHP Melbourne Research Laboratories, Victoria University. In 2013 he was the (part-time) CSI Professor at Swinburne University. He has a detailed understanding of the behaviour in fire of passive systems including bushfire shutters, fire-resistant windows and building structures and has some experience with the design of bushfire wall wetting protection systems. He has undertaken detailed technical assessments of private bushfire shelters and community fire refuges. He is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and was recently elected to the “hall of fame” of Engineers Australia Society of Fire Safety. He is a member of the Emergency Management Commission of Victoria’s Bushfire Construction Advisory Panel.”


Carolyn Hutson

Research Statistician, Data61


Carolyn Huston is a research statistician with CSIRO Data61. She completed a Phd. in Statistics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.

Recent work with the Victorian Government’s Powerline Bushfire Safety Program (PBSP) required data collaboration with distribution businesses (Ausnet Services and Powercor); state bodies including Energy Safe Victoria, the Country Fire Authority and DELWP; and sourcing information from federal bodies including the Emergency Services Authorities Council and the Australian Energy Regulator. Most importantly, analytics performed on this collective data has targeted powerline investment in such a way that up to 60% of bushfire ignition risk will be removed from Victoria’s electricity distribution networks.


Bruce McNab

Superintendent, District Officer

Queensland Police Service

Bruce was sworn into the Queensland Police Service in 1989. After initial periods in uniform, Bruce commenced a journey as a Criminal Investigator which lasted for over twenty years and saw him work in various parts of Queensland as a Detective. During this time Bruce worked as a team member, team leader, and performed two years as a Covert Police Operative at the State Crime Command, using covert methodologies to infiltrate and collect evidence on organised crime networks in Queensland and interstate.

In 2011 Bruce was promoted from the Detective Senior Sergeant at Caboolture Criminal Investigation Branch to the be the operations Inspector for the then Gympie District. During this time, he performed duty as the Deputy District Disaster Coordinator for the Gympie Disaster District through three flood events. In 2013 Bruce went back to investigative work becoming the Detective Inspector for the new Wide Bay District, before becoming the Superintendent, District Officer for the Mackay District. This district covers some 120 000 square kilometres including the Whitsunday area, and the coal fields of the Bowen Basin. In this role he is the District Disaster Coordinator for the Mackay Disaster District. Disaster preparation and planning are an important part of this role, with Bruce in charge of developing and maintaining a coordinated response between all government and community agencies in the District. In 2017 he coordinated the response of the communities of Mackay, Isaac, and Whitsunday for the TC Debbie weather event which made landfall at Airlie Beach within the Whitsunday area. He coordinator the preparedness and response for all agencies in the lead up, and response to the cyclone, the impacts of which are still being felt in the community today.

Bruce is married to Tess, a lecturer at Sunshine Coast University, and between them they have six children, and six grandchildren. Bruce has been awarded the National Police Medal, The Qld Police Service Medal, the National Medal, The Qld Police Service Valour Award, and the Australian Bravery Medal.


Mark Tregellas

Founder & Project Manager

Crisis Cleanup Australia

Mark Tregellas recently retired from the position of Leading Senior Constable of police with the Victoria police force. His 31 year police career was mostly spent in remote rural locations. In addition to operational police duties he was extensively involved in search and rescue, and community disaster preparedness.

His interest has been in developing and using open source decentralised software that enables communities to develop resilience through; Communication, Collaboration, Cooperation and Coordination.

In 2011 Mark started Mallacoota Recovers which was Australia’s first community led disaster recovery platform that enabled; online volunteer sign-up, skills and equipment reporting, liability waivers, a smooth assignment process, messaging and efficient matching, local news reporting, twitter scraping, and a community messaging centre.

In early 2013 he launched Crisis Cleanup Australia. It is an Open Source, Inter-Organisation Disaster Recovery Collaboration and Communication Solution that has been successfully used in 89 major disasters in 6 countries.

He is the current president of the Mallacoota Sub-Branch of the Returned & Services League of Australia and is also on the National Executives of the Australian Bravery Association, and the Australian Commando Association.


Chris Quin

Project Director

Resilient Projects

Chris Quin is the Director of Resilient Projects.

Chris holds a Master’s degree in Disaster Preparedness and Reconstruction and is a Certified Practicing Project Director (CPPD) with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM).

Chris has a keen interest in resilient infrastructure, and disaster preparedness and mitigation projects. He has extensive experience in successful projects for organisations such as the NSW Office of Emergency Services, Energy Queensland, and Queensland Fire & Emergency Services.

Chris has also worked in the response, recovery, and reconstruction effort to major natural disasters such as Cyclone Yasi, Cyclone Marcia, and Cyclone Debbie, and is an active member of the Queensland State Emergency Service.


Kobus Mentz

Director / Professor

Urbanismplus / The University of Auckland

Kobus Mentz is one of Australasia’s leading urban thinkers and director of Urbanismplus, a specialist urban design practice, based in Auckland and active in Australia, India, China and the UK. They are widely known for their pioneering demonstration projects, methodologies, and publications, including the following:

  • The 2011 Lyttleton earthquake recovery plan (the port village at the epicentre of the Christchurch Earthquake) which has resulted in new public spaces, zoning changes and budgets for long term plan, consultation involved several hundred people in emergency tents. It received a national award for consultation.
  • The 2017 facilitation of Lismore’s Flood Ready Plan which addressed: Preparedness, Recovery, Connectedness (business and welfare), Funding and Governance.  A two-day charrette which reviewed their disaster experience and delivered a pathway forward. It involved voluntary groups, the city council, universities, Red Cross, the police, and state agencies such as NSW SES etc.
  • The Dunedin Warehouse District strategy which in anticipation of an earthquake, has leveraged regeneration benefits off earthquake strengthening strategies. The outcomes are significant with dozens of threatened buildings (and lives?) saved and $52m private sector investment leveraged off $1.1m Council investment. This is now a subject of an upcoming book by the Royal Institute of Architects in the UK.
  • The recent publication ‘Earthquake strengthening can be a tool for regeneration’ which draws together several initiatives from around New Zealand and offers specific methods and ideas.
  • Numerous growth strategies including for Melbourne, the Greater Christchurch and Auckland.
  • Advisory roles for the UK, and Abu Dhabi governments.
  • Several new town centre projects such as University Hill at Whittlesea, which was awarded the ’Best Master Planned Community in Australia’ by the Australian Property Council for 2011.
  • Urban design teaching at 10 universities and training for over 800 mid-career professionals
  • Numerous publications and national awards.

Wade Harrison


RED (Resilience, Emergency, Disaster) Consultant

Wade has been involved with volunteer emergency services for over 28 years. He spent almost 20 years with the Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) starting as a volunteer back in 1990 and progressing through the ranks undertaking various roles including as a Vertical Rescue Instructor Trainer, volunteer Deputy Controller, and also a paid fulltime controller responsible for 500 + volunteers and 10 individual groups looking after the residents of Brisbane City.

For the last 11 years Wade has been volunteering with Surf Life Saving Queensland, and for the past 9 years Wade has been a patrol captain with Point Lookout Surf Club (located on North Stradbroke Island), while also undertaking Wave Runner (Jet Ski) patrols on North Stradbroke Island. He has been the Area Captain responsible for managing the Wave Runner (Jet Ski) patrols on North Stradbroke Island for the last 4 years and recently was appointed as a Rescue Water Craft (Jet Ski) Trainer.

Wade has been employed in various emergency management roles for nearly 15 years, initially working in both state and local government, where he was closely involved in working with the SES. For the last 7 years Wade has had various emergency management roles within the private sector, where he spent some time working in transport industry before moving into a consultant role in 2011. 4 years ago, Wade established an emergency management consulting firm, RED Consultant, where he has had the opportunity to work with a number of organisations in the areas of crisis, emergency response and disaster management. Wade has a Masters in Emergency Management, a Bachelor of Education, and until recently was the secretary for the Oceania Region of the International Association of Emergency Managers. Wade is a peer reviewer for the Australian Journal of Emergency Management (AJEM) and has been a guest presenter at the Queensland University of Technology, where he was appointed as a Visiting Fellow (Disaster Management Program) in 2016.


Cr Sam Aziz

Mayor Emeritus

City of Casey

In 1998, Cr Aziz completed a Masters degree in Defence and Strategic Studies at the Australian Defence Force Academy, conducting research into a number of critical and diverse areas that are pertinent to national and global security. These included issues such as the counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the interplay between political and military power and its effects on democratic systems; an explorative analysis of the role of intelligence agencies during the Cold War; an examination of the geo-political strategic balance in Northeast Asia; and a study on China’s emergence as a superpower and its effects on international stability.Cr Aziz was then promoted in December 1998 to a Manager position at the Attorney General’s Department. He was appointed to a key national security agency and the leading Commonwealth organization responsible for administering the National Anti-Terrorist Plan (NATP). He worked closely with a number of other key security agencies, including the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO). In that role, Cr Aziz was responsible for managing aspects of the NATP relating to foreign dignitary protection, aviation security and general inter-agency coordination. He was also responsible for managing the secretariats of various Commonwealth inter-departmental national security committees.

With a view to returning to his favorite city Melbourne, Cr Aziz seized the opportunity and accepted an appointment with Australian Customs and Border Protection in July 1999. Cr Aziz worked as a Director with Customs in Victoria, and has served in a number of roles including as Director Intelligence and Director Investigations. His last role had national policy responsibility as well as an operational focus on the protection of the Australian border.

After 17 years of continuous service at senior levels, he retired from the Commonwealth Government in December 2013 to pursue a number of private business interests.

Throughout his service at the federal level, Cr Aziz also served in a number of state and local government positions.
In August 2000, Cr Aziz was appointed as a Commissioner for Multicultural Affairs by the Victorian Government, and served in that role for five years from 2000 to 2005.

In September 2005, Cr Aziz was appointed by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services as a Director on the board of the Victorian Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Organization.

He was elected Mayor of the City of Casey in 2011-2012, 2015-2016, and again in 2016-2017.


Dr Pernille H. Christensen

Senior Lecturer / Course Director

School of the Built Environment, University of Technology Sydney

Dr. Pernille H. Christensen is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in the School of Built Environment and is an active member of multiple industry advisory committees focusing on sustainable development and resilient cities. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, her research focuses on decision-making related to sustainability and resilience in property and planning. Recent research investigates strategies for improving community resilience to social and environmental disruptions.

Among her current research projects she is investigating the impacts of flooding and heat island effect on the built environment to develop more robust adaptation and mitigation decision-making strategies to enhance resilience of urban communities. Other collaborative research projects include investigating the role of the built environment in protecting people in crowded places and developing best practice protective security solutions, the development of robust quantitative instruments to inform a new green building scoring instrument and the development of alternative solutions to the affordable housing challenges facing global cities.


Wayne Preedy ESM

Team Manager Emergency Management

Townsville City Council

Wayne joined the Australian Regular Army in February 1984; he served in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps in numerous units, roles and positions, including instructional postings to the Recruit Training School, secondment to Australian Defence Force Academy, & School of Armour. His final years were spent in the operational CT planning arena post September 11. He took discharge in Jul 2005 after 21 years’ service, which included two operational overseas deployments.

On discharge Wayne commenced work in the emergency services sector of the QLD state public service. He has been deployed overseas, inter & intra state in his various roles and positions during his 12 year career with them.
He took up his current role with Townsville City Council as the Team Manager Emergency Management & Townsville Local Disaster Coordinator two days before TC Debbie formed in the Coral Sea.

He is a current member of EMA’s Emergency Management Assistance Team and has deployed to Victorian twice and Tasmania once in that role. He is also a member of the RedR international deployment team.
Wayne holds a Grad cert in Disaster Management from James Cook University and is an advisory board member of James Cook University’s Cyclone Testing Station

Wayne was awarded the National Emergency Medal by PM Julie Gillard at the inaugural ceremony of that award in 2012. He was awarded the Emergency Services Medal, in the 2014 Australia Day Honours for his work leading Northern Region through the most significant disaster period in recent history 2010-2012, and his efforts in disaster management training development.


Ludovic Grosjean

Principal Consultant

OceanX Group

Ludovic has more than 12 years of environmental expertise of a large pipeline of worldwide projects. Passionate about technologies, he designs innovative and technological solutions to protect the environment.

Ludovic specialized in unmanned systems intervention for environmental and water-related projects. He brings cutting-edge expertise on the issues of shipping, telecommunications, defense, fishing and the oil and gas industries working in pair with industry leaders, universities, government agencies and Victorian start-ups.

With a large portfolio of Ocean Projects (including ROVs, AUVs, USVs, Gliders, Drones, underwater instrumentation & sensors), Ludovic brings Consulting expertise through OceanX Group for IoT, AI and VR technologies applied to Unmanned Platforms.

With the rise of innovative solutions to assess environmental impacts occurring in Australia ranging from fires, floods, cyclones, landslides, earthquakes, Ludovic wishes to present the technical tools possible to intervene to quickly inspect property damage after a major weather event.


Peter Monaghan

Executive Director

Centacare North Queensland

Peter Monaghan has held the position of Executive Director Centacare North Queensland (Chief Executive) since October 2014.Centacare North Queensland is a non-government organisation delivering a diverse range of services across the north and north-western Queensland. With offices, outreach areas and staff extending from Longreach up to Mornington Island, Bowen to Ingham, and all places in between, Peter leads an agency that has truly rural, remote, and regional Queensland footprint across more than 30% of Queensland.

Peter understands that our communities are increasingly complex, and so are the challenges they face. Over the last decade, northern Queensland communities have experienced a range of natural disasters – human, environmental, economic. During his time as chief executive, he has seen this area experience drought, floods, cyclones, critical incidents and community disasters. Centacare North Queensland, as a regional community agency, has been ‘left’ stage ready to engage in recovery and resilience activities usually for many years after the event.

Growing up in Cairns, Queensland, as well as an early career that saw him work across the entire far north Queensland region, Peter is accustomed to cyclone seasons, critical incidents and community tragedies that at time paralyse communities but can also be opportunities to embed community resilience factors for those that continue to carry the baton once the ‘bells and whistles’ leave town.

Prior to joining Centacare NQ, Peter gained extensive experience at senior levels within the community sector and the Queensland public sector in housing, disability and social services. Some of this work led to involvement with recovery efforts around Cyclone’s Larry, Marcia, and Yasi, and the 2010/11 Brisbane floods.


Scott Milne

President - Oceania / Global Professional Standards Director

International Association of Emergency Managers


Scott is the Global Professional Standards Director and President Oceania of the International Association of Emergency Managers, and National Vice President of the Australian Institute of Emergency Services. Scott’s career in Emergency Management includes the Commonwealth as the Response Manager – Emergency Management, with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) having maritime & aviation search and rescue responsibility for 53m square kilometres of land and sea. He was a Director at Emergency Management Australia. In the Australian Capital Territory after the 2003 fires he was Executive Officer Emergency Management, Manager Joint Plans and Operations, and ACT Executive Officer Emergency Management Policy.

Scott’s public service career spans over 30 years in: Emergency Management, operations, disaster recovery, counter terrorism CIP, and multi-agency capability development. As a Social Worker Scott has worked in disaster recovery, health, hospitals and community. A Fellow of the Emergency Management Academy and AIES, a graduate of ANU, CSU, the Emergency Management Australia Institute, and EM Academy. An SES volunteer for 30 years and Life Member of ACT SES. Scott served in a variety of command positions including HQ Commander ACT SES & RFS for ten years and senior roles in a range of emergencies including search for missing aircraft MH370, SIEV 221, Montara Oil Spill, various bushfires including ACT ’03, MIR Space Station re-entry, Y2K National Operations Centre, Olympic Volunteers in Policing, Thredbo Landslide, and numerous floods. Scott is a multi-award winner, including the Emergency Service Medal (ESM)


Josh Keegan

CEO & Director

World Drone Challenge

Josh has avidly followed the developments within the drone industry since the first military drones were introduced. This passion led him in 2015, to present at both the Asia Pacific Cities Summit, in Brisbane and the Audacious Ideas Festival in Toowoomba on “How to survive the upcoming drone invasion.”

It was after the second presentation that both Josh and David Masefield (co-founder) found they shared a mutual passion for drones and identified gaps in the industry.  From this conversation they have since founded the World Drone Challenge.  The underlying theme of the event is for teams to deliver some form of humanitarian relief to what would be isolated remote or regional communities in a post-natural disaster scenario, taken directly from Josh’s experiences during the 2011 Floods impacting Toowoomba, Brisbane and the greater Lockyer Valley.

Since creating the World Drone Challenge, Josh has been invited to present webinars to wide range of audiences (and mediums) including the beef and cattle industry, maths and science students at Flinders University and has recently been invited to present to the Australian Intelligent Transport Systems Summit.  He has also written and contributed to a number of articles and has been interviewed on a number of occasions regarding his insights into the impact of drones on multiple industries.


Sven Nilsson

Disaster Manager

NSW Health; Sydney Local Health District


Stewart Kreltszheim

Operations Manager / Officer in Charge

CFA District 23 / Hume Region - Fire and Emergency Management

Stewart is a father of 4 from Wangaratta in Victoria’s north east who has had the privilege to lead in variety of environments – on the sporting field, on the fireground, in remote areas of Papua New Guinea and in the corporate / public service sectors.

Stewart has been the Operations Manager of CFA District 23 based out of Wangaratta since 2007. He played a key role in the 2002/03, 2006/07 North East Campaign fires & “Black Saturday 2009″. He has worked across a range of positions in CFA which have lead him to undertake some key roles in Victoria and Australia’s biggest emergency events, the most notable of which was the incident controller at The Kilmore Incident Control Center on Black Saturday
– the day 173 Australians lost their lives.

Stewart’s main priority is to develop resilient leaders in CFA District 23 and Australian communities and he does this in a variety of ways, they main one of which is to take them on a grueling 8 day trek across one of the toughest and most iconic wartime routes – The Kokoda Track and share his life experiences.  He is a trained member of Australia’s AUSMAT (Australian Medical Assistance Team) who maintains his skills by leading medical teams into the most remote areas of Papua New Guinea, taking life saving health services to where it is most needed.

The main focus of Stewart’s presentation is to take you on a very personal journey through the lead up, days of and post event scrutiny of the 7th of February 2009 – ‘Black Saturday” and talk about the challenges he faced as an individual and how he has overcome these to be a stronger, more focused and resilient person and as a flow on ..a better incident controller and manager of major disasters and emergencies.


Brent Phillips

Director of Language, Partnership and Innovation

Vicdeaf, Victoria State Government

Brent is currently Director – Language, Partnerships & Innovation at Vicdeaf, leading Vicdeaf’s community engagement and partnerships strategy, as well as Victoria’s largest and most experienced Auslan interpreting agency – Auslan Connections.  Brent is also responsible for driving Vicdeaf’s suite of learning and training services.  Brent’s previous roles include Contract Manager at the then Department of Planning and Community Development, Disability Outreach Officer at the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and Manager at Deaf Victoria. He is a former President of Deaf Sports Australia, a voluntary position he held for eight years.  Brent is currently Co-Chair of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Disability Reference Group.
Brent has led two key emergency management projects, including the Victorian Government funded Deaf Emergency Information Project, and the Federal Government National Emergency Management Project funded National Auslan Communications for Emergencies project.  Brent was also instrumental in establishing a world-first Emergency Media Interpreting Team, specifically trained to interpret emergency and media situations.
Brent is a third-generation Deaf person in his family, married to a Deaf person and is the proud father of two young children.  He has BA (Criminology) and MBA degrees and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.