NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning
Since entering parliament in 2011, Sarah has served on numerous committees and as Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health and Western NSW. In 2017, Sarah was appointed Minister for Early Childhood Education, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Assistant Minister for Education. In 2019, Sarah was appointed as Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning.
Prior to entering Parliament Sarah worked for former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson in Gunnedah and for the Federal Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton, in Moree.
Sarah is a graduate of Gunnedah High School and is passionate about education, particularly in regional and remote parts of NSW. As Minister, she is committed to ensuring every child – no matter where they are from – has access to a top-quality education. She is an active supporter of local community organisations and has been involved with a number of local charities including the Gunnedah Family and Children’s Services and Gunnedah Paediatric and Maternity Support (PRAMS).
She has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics, international relations and sociology from the University of New South Wales.
Professor (Climate and Business), University of Technology Sydney
Former Foreign Minister Bob Carr is also the longest continuously serving Premier in New South Wales history. He served as Minister for Planning and Environment 1984 to 1988 and as Leader of the Opposition from 1988 until his election as Premier in March 1995. He was re-elected in 1999 and 2003 securing an historic third four-year term, and retired from state politics in 2005.
During his 10 years, the State Government set new records for spending on infrastructure, became the first government in the State’s history to retire debt, hosted the world’s best Olympics in 2000 and achieved the nation’s best school literacy levels. Forbes magazine called Bob Carr a “dragon slayer” for his landmark tort law reforms.
As Premier he received the World Conservation Union International Parks Merit Award for creating 350 new national parks. He introduced the world’s first carbon trading scheme and curbed the clearing of native vegetation, both anti-greenhouse measures. He was a member of the International Task Force on Climate Change convened by Tony Blair, and was made a life member of the Wilderness Society in 2003.
Bob Carr has received the Fulbright Distinguished Fellow Award Scholarship. He has served as Honorary Scholar of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue. He is the author of Thoughtlines (2002), What Australia Means to Me (2003), My Reading Life (2008) Diary of a Foreign Minister (2014) and Run for Your Life (2018).
In March 2012 he was designated by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as Australia’s Foreign Minister, elected to the Australian Senate to fill a casual Senate vacancy and sworn in to the Senate and Cabinet on March 13, 2012.
As Foreign Minister, Bob Carr fostered stronger relations between Australia and Southeast Asia, lifted sanctions on Myanmar, campaigned for the passage of a global Arms Trade Treaty and led the final stages of Australia’s successful bid for Australia’s seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. His plan for a Syrian medical pact was backed at the G20. He assisted Prime Minister Gillard in achieving a strategic partnership with China.
Following his resignation from the Senate on October 24, 2013, the University of Technology, Sydney appointed him to lead the Australia-China Relations Institute – a think tank dedicated to Australia-China relations.
Bob Carr is a Director of The Lysicrates Foundation and a Committee Member of the UNSW Matraville Education Program Advisory Council.
Chief Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission
Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO is an urbanist, businesswoman and philanthropist with a longstanding interest in cities, and technological and social innovation. She chaired the Committee for Sydney from 2012 to 2015.
In 2015 she was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission, tasked by the NSW state government to assist in delivering strong and effective strategic planning for the whole of metropolitan Sydney.
Mrs Turnbull was the first female Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney from 2003-4 and in 2011 she became an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the community, local government and business.
In 2012 Mrs Turnbull was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Business by the University of
NSW, and in 2016 was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Built Environment, University of NSW. In 2017 Mrs Turnbull was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Western Sydney University which she received for her substantial and sustained service and contribution to the University and the Greater Western Sydney region.
Leader, Mathematics Growth, School Operations and Performance, NSW Department of Education
Eddie Woo is Leader of Mathematics Growth at the NSW Department of Education and he teaches at Cherrybrook Technology High School, the largest secondary school in NSW. He is known for his innovation and personal approach in the classroom, which in 2012 led him to start posting videos online for a student who was sick with cancer and missing a lot of school. Before long, his videos found an audience across the country and beyond. Wootube now boasts more than 500,000 subscribers and has attracted more than twenty nine million views worldwide – and counting.
Eddie’s unique and caring approach to teaching is breaking the misconception that mathematics is an inaccessible and difficult subject. Eddie is well known across Australia as an advocate for teachers and the importance of teaching. He has written for, and been featured in, the specialist teaching press as well as in national and international media. His first book, Woo's Wonderful World of Maths, has just been published worldwide by Pan Macmillan. In December 2018 Eddie returned to his alma mater to take up a post as Education Ambassador for the University of Sydney.
Commissioner, NSW Productivity Commission
Peter Achterstraat AM was appointed the inaugural NSW Productivity Commissioner in May 2018.was appointed the Auditor-General of NSW on 25 September 2006, and ended his term of office on 24 September 2013. Prior to this, he was the Chief Commissioner State Revenue for New South Wales from July 1999.
Prior to that role, Peter was the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation with the Australian Taxation Office from 1987.
He holds an honours degree in Economics as well as degrees in Law and Commerce from the ANU. Peter was admitted to the Bar of the NSW Supreme Court in 1983 and a Barrister in the High Court of Australia in 1985. He has University Prizes in Company Finance and in Accounting. In 2006 Peter was admitted into the ANU College of Business and Economics Hall of Fame.
Peter is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney’s Graduate School of Government and was a Principal (Infrastructure Advisor) at WorleyParsons from 2013-2016. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 for his Financial Management and Governance roles.
Peter was appointed by all State and Territories and the Commonwealth as the Administrator of the National health Funding Pool from 2016 – 2018.
Peter is currently the Chairman of Bankstown Airport Ltd.
Peter is currently the President of the NSW Division of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Mayor, City of Canterbury Bankstown
I have lived in Bankstown my entire life and, along with my wife Sally, continue to reside in the local area, raising our three children, Elias, Analise and Lucas.
I was first elected as Councillor of the former Bankstown City Council in 2004 and held the role of Deputy Mayor from 2008-11. I also served as Mayor from 2011-2014 and again in 2015.
In 2017, I was elected as the inaugural Mayor of the City of Canterbury Bankstown; elected to the Board of Local Government NSW (LGNSW); and appointed Junior Vice President of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC).
One of my passions and priorities is assisting residents in need and ensuring the local community has the opportunity to have a say on the future of Canterbury-Bankstown. I am also strongly committed to Council's Mission 'to provide quality services to our community every day'.
As Mayor, I am dedicated to building stronger ties between Council and the community; sporting groups and associations; service clubs; registered clubs; and businesses across the City. I intend to continue to lead the advocacy on important matters, such as sustainable development and infrastructure support, to make our City an even better place to live, work in and enjoy.
Director Community Services, City of Canterbury Bankstown
Graeme is responsible for managing the delivery of major services to the community including Waste, Libraries, Community Services, Children Services, Leisure and Recreation, and Customer Service.
Head of Thought Leadership and Insights, Corporate and Institutional Bank, National Australia Bank
Leanne has more than 25 years in the banking and finance sector, having held a variety of roles within debt capital markets, securitisation, infrastructure and real estate finance in both major domestic and boutique investment banks.
Leanne’s current role is focussed on building customer strength, success and resilience through insight into some of the big trends and issues on the horizon. A key focus is ESG, sustainability and the creation of shared value.
Australian Actor and Bankstown Boy
Iconic Australian actor Bryan Brown became an international success in the early eighties with the critical acclaim from performances in “Breaker Morant” and the TV series “A Town Like Alice”. A stream of well-known Australian hits and Hollywood productions followed: ‘The Thorn Birds’, ‘Gorillas in the Mist’, ‘FX’, ‘Newsfront’, ‘The Shiralee’, ‘Cocktail’ ‘Blood Oath’ ‘Risk’ and ‘Two Hands’ in 1999, for which he won his second Australian Film Institute Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1999 he starred with his wife Rachel Ward in the Golden Globe nominated telemovie “On The Beach”, which won an Australian Film Institute Award. In 2004 he starred, alongside Candice Bergen in ‘Footsteps’ for CBS. 2004 also saw the release of the Box Office smash ‘Along Came Polly’ for Universal in which Bryan played a major supporting role. In 2007 he played a pivotal role alongside Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in Baz Luhrman’s visual masterpiece “Australia”, and starred with Peter O’Toole, Sam Neill and Jeremy Northern in ‘My Talks with Dean Spanley’.
Bryan’s passion for storytelling behind the camera emerged in the formation of New Town films, a production company for film and television. New Town Projects include “Dead Heart”, an Aboriginal-themed film and powerful contemporary drama while his 12 part series “Twisted Tales”, featuring some of Australia’s most prolific actors and exciting new directors, has screened in over 100 countries.
In 2002 Bryan produced and starred in “Dirty Deeds” opposite Toni Collette and directed by David Caesar which was released through Hoyts Australia. In the 2007 year Bryan co-produced with Leah Churchill Brown the Australian film, “Beautiful Kate” written and directed by Rachel Ward. The film had local box office success and received a total of ten AFI nominations, winning for Best Supporting Actress.
His latest film credits include ‘Kill Me Three Times’ with Simon Pegg and Sullivan Stapleton, directed by Kriv Stender; Alex Proyas’ studio epic “Gods of Egypt”; “The Light Between Oceans”; “Red Dog: True Blue” and the soon to be released “Australia Day” and “Sweet Country” directed by the Cannes Award winning director Warwick Thornton. In a 40 year career Bryan has appeared over 80 films and filmed in some 25 countries.
Deputy Secretary School Operations and Performance, School Infrastructure NSW
Murat Dizdar PSM, Deputy Secretary, School Operations and Performance, leads the public education system of over 2,200 NSW Department of Education schools that oversees the provision of a quality public education for over 800,000 students.
Murat leads the School Operations and Performance division that provides support to 80,000 teachers and school leaders to deliver a high-quality education for students. The School Operations and Performance division consists of teams that are responsible for school planning, ongoing self-assessment and external validation, annual reporting and policy implementation.
Murat’s career with the NSW Department of Education began as a social sciences teacher at Ashcroft High School. He has experience in a range of school leadership roles including being senior principal of Belmore and Punchbowl Boys High School.
Murat holds a Bachelor of Education (Secondary Humanities) majoring in Economics and Geography from the University of Sydney, and recently undertook the Leadership for the 21st Century course at Harvard Kennedy School.
Murat was awarded the Australia Day Public Service Medal in 2016
Greg is a Partner in EY’s Infrastructure Advisory practice with a focus on the Government sector. His early career was spent in the rail sector agencies of the NSW Government. He then moved into the advisory space where for the past 18 years he has advised Government and private sector clients in Australia and the UK on economic development, infrastructure transactions, procurement and financing.
Greg is currently supporting several NSW Government agencies in the preparation of long term infrastructure strategies and is also advising the State and Commonwealth on the development of Sydney Metro Greater West.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Western Sydney University
Professor Barney Glover AO assumed his position at Western Sydney University in January 2014. Professor Glover is currently the President of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Trust and the Australian Government representative on the University of the South Pacific Grants Committee. He is also a Board Member of the Australian American Fulbright Commission, and the Committee for Sydney, and, Member of the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council and the NSW Arts and Culture Advisory Committee. Professor Glover is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW (FRSN), and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD).
Professor Glover’s esteemed career includes significant expertise and experience at the most senior levels of university management and substantial business leadership credentials. He has also served on the boards of a range of corporate organisations and several state and national centres covering areas such as health and medical research, energy, mineral exploration, and telecommunications.
Director Kimberwalli, Aboriginal Affairs NSW
I am a proud Aboriginal woman from Ngiyampaa (Ngemba) and Gamilaroi country in Brewarrina in Northern NSW.
My mother is Joyce Fazldeen, who has worked for many years in Aboriginal education in schools and TAFE NSW. My father is Stephen Gordon, who worked tirelessly in Aboriginal affairs and is the longest serving ATSIC Commissioner (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission). For my commitment, strength and resilience in everything I do - I thank them
We moved to Wonarua country in Maitland when I was about 14yrs old to explore greater opportunities in education and employment.
I have over 30 years of experience working in education and alongside Aboriginal communities, completing Bachelor of Education (Physical Education/Health/Personal Development) at University of Newcastle in 1990. I have worked in a range of environments including as a Director in TAFE NSW, CEO Barang Regional Alliance and teaching in high school, Juvenile Justice and Correctional Centres.
In my current role as a Director with Aboriginal Affairs, I lead the development of Kimberwalli, which has a focus on the aspirations of Aboriginal young people in Western Sydney. I also lead the progression of the Aboriginal Languages Act 2017, through the establishment of an Aboriginal Languages Trust and strategic plan to invest in activities intended to reawaken, grow, nurture, promote or raise awareness of Aboriginal Languages.
I am a strong, determined Aboriginal woman committed to growing and empowering Aboriginal communities. I hold my leadership responsibilities high and my responsibilities to our Aboriginal communities is principal to my focus.
Director City Growth, Campbelltown City Council
Rebecca Grasso is the recently appointed Director City Growth for Campbelltown City Council, with responsibility for growing its economy, sustainability, resilience and cultural identity.
Rebecca is committed to promoting the aspirations of Western Sydney; she champions the role that culture plays in city building and promotes culture as a driving contributor to prosperity and as the agent for showcasing and celebrating our diverse experiences and stories.
In her previous role as Director of City Identity, Experience and Engagement at the City of Parramatta, Rebecca was responsible for the development of Culture and Our City – a cultural plan for Parramatta’s CBD – an ambitious plan with three key sources of inspiration: people, culture and new opportunities.
And over the past 15 years, Rebecca has led the growth of Parramatta’s major events program, supported the expansion of the Parramatta Artists’ Studios, the planning for the redevelopment of Riverside Theatres and campaigned for cultural infrastructure and program funding for Western Sydney.
As an avid fan of live music, Rebecca is passionate in her support of emerging Australian musicians, and has had plenty of practice backing up from late night gigs to early morning meetings.
Rebecca’s ambition is to see the talents of Western Sydney in all its forms lauded on the world stage.
Storyteller-in-Chief, Story Factory
Bilal runs creative writing workshops all across NSW. He works with schools and community groups full-time, at the Story Factory, as the Storyteller-in-Chief for Parramatta, facilitating and designing workshops to assist young writers.
He’s also a spoken-word artist, and has performed at TEDx in Sydney, and featured at a number of poetry slams.
Chief Executive, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (Powerhouse Museum)
Lisa Havilah commenced as Chief Executive of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) in January 2019. From 2012 to 2019, Lisa was the Director of Carriageworks. Under her leadership Carriageworks experienced extraordinary audience, artistic and commercial growth, becoming the fastest growing cultural precinct in Australia.
From 2005 to 2011, Lisa was the Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre, pioneering an internationally renowned contemporary arts program that brought together culturally and socially diverse communities, and from 1998 to 2004 was Assistant Director of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.
Chief Executive Officer, Urban Taskforce
Chris Johnson is the CEO of Urban Taskforce Australia, an organisation that represents the property industry. In this role Chris has produced research papers on the planning system in NSW and publications on the future of our cities. He was Executive Director in the NSW Department of Planning where he developed the Housing Code, plans for regional cities and urban renewal generally. Before this he was NSW Government Architect for 10 years, a member of the Central Sydney Planning Committee, the Heritage Council of NSW and many government committees.
Chris has written or edited over a dozen books on urban planning, architecture and cities. He has been adjunct professor at 3 Sydney universities and has a Bachelor of Architecture degree and three Master degrees, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012.Chris is a regular presenter at conferences and writes many articles on urban planning.
Executive Manager of Sport and Community Development, Bankstown Sports
Marie is the Executive Manager, Sport and Community Development for Bankstown Sports Group, a role that’s developed since she joined the club in 2013 as its first Sports Administrator.
In her role, Marie leads a small team responsible for the facilitation of support and funding to over 40 grassroots sporting clubs and numerous local community organisations.
Marie is also a board member of Bankstown Youth Development Service (BYDS), an organisation responsible for fostering local arts on issues effecting young people. BYDS has produced programs such as the far-flung Bankstown Poetry Slam and RESPECT, which educates 11-year-old boys about the nature and causes of domestic violence though music workshops.
Marie has a Bachelor degree in Sports Administration from the University of Canberra. Her sport experience has been grassroots focused, working with the NSW Combined High Schools and Primary Schools Sports Associations, the University of New South Wales Sports Association and volunteering as a basketball administrator and coach.
Marie’s corporate experience extends primarily across advertising agencies McCann Erickson and George Patterson Y&R, overseeing clients such as Westpac, Jones Lang LaSalle, NRMA, MBF, and federal and local government.
A Bankstown local, Marie is passionate about giving back to the community she grew up in.
Co-founder and Executive Director, Story Factory
Dr Catherine Keenan is co-founder and executive director of the Story Factory, a not-for-profit that runs creative writing and storytelling programs for marginalised young people across Sydney and Western Sydney.
Before that, she worked for a decade at the Sydney Morning Herald as an arts journalist and literary editor. She is also the 2016 Australian of the Year Local Hero.
Director, Economics, Regulation & Policy, Ernst & Young
Janice is a Director with the Economics, Regulation and Policy team of EY and brings more than 15 years’ experience of working on economic and social policy, government strategy development, and transport and infrastructure policy for Federal, State and Local Governments.
Janice has worked extensively on the development of infrastructure and land use strategies and policies for the Australian and New South Wales Governments. These strategies traverse transport and social infrastructure, land use, energy and water infrastructure. In addition, she has led innovative policy studies on heavy vehicle pricing, state infrastructure contributions and played a key role in shaping the state government’s approach to mobility technology on the transport network. She is currently a lead player within EY on the development of Western Sydney and Smart Cities.
Prior to working at EY, Janice worked for the Federal and State (NSW) Governments in Australia, providing policy and fiscal policy advice in the Federal Treasury and Infrastructure portfolios, and working for the NSW Premier’s policy agency, The NSW Cabinet Office.
Chief Executive, Western Sydney Local Health District
Over the last 12 years Graeme has held a number of executive roles, including Chief Executive for North Sydney Local Health District. His knowledge of both clinical and corporate services includes a strong focus on system performance through healthy relationships.
Graeme has accumulated significant experience in all aspects of leadership in both the public and private sectors. He takes great pride being able to deliver highly complex clinical services through high performing teams.
His breadth of knowledge spans facility, district and statewide environments and enables him to couple strategic direction with the broader improvement and research goals, including ensuring optimal provision of safe, high quality and timely clinical services in-line with the needs of the community and the health system.
With patients as his principle focus Graeme strives to support NSW Health to deliver high quality care and brings a simple motto to each discussion – “What if it was your mum?”
Co- Founder and Director, Bankstown Poetry Slam
Sara Mansour is the co-founder and director of Bankstown Poetry Slam. As a practising lawyer and also a performing poet, she uses her practise and her art to shed light on issues of political and social importance. Sara has been recognised for her achievements, winning the Young Citizen of the year in the Canterbury- Bankstown region and also Outstanding Youth Leader at the ZEST Awards in 2017.
In 2018, she was selected to be a mentor for the Sydney Writers Festival Youth Curators program, and also delivered a TEDx Talk in Parramatta on the inception of the Bankstown Poetry Slam. In that same year, she was selected to partake in the Youtube Creators for Change project, alongside other members of the Bankstown Poetry Slam group.
In 2019, she was selected as a writer for the upcoming ABC iView show Halal Gurls, and was nominated for the Young Woman of the West Award.
Chief Operating Officer, School Infrastructure NSW
Erik Maranik is the Chief Operating Officer at School Infrastructure NSW (SINSW), a division of the Department of Education. SINSW was set up in 2017 to drive the asset management, planning and delivery of school infrastructure across NSW.
The NSW Government is investing $6 billion over the next four years to deliver more than 170 new and upgraded schools to support communities across NSW. A record $1.3 billion is being spent on school maintenance over four years, along with $500 million for the sustainable Cooler Classrooms program to provide air conditioning to schools. This is the largest investment in public education infrastructure in the history of NSW.
Erik also represents SINSW on a number of inter-agency committees, contributing to the body of knowledge in infrastructure delivery for the benefit of the NSW community. He has worked in both the private and public sectors in urban and regional NSW. Prior to SINSW, he worked for the state’s Health Infrastructure division in both corporate and project roles, and notably was the Senior Project Director for the Liverpool Hospital and the Campbelltown Hospital redevelopment projects.
With both science and engineering degrees, Erik has a particular interest in applying sound engineering principles and rigorous sustainability practices to deliver significant infrastructure projects.
Erik is from western Sydney. He grew up in Leppington and went to primary and high schools in the area. He has a particular interest in the successful development of this part of the Sydney region.
Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Strategy & Projects, Western Sydney University
As Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Andy drives Western Sydney University’s collaborations with government, industry and the community. He is a co-founder of the ‘LaunchPad’ startup incubator, Western Sydney’s only startup network with sites in Werrington, Liverpool and Parramatta. He is on the Advisory Board of the ‘Team Lancer’ Indian-Australian tech startup.
Andy writes regular columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph on politics, social issues, and Western Sydney. Recently he was the expert commentator on ABC TV’s Q&A Extra, ‘Big Australia’ livestream which attracted record high viewing figures. He is a regular speaker, panelist and MC at major forums and events.
In February 2018 Andy founded the CatalystWest event, an interactive forum which saw 350 government, industry and community leaders gather at Parramatta to address decadal challenges in the West. He is a board member of Western Sydney Community Forum and former board member of the University of New England
Prior to his current role, Andy was a researcher in the social services sector and professional musician signed to Warner and Festival Records as a member of the ARIA nominated band Crow and independent acts, Lunarcide and the Vanilla Chainsaws.
Executive Director, Sydney Coliseum, West HQ
Craig McMaster is Executive Director of Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ , $100M privately funded cultural facility current being developed in Greater Western Sydney. Featuring a 2000 seat proscenium arch theatre with additional boutique rehearsal/performance space, the spectacular multi-mode venue is capable of presenting the best Australian and international arts and commercial performances and is destined to become Sydney’s next great theatre. Above and beyond its landmark architectural and production friendly, back-of-house design, the venue includes a world-class technology overlay featuring state of the art LED lighting, surround sound, hi-density WiFi and LED and visual display systems.
As Executive Director, Craig is charged with leading the project’s design, construction and pre-opening and full operational responsibility for the venue’s launch, content programming and marketing. In addition, Craig is leading the concept development of the venue’s industry-leading community engagement and outreach ‘Pathways’ program, which is has as its mission to support the development of artistic and creative opportunities for the amazingly talented young people of Western Sydney through corporate and industry partnerships.
Craig has an extensive background in entertainment and venues, marketing and technology with over 30 years industry experience in theatre, cinema, events and venue management and marketing.
Prior to joining Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ, Craig held the role of Chief Marketing and Information Officer (CMIO) for Australia’s leading Stadium Operator, VenuesLive Management Services. VenuesLive is the official operator of Sydney’s ANZ Stadium and the record-breaking $1.6Bn Optus Stadium in Perth. As CMIO Craig lead the group’s marketing, digital and technological direction. This included the development, design and implementation of the company's long-range strategic plans for brand activation, and customer, client and fan experience at all VenuesLive venues. Craig also led management of the marketing and brands for VenuesLive, ANZ Stadium and Optus Stadium, and the strategy development and customer experience design for both stadia and all VenuesLive satellite venue and catering operations.
Previously, Craig was CEO of the Showbiz Group, a leading premium ticketing, travel and VIP packaging partner to major venues, producers and promoters in Australasia. He also held senior roles with Australia’s leading primary ticketing provider, Ticketek Pty Ltd. As COO and then CEO, Craig lead Ticketek through an aggressive growth phase and was responsible for securing and delivering the ticketing services contract for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Craig was also the driver behind the strategy and execution of the business’ digital future with the launch of Ticketek.com – Australia’s first fully transactional ticketing site.
Early in his career, Craig held senior executive and general management positions with leading entertainment and hospitality organisations including Village Nine Leisure, Hoyts Corporation, Pepsico International and McDonald’s Corporation.
Craig is an active member of the Venue Management Association (VMA), and has served as a member of the Executive Council of Live Performance Australia (LPA) and as Special Adviser, Major Events and Tourism to the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Australia’s peak industry lobby group for the tourism and events industry.
Principal, School Leadership, Leadership and High Performance, Department of Education
Dr Linda O’Brien AM HFTGN is a Principal, School Leadership at the NSW Department of Education. As a member of the senior leadership team of the department she develops the instructional leadership capacity of peer principals through collaborative practice and professional learning. She served as the Principal of Granville Boys High School, a comprehensive boys’ school in the socially and linguistically diverse community of Granville/Auburn and Guilford, from 2008 to 2019.
She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Western Sydney University and a member of the Finance and Investment Committee of the University. As well she is a board member of the School for Life Foundation where she was the Chairperson from 2016-2018, Deputy Chairperson of the Sydney Peace Foundation, Founder and Chairperson of the Molly McDonnell Foundation (2005-2009), and the Founder and Chairperson of the Bali International School. Dr O’Brien is an alumnus of Western Sydney University, having completed a Doctor of Education in 2017. She also holds a Master of Arts from Sydney University (1993) and a Bachelor of Arts from Macquarie University (1981). Dr O’Brien was granted a Member of the Order of Australia in 2013 for innovation in secondary education and services to the community. She was winner of an Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence award in 2014 in the Local Regional category and an advocate of collaborative curriculum building in which student voice and consultation plays a major part in setting. In 2018 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Teachers Guild of NSW.
Chief Delivery Officer | TAFE NSW
Kerry is the Regional General Manager for TAFE NSW’s South Region and is based in Wagga Wagga and has recently taken up the position of Chief Delivery Officer for TAFE NSW. Previously the Director of Riverina Institute, her experience with leading geographically disparate training organisations makes her an asset to TAFE NSW.
She brings more than 30 years of experience in vocational education and training and has held a range of community leadership positions, including being a committee member for Regional Development Australia and Cancer Council NSW. Kerry will be focused on achieving the One TAFE NSW vision and ensuring access to world-class education and training for communities in Southern NSW.
Community Adviser (The Academy), Western Sydney University
Andrew is a proud westie having lived his whole life in Sydney’s South West. He completed his schooling in Cabramatta before becoming the first in his family to attend higher education at Western Sydney University (WSU).
As the Community Adviser for The Academy, he provides support and mentoring for students with the aim of establishing an inclusive and wholesome student experience. Andrew strives to empower young people to take up opportunities and engage in active learning beyond the classroom – using his own journey as inspiration for what is possible.
As part of his Bachelor’s degree, Andrew established a diverse and comprehensive portfolio of experiences – both domestically and abroad. Actively engaged in extracurricular, Andrew has consulted for St. Vinnies (Western Sydney & Blue Mountains) and Community First Step (Fairfield) in addition to establishing and advising for student clubs. He also interned for the Export Council of Australia, Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue and WSU’s School of Business. In 2017, he was recognized for his leadership and contribution to the community through The Academy’s ‘Collegiate’ Award.
Globally, Andrew has completed 7 individual engagements which took the form of internships, conferences, study tours and exchanges in China, Vietnam, India and Thailand. He most recently returned from interning with Austrade (Ho Chi Minh City), working on the mapping of Vietnam’s innovation ecosystem.
He is currently the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s New Colombo Plan Alumni Ambassador, the Humanitarian Affairs Asia’s UN Peace Ambassador and a sitting member on Deloitte Australia’s Shaping Future Cities steerco.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal, The University of Sydney
Established in 1850 as Australia’s first university, today the University of Sydney is one of the world’s leading, comprehensive research and teaching institutions, ranked in the top 50 universities in the world.
Dr Michael Spence has led the University of Sydney as Vice-Chancellor and Principal since 2008 and is the University’s 25th Vice-Chancellor. An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Dr Spence has a BA with first-class honours in English, Italian and law. His other languages include Chinese and Korean. Dr Spence holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford, and headed Oxford’s law faculty and its social sciences division.
Under his leadership, the University of Sydney has forged a distinctive and successful strategy focused on the transformation of the undergraduate education; strengthening our interdisciplinary research; improving the culture of the institution around core values; simplifying the organisational design; redevelopment of the campus; increasing investment in research and teaching infrastructure and ensuring financial sustainability.
Over the next 20 years the University wants to build an innovative, vibrant and comprehensive campus at Parramatta/Westmead that, by 2050, will have more than 25,000 students and 1000 staff.
In 2018 the NSW Government announced it would enter formal negotiations with the University to establish a Parramatta/Westmead Campus with the view to making it a global centre of excellence in integrated education, research and healthcare to advance the well-being of the people of Western Sydney.
The Parramatta/Westmead campus is both pivotal to the University’s long-term aspirations and a tremendously exciting opportunity to deliver high impact and engaged research and education in a rapidly growing part of the city.
Lead - Cities Consulting Group, WSP
David has qualifications in urban planning and public policy and until recently held senior executive positions with the Department of Premier & Cabinet, UrbanGrowth NSW and Jobs for NSW.
In these roles he was deeply involved in policy and projects that are transforming Sydney, including: Jobs for the Future; establishment of the Greater Sydney Commission; Westmead Health, Education and Innovation Project; Waterloo Estate Redevelopment; Sydney Start-Up Hub; Sydney Light Rail; and whole of Government policies for jobs creation, urban governance, housing supply, affordable housing and value capture.
Since joining WSP in 2018 to lead their Cities Advisory team he has worked on a variety of urban transformation projects, including Future Readiness for the Western Sydney Aertropolis, focusing on future transport, climate, place and technology.
Chief Executive Officer, Celestino
John joined Celestino in September 2013 as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer, having worked with the company for over ten years prior as a property advisor. During his time as property advisor, John procured the acquisition of the Celestino portfolio, which now includes over 20,000 residential lots plus a mix of industrial, retail, commercial and high density sites in New South Wales and Queensland.
John has over 25 years’ experience in the property industry having established a successful property law firm in Western Sydney in the early 90s. The firm grew within its first two years to handle over 1500 contracts per year, providing John with a good understanding of Western Sydney’s development potential as well as many of the key challenges in the region.
As CEO of Celestino, John has overseen the evolution of the Celestino development, marketing and sales team. John is focused on delivering the Celestino vision of ‘creating tomorrows’ success stories; on delivering commercial, industrial and residential development projects that will become success stories for our business; as well as families, communities and business partners across Australia.
John is also a Shaping Future Cities Champion responsible for promoting STEM education in Western Sydney.
Executive Director | Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
Greg Whitby is a teacher, advocate, administrator and leader. His mission to transform schooling for every child and young person is driven by a strong commitment to justice and equity.
As a Catholic Education leader in the Parramatta and Wollongong Dioceses in NSW, Greg has led significant cultural change with a focus on innovation, collaboration and investment in teachers’ learning. Prior to this, he was a teacher and school leader in government and Catholic schools. He has also lectured in the faculty of business at Western Sydney University.
Greg’s service to education has been recognised through the 2018 Australia Day Honours list with the award of the Australian Medal (AM) and the award of a Papal Knighthood in the Order of St Gregory the Great in 2013. He has received a presidential citation from the Australian Council of Educational Leaders and in 2017, he was awarded the Sir Harold Wyndham Medal for his contribution to the education of young people in NSW.
Greg has written extensively about education including as the author of Educating Gen Wi-Fi. His weekly column on education “Top of the Class” is syndicated across 22 NewsLocal papers in NSW. His contribution to the public debate has led to many media appearances including on Sunrise, The Project, The Drum, The Conversation Hour, Mornings with Wendy Harmer and Richard Glover’s Drive. Greg’s advocacy for change and innovation has also led to many international conference addresses, including the invitation to present to the Congregation for Catholic Education’s first World Congress in Vatican City in 2015.
Greg will continue to challenge accepted thinking about learning and teaching for the change education can bring for all of us.
Managing Director, Sydney Water
Kevin Young joined Sydney Water as Managing Director in 2011 after serving as Hunter Water’s Managing Director. During his time at Sydney Water, Kevin has led key reforms across the organisation, with a focus on customers.
Kevin has over 40 years’ experience working for the private sector and Government authorities within Australia and overseas. During this time During his time at Sydney Water, Kevin has led key reforms across the organisation, underpinned by a fresh strategy and vision.
Kevin has served as Chairman of the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA), whose members provide 17 million Australians with water and wastewater services. Kevin is also a Director of WaterAid Australia.
Kevin has a Civil Engineering degree with Honors from the University of Newcastle and a Master of Business Administration. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Kevin has been selected by Engineers Australia four times, as one of the top 100 most influential engineers in Australia.