KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Please note, keynote speaker details will be added as they become available.

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A pastoralist’s daughter with over twelve years experience in work health and safety, Alex is South Australia’s 2018 AgriFutures Rural Woman of the Year, the winner of the 2018 SafeWork SA Augusta Zadow Award and the proud Director and Principal Consultant of her own work health and safety consulting business, Alex Thomas Pty Ltd.


Having worked with over 80 businesses across a multitude of different industries, Alex is a fierce advocate for ‘all things ag’ and has a vision to enable a positive, solution-based and industry-driven discussion around improving work health and safety in rural industries. 


Alex’s core intent is to help her clients re-calibrate the value proposition of work health and safety from ‘box-ticking’ to empowering people; reducing risk, and ultimately preventing people from getting hurt. Alex is an empath, a master-collaborator, a new board member and a research amateur and she loves daring to do things differently. 


Now based in Adelaide, Alex is currently participating in the 2018 Governor’s Leadership Program and has been formally endorsed by the Director of SafeWork SA for her approach to assisting industry. 

Director and Principal Consultant, Alex Thomas Pty Ltd

Ms Alexandra Thomas

Simon Firestone graduated from Veterinary Science at Melbourne in 2000, worked in mixed and small animal veterinary practice in Australia, Thailand and the United Kingdom, and as a veterinary and public health epidemiologist developing zoonoses surveillance and investigating outbreaks of foodborne and zoonotic disease with Commonwealth and State Departments of Health in Australia, and the World Health Organization in Indonesia and Cambodia. He completed his Masters of Applied Epidemiology at ANU in 2007 and his PhD at the University of Sydney in 2012 which comprised a series of epidemiological studies into the spread of the 2007 outbreak of equine influenza in Australia. Simon now coordinates and teaches into the online Master of Veterinary Public Health program at the University of Melbourne, teaches into the Science and DVM curriculums on emerging infectious diseases, epidemiological methods and the evaluation of diagnostic test performance. He also is active in research into the spatio-temporal analysis of disease spread in populations and risk factor studies into outbreaks and zoonotic diseases including Q fever, salmonellosis, Ross River virus Campylobacteriosis, foot and mouth disease and Mycoplasma bovis.

Academic, Melbourne Veterinary School, The University of Melbourne

Dr Simon Firestone

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Fergus Gardiner has recently completed a PhD (medicine) specialising in chronic kidney disease management. He has been the lead author on research projects involving emergency and military medicine, rural and remote healthcare, pathology, and obstetrics and gynecology.  Prior to commencing with the Flying Doctor, Fergus served in the Australian Defense Force before employment in large teaching hospitals and the Department of Health.  Fergus is a visiting academic at the Australian National University Medical School, where he conducts epidemiology and clinical research. Furthermore, he is a consultant associated with applications to the Federal Government’s Medical Services Advisory Committee, in the field of chronic disease management.

Manager Research & Policy, Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia

Dr Fergus Gardiner

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Nina is currently the Principal Veterinary Epidemiologist and Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer in Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Program, Biosecurity Queensland within the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. She has been working on various animal disease control, prevention and surveillance including equine influenza (horses), Hendra virus (horses, dogs, flying-foxes), Australian bat lyssavirus (bats, horses), avian influenza (poultry, wild birds), Newcastle disease (poultry), white spot disease (farmed prawn), Salmonella Enteritidis monitoring and accreditation program (layers), enzootic bovine leucosis (EBL) eradication program (dairy cattle), caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE) accreditation program (goat), and bovine viral diarrhoea accreditation scheme (New Zealand beef cattle). Nina has also been interested in a range of zoonoses and food safety issues and has been working closely with the Queensland Health and Safe Food Production Queensland on various cases including Hendra virus, Australian bat lyssavirus, avian influenza virus, salmonella, campylobacter, psittacosis, avian tuberculosis, Brucella suis and Q fever.

Principal Veterinary Epidemiologist, Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Office of Chief Veterinary Officer, Biosecurity Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Dr Nina Kung

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Guéladio Cissé is research director and head of the Ecosystem Health Sciences Unit within the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, at Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in Basel, Switzerland and currently a visiting scholar at the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences of James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. Over more than 25 years, Guéladio’s research interests pertain to environmental health with a particular attention to children major health problems (e.g. diarrhea, parasitic infections and malnutrition) in relation with environmental pollutions, global change and climate change. He is a sanitary engineer and an environmental epidemiology researcher who holds a PhD since 1997 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). His PhD work was on assessing health impact of polluted water use in urban agriculture in West Africa. He has conducted projects related to health aspects of waste recovery and reuse in Africa and Asia. He has been member of the panel of experts for the revision in 2006 of the World Health Organization Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Greywater and Excreta.

Research Director and Head of the Ecosystem Health Sciences Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Dr Guéladio Cissé

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Don Voaklander is the director of the Injury Prevention Centre at the University of Alberta.  He has been involved in injury prevention activities for over 25 years.  His interests include farm safety, injuries to seniors, administrative health data and community based research.

Professor and Director of the Injury Prevention Centre School of Public Health

Professor Don Voaklander

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A private consultant for over 13 years BGC has delivered a number of GRDC and CRDC funded projects related to application technology and drift managment to the Australian agricultural industry.


Previously worked for Qld Department of Primary Industries as a Senior Development Extension Officer in Application and for CPAS at the University of Queensland in a Senior Research Role.


Specialties: Project Management, Training in Application Technology and Spray Drift Management. Other activities include Expert Witness Reports on spray drift, Technical writing, publications, training packages.

Private Consultant and Application and Control Officer, Australian Plague Locust Commission

Mr Bill Gordon

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Robbie is the managing director of Seftons. She leads the team and specialises in facilitating groups through contentious and challenging issues. A producer of wool, meat and grains, Robbie is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, the 2002 RIRDC NSW Rural Woman of the Year and a member of numerous boards and advisory groups for governments, businesses and not-for-profits. Since 1990 she has lived, worked and travelled all over regional, rural and remote Australia as a rural leader and advocate. She is known and respected by farmers, agribusiness, Ministers, and people at all levels in between.

Founder & Managing Director, Seftons

Ms Robbie Sefton

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Jason has been in the construction industry and  electrical industry for over 25 years, with 18 of them working in the Electrical distribution industry for Ergon Energy. 


Jason is very passionate about promoting electrical safety in the community as he has seen first-hand the devastation that accidental contact with powerlines can do to victims their work mates, families and communities.

Community Specialist, EnergyQ

Mr Jason Beasley

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Amy has extensive experience in the field of drowning prevention research, policy and practice. She is the National Manager - Research and Policy for Royal Life Saving Society - Australia. In this role she is responsible for a range of research projects including the annual production of the National Drowning Report, maintaining the Royal Life Saving National Fatal Drowning Database, as well as a range of other projects and advocating for the prevention of drowning in the media. Ms Peden is also completing a PhD into the epidemiology, risk factors and strategies for the prevention of unintentional drowning deaths in rivers.

National Manager – Research and Policy, Royal Life Saving Society

Ms Amy Peden

Contact Us: T: 02 6171 1308 or email nrutter@phaa.net.au

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