For the last 14 years EMPA has brought together expert practitioners and researchers from around Australia, the US, New Zealand and Europe. They share frameworks and lessons learned – to stimulate thinking, encourage conversation and create change.


After careful consideration by the EMPA Board, and the continued uncertainties surrounding the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, the EMPA Australia Conference will be moving to a virtual event.

A daily two-hour webcast will be held from Tuesday 2nd to Friday 5th June 2020. 

Keynote Speaker

Hon. Lianne Dalziel

Mayor of Christchurch, NZ

Hon Lianne Dalziel (LLB) is serving her third term as Mayor of Ōtautahi Christchurch after serving for 23 years in the New Zealand Parliament (1990-2013), the first two terms representing Christchurch Central and the last four and a half terms as MP for Christchurch East. Lianne served as a Cabinet Minister in the fifth Labour Government under the leadership of Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, holding a wide range of portfolios.

As a result of representing an electorate that was hard hit by the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, and developing a strong understanding of post-disaster challenges and opportunities, Lianne has become a champion of disaster risk reduction and resilience. She is committed to the priorities for action to prevent new and to reduce existing disaster risks: to promote better understanding of the need to place communities at the heart of recovery planning, emphasising the need for honest and effective communication, and ensuring that any government support provided in a post disaster environment increases local capability to respond to and recover from future events.

Lianne believes that Christchurch’s experience of the 2010/2011 earthquake sequence and the terror attacks of March 15 2019 stand testament to the capacity of communities to instinctively come together and offer meaningful support in times of need. It is within these very human responses that we find the essence of resilience, not as a destination, but as a journey that highlights the capacity of communities to adapt to change and to co-create a new future when there is no going back to the way it used to be.

Comm. Shane Fitzsimmons

Resilience NSW

Shane has over 30 years experience with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) serving as both a volunteer and salaried officer.

In 1998 he was appointed an Assistant Commissioner with the RFS and has held portfolio responsibilities for Operations, Strategic Development and Regional Management.

In 2004 he was appointed the inaugural Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) Visiting Fellow to the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) for a 12 month period.

In September 2007 he was appointed Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) and also the Chair of the NSW RFS Bushfire Co-ordinating Committee and the Rural Fire Service Advisory Council.  

Following 12 years as Commissioner of NSW RFS, he recently accepted the new appointment of Commissioner, Resilience NSW and Deputy Secretary, Emergency Management, in the newly created agency, effective 1 May 2020.  

Clare Parker

UK Government comms specialist

Clare Parker has worked in public sector communications for nearly 20 years. Starting as a press officer at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, she specialised in crisis and CBRN policy communications. After a short posting to internal communications she took up the role of global media and information environment analyst. The role included analysing and assessing the evolving social media landscape of the Middle East and Asia and she presented to a number of NATO and allied nations training social and traditional media trends. In later roles Clare led training and development in media operations and strategic communications at the Defence (Joint) Media Operations Centre before establishing the Insight and Evaluation team in the Directorate of Defence Communications. She has worked across NATO nations sharing expertise and advising on social media, government communications and national media organisations and non-state actor use of the internet. 

Clare is currently Head of Communications at Forest Research, the GB-wide science agency of the Forestry Commission but she retains links into and active interest in UK and international strategic communications. 

Clare holds a MA in Mass Communications and MSc in Strategic Communications Leadership, and is currently researching a PhD on UK government communications evaluation. She is a Founding Chartered Practitioner of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.  

Confirmed SpeakerS

Jeremy Hillman

NSW Office of Disaster Recovery


Clarence Valley Council


World Health Organization Western Pacific


Bureau of Meteorology


Australian Broadcasting Corporation


Apunipima Cape York Health Council


Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & Macquarie University

van Baaren

International Federation of Red Cross


Massey University, NZ

Andrea Peace

Bureau of Meteorology

Mel Taylor

Macquarie University & Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

Jeremy Hillman

Office of Disaster Recovery, NSW

Andrea Peace

Bureau of Meteorology

Mel Taylor

Macquarie University & Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

Sally McKay

Emergency Recovery Coordinator

Andrew Gissing

Risk Frontiers & Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC


High Profile Events  |  Conference Secretariat

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  • 14 February 2020

    Registration & award submission open

  • 23 March 2020

    Earlybird discount ends

  • 3 May 2020

    EMPA Australia Awards extended submission closes

  • 2 June 2020

    EMPA Australia conference


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