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.



12.30 PM


1.30 PM

½ Day Workshop

EMPA Principles of Disaster and Emergency Communications

EMPA’s Principles now give focus and direction for the sector. Experts will lead participants through case studies and
exercises that will crystallise the way forward for communications and engagement practitioners.

3.00 PM


3.30 PM

Workshop – continued

5.00 PM


5.05 PM

Welcome drinks (at Novotel)


8.00 AM


CHAIR: Phil Campbell, Marine Rescue NSW

9.00 AM

Welcome to Country

Michael West, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council

9.05 AM

Host state welcome

Hon. Steph Cook, Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience, NSW 

9.10 AM

KEYNOTE: The psychological impacts of compounding disasters and repeated trauma

John Brogden, Chair, Lifeline

10.05 AM

What I wish I'd known...

Learnings and observations from the most experienced communicators

10.10 AM


CHAIR: Sascha Rundle, Sascha Rundle Consulting

10.40 AM

PANEL: Mental wellbeing for communicators and the community

Shona Whitton, Australian Red Cross
Gina Mammone,
Ambulance Victoria,
Erin Smith,
Center for Journalism and Trauma

11.30 AM

Climate and Hazard + Vulnerability - an update on the Australian Climate Service

Vicki Woodburn, Australian Climate Service/Bureau of Meteorology

12.05 PM

Communicating with culturally and linguistically diverse communities

David Hua, Director Audio and Language Content, SBS

12.40 PM


1.30 PM

What I wish I'd known...

Learnings and observations from the most experienced communicators

CHAIR: Kate Moore, Resilience NSW

1.35 PM

Queensland floods: when a sudden onset event forces you to change the way you operate immediately

Ethan Clissold, Queensland Fire & Emergency Services

This presentation will explore how team leaders used the foundational lessons learnt from previous disasters to adapt roles and responsibilities, prioritise safety and well-being and continue to deliver high-quality information and content to executive leaders, spokespeole, journalists and the community. 

2.10 PM

PANEL: Community led communications and engagement

Joanna Kraatz – Wollondilly Shire Council
Pru Jobling – Megalong Valley Community
Sharon TuckerBonalbo SOS Progress Association
Alison Turner – Flagstaff Group

Projects supported by the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund

2.55 PM


CHAIR: Nathan Maddock, Natural Hazards Research Australia

3.25 PM

Where have we been, where are we going?

A/Prof. Nick Carah, University of Queensland

A handful of social media platforms have grown to dominate how organisations and businesses engage with the public. What makes their advertising & engagement models unique? Nick will explore some of the emerging features of these platforms – the development of more dynamic advertising & engagement models, the increasing use of sophisticated machine vision, and the growing importance of augmented reality. He’ll be exploring both what this means for communicators attempting to use social media and policy-makers thinking about how to create durable policies and regulatory frameworks.

4.00 PM

Keynote: It never rains but it pours

Carlene York, Commissioner, NSW State Emergency Service

The presentation will provide an overview of the Service, the mental health challenges, the role of media and the importance of a volunteering ethos.

4.45 PM


6.30 PM

Conference Dinner

FRIDAY 13 MAY 2022

8.30 AM


CHAIR: Nathan Maddock, Natural Hazards Research Australia

9.00 AM

EMPA 2022 Award winner presentation


9.20 AM


Megan Stiffler, Fire and Rescue NSW

10.00 AM

Protecting Australia from plant and animal pests and disease: Public information in biosecurity incidents

Kirsten Phillips, Biosecurity Queensland

This presentation will highlight the current approach nationally to public information in a biosecurity incident and provide some insights into learnings from significant outbreaks.

10.40 AM


11.10 AM

What I wish I'd known...

Learnings and observations from the most experienced communicators

CHAIR: Barb Ryan, University of Southern Queensland

11.15 AM

Science for the next decade of communications and engagement

Dr Richard Thornton, CEO Natural Hazards Research Australia

Engagement, communication and warnings have evolved with the help of research, but where to next as the risk increases and communities evolve? Natural Hazards Research Australia will be undertaking this research the country needs for the next decade and you can help shape the science needed.

11.50 AM

UPDATE: Australian Warnings System

Amanda Leck, Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience

A new national approach to information and warnings during emergencies like bushfire, flood, storm, extreme heat and severe weather. Amanda will provide a brief background on the move to the AWS, when it is being implemented for each hazard, discuss the national community awareness & education campaign and its objectives.

12.25 PM

Live Bush Fire Ready

Anthony Clark, NSW Rural Fire Service

Crafting the message – the 2022 RFS Bushfire ad campaign

1.00 PM


1.55 AM

What I wish I'd known...

Learnings and observations from the most experienced communicators

CHAIR: Ethan Clissold, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

1.55 PM

PANEL: Preparing the community to be first responder in emergencies

Jenny Kidd, Tumbulgum Community Association (NSW)
Liane Henderson, Queensland Fire & Emergency Services

NSW SES assisted Tumbulgum community to take the initiative in flood response, as did QFES for the fire and flood prone Caves district north of Rockhampton

2.25 PM

Locally led, with a National Perspective

Viv Johnson, National Recovery and Resilience Agency

3.10 PM


CHAIR: Phil Campbell, Marine Rescue NSW

3.35 PM

Flood mitigation-communicating with communities

Andrew Gissing, Risk Frontiers

Andrew will provide an overview of the disaster related challenges facing Australian communities and the opportunities to build resilience. A strong theme across the presentation will be the need to engage with communities.

4.10 PM

Closing remarks from the EMPA Chair

Dr Barbara Ryan, University of Southern Queensland

4.15 PM