Keynote Speaker ProfileS

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..

Confirmed Speakers

Andrew Gissing 
Risk Frontiers & Bushfire Natural Hazards CRC

Andrew is Director Government Business and Enterprise Risk Management at Risk Frontiers. He is an emergency and risk management expert.  Andrew has performed various senior executive roles in the emergency management and social services sectors, including as the Deputy Chief Officer of the Victoria State Emergency Service and Director of Risk Management for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

Andrew is passionate about risk management and his main interests lie in enhancing the capability of organisations and communities to manage risk and ultimately enhance their resilience. Andrew is known for his strategic thought leadership, and in the provision and implementation of end to end management solutions, including cultural change.

Andrew is an experienced crisis leader having held senior state-wide leadership roles during some of Australia’s most significant natural disasters such as the ‘Pasha Bulka’ Storm (2007), Black Saturday Bushfires (2009), and the Victorian Floods (2010/11). He has been author of state-wide disaster plans, policies and resilience strategies, for which he has received several awards.

Jeremy Hillman
Office of Disaster Recovery, NSW

Jeremy hails from South Australia but has called Sydney home for the last five years, working with organisations like the Environment Protection Authority and Fred Hollows Foundation.

Since 2017 he has been Manager Communications and Engagement at the NSW Office of Emergency Management and led a range of reforms in disaster recovery.

Jeremy has previously managed a marketing agency in the UK, been a teacher in the Middle East and an adviser for two Prime Ministers.

He’s passionate about honest, meaningful engagement and in particular how to better connect with and support disaster-impacted communities.

Sally McKay
Emergency Recovery Coordinator

Sally McKay has worked across a diverse range of roles within Emergency Management for over 20 years and she strives to ensure a community led approach within all disaster work.

Sally’s work has taken her to many places – primarily across Asia Pacific zone , working for the International Federation of Red Cross / Red Crescent, within Australia working for all levels of Government and now in NZ

Sally’s roles have required her to lead work in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. She has a strong commitment to social justice with an accompanying agenda to drive innovative community development practices that assist communities to adapt to change and become more resilient to disasters.

Andrea Peace
Bureau of Meteorology

(From LinkedIn:) A qualified Meteorologist with a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Meteorology and an internationally recognised Graduate Diploma of Meteorology (World Meteorological Organisation certification).

Throughout 7 years working as a Meteorologist (public weather, aviation, marine and severe weather specialist), I developed and refined my communication skills and am now recognised as one of the Bureau’s strongest communicators of weather, climate and environmental information.

Over the last five years I have worked as the Bureau’s Video Manager and as a presenter in educational and information videos (see Projects). I have worked very hard to broaden and enhance the Bureau’s video offerings, with the purpose of making Bureau information more accessible to the broader community, so that people can make educated weather related decisions.

Mel Taylor
Macquarie University & Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC

(From Bushfire & Hazards CRC:) Mel is an Occupational Psychologist at Macquarie University.

Mel’s current interests centre on emergency and disaster preparedness and protective responses, for example uptake of vaccination, compliance with public health and animal health recommendations, and animal health and biosecurity practices. During the last twelve months Mel has studied the impacts of risk communication and risk messaging on anticipated response to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) terrorism, the use of social media for emergency information synthesis and as a source of psychological first aid during the floods and cyclone Yasi in 2011, and the animal health management practices of Australian sheep producers and the role of livestock agents in influencing sheep producer behaviours. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science she has also been involved in research on veterinarians’ risk perceptions and infection control practices to zoonoses, and  horse owner biosecurity practices and perceptions of the response to the 2007 outbreak of equine influenza in Australia.


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  • 14 February 2020

    Registration & award submission open

  • 29 March 2020

    Earlybird discount ends

  • 24 April 2020

    EMPA Australia Awards submission closes

  • 3 June 2020

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