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Presenters 2022

Dr Peter Ashton


Peter’s work has mostly involved the application of fire within the landscape and its interaction with the community. Working in emergency management for Surf Coast Shire Council Peter helped to imbed fire knowledge and build community adaptation.

Dr Ian Bennetts

Resilient Building Council of Australia

A civil and structural engineer and lead author of the Bushfire Resilience Star Rating methodology, Ian was inducted to the Hall of Fame of Engineers Australia’s Society of Fire Safety in 2014.

Jeff Emmerton

Bushfire Building Council of Australia

A geomatic engineer, Jeff's expertise is creating digital mapping solutions on current technology. His engineering, technical and IT skills are contributing to the development of a model for users to assess their bushfire attack risk.

Dr Rob Gordon OAM

Clinical Psychologist

A Clinical Psychologist and a Psychological Consultant to the Government and Australian Red Cross for disaster recovery Rob has been involved in the recovery programs of more than 30 disasters in Australia and New Zealand.  He consults on community responses and stresses of recovery.


Nick Guyett

Surf Coast Shire

Nick’s role focuses on preparing the community for the impact of fire and other natural disasters and building resilience so the community may better recover from emergency events.

Malcolm Hackett OAM

Valley Community Financial Services

Chair of the Board that operates five local Bendigo Bank Community Bank Branches. Following the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires Malcolm was Chair of the Strathewen Community Renewal Association. He has personal knowledge of property loss and the painful insurance, planning and rebuilding journey.

Jane Hayward AM PSM

Principal Strathewen Primary School

With a career of over 30 years teaching in Victorian primary schools, Jane is passionate about education and the small school setting. Her focus on disaster preparedness and wellbeing underpins all she does.

Dr Chris Heislers


Chris has extensive and broad experience across most species but primarily horses, including after the devastating 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. He is a divisional committee member of the Australian Veterinarian Association.

Dr Justin Leonard


Justin Leonard has dedicated his 26-year research career to the understanding of how bushfire risk to life and infrastructure can be managed. This research combines learnings from bushfire exposure experiments with post bushfire survey investigations and computer modelling of bushfire interactions with buildings.

Dr Andrew McLean

Equitation Science International

A prolific author of books and journal papers on the science and ethics of horse training, Andrew has represented Australia in various equestrian sports and is a board member of several horse organizations.

Dr Jim McLennan

LaTrobe University

Jim’s background is organisational and industrial psychology, focussing on safe decision making. He was a member of the Bushfire CRC research taskforce following the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires and subsequently conducted post-bushfire household interview surveys in other states investigating householder bushfire safety.

Michelle Roberts

Australian National University

For the past 40 years Michelle, a psychologist, has worked across jurisdictions and sectors with children, young people, their families and professionals in all types of disasters, trauma and adversity.

Dr Kirrilly Thompson

University of Newcastle

Kirrilly is a One Health Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle and the Hunter New England Local Health District. She is a cultural anthropologist specializing in risk perception and human-animal relations

Dr Kevin Tolhurst AM

The University of Melbourne

In 1984 Kevin embarked on a career in bushfire science covering fire ecology, fire weather and fire behaviour. Kevin has applied his knowledge and interest to teaching, research, land management and community engagement. He has provided expert advice to various inquiries and fire and land management agencies.

Dr Briony Towers

Co-director, LEADRRR

A socio-cultural psychologist who specialises in children's learning and action for disaster risk reduction and resilience Briony has conducted research on children's roles in household bushfire planning and preparedness for over 15 years.

Sponsored by
Hurstbridge & Eltham Community Bank Branches
Proudly sponsored by
Hurstbridge & Eltham Community Bank Branches
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