Guest Speakers

We have invited guest speakers to our conference, who will be presenting their valuable insights on a range of topics that are relevant to our members. So far, the following guest speakers have been confirmed:

Tracey Hayes
Tracey Hayes - Keynote Speaker

Tracey Hayes is a senior leader in business and industry throughout Northern Australia working at a national and international level.

Tracey is an experienced Board Chair and Company Director, working across industries at local, national and international level. She is the Chair of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and Board member of the Australia Indonesia Institute. Tracey has also been a board member of CRC for Developing Northern Australia, Chair of the Darwin Waterfront Corporation Board, Advisory Board member of the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, and a member of the Council of the Order of Australia.

Tracey was the first female Chief Executive of the Territory’s cattle industry (Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association) and has been named one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence. She has a Global Executive MBA, is a former pilot, owns and runs a successful small business, and is the mother of four children who are sixth generation Territorians.

With a rich background in remote Australia and a lived understanding of the challenges for those that live, work and travel in the bush, Tracey was welcomed to the role of Royal Flying Doctor Service Federation Board Chair which provides medical services to remote and rural areas of Australia in November 2022. 

Fiona Nash
Hon Fiona Nash

Regional Education Commissioner

Having grown up in Sydney, Fiona has spent the last couple of decades living and working in regional Australia.

For many years she was involved in a farming enterprise in the central west of NSW, which her sons Will and Henry are now running. She spent twelve years in the federal parliament as a Senator for NSW and also held ministerial positions including Rural Health, and in Cabinet the positions of Regional Development, Regional Communications and Local Government and Territories. She also held the position of Deputy Leader of the Nationals.

From 2018 - 2021 Fiona was the Strategic Adviser, Regional Engagement and Government Relations for Charles Sturt University.

Fiona was appointed by the Australian Government as the Regional Education Commissioner in December 2021.

Senator Anthony Chisholm
Senator Anthony Chisholm

Assistant Minister for Education, Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Deputy Manager of Government Business in the Senate
Senator for Queensland

Anthony grew up on the northside of Brisbane attending Wavell State High School.

Prior to being elected, Anthony has had an active role in Queensland politics serving as Queensland Labor State Secretary between 2008 and 2014, before taking on the role of Campaign Director for the 2015 Queensland State Election, which saw the Palaszczuk Government sweep to power.

Anthony attended Griffith University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. Throughout his university years and in his working life, Anthony has maintained strong community involvement through his work with charities from his local community on the northside of Brisbane.

Anthony was elected to the Senate in 2016 and then re-elected in 2022.

Following the election of the Albanese Labor Government, he was appointed by the Prime Minister as the Assistant Minister for Education and the Assistant Minister for Regional Development.

Coming from a big, decentralised State like Queensland, Anthony is passionate about ensuring that affordable healthcare, a quality education and access to services and infrastructure is available to all people no matter where they live.

These are issues that he as the Assistant Minister committed to delivering on as part of an Albanese Labor Government.

As a Senator for Queensland Anthony is committed to providing a strong Labor voice for working people throughout the State.

Channa Seneviratne
Channa Seneviratne

Telstra Executive – Technology Development & Solutions

This is home to the Centres of Expertise for network technology innovation, technology strategy & architecture, the Chief Data Office, data scientists, data engineers, network and IT solutions engineering, and technical product owners and delivery competencies.  He reports to Nikos Katinakis, Group Executive of Networks & IT.

Channa has more than 35 years of experience in telecommunications networks having worked in both Operations and Engineering across both fixed and wireless technologies.  During his time in Telstra, Channa has played key engineering design, support and operational roles as Telstra moved from being a start up in wireless through the evolutions of 2G, CDMA, 3G, 4G and now 5G.  Channa led the launch of the world’s first commercial gigabit LTE network, the activation of Australia’s largest IoT footprint through our Cat M1 and Narrowband IoT technology and the launch of our 5G network. He is currently leading a number of trials of Mobile Edge Computing and new 5G use cases.

Gavin Williams
Gavin Williams

NBN Co Chief Development Officer, Regional and Remote

Mr Williams was appointed Chief Development Officer Regional & Remote in October 2019, bringing more than eight years’ experience at NBN Co and 30 years within the telecommunication industry across Australia.

He has held leadership roles that have spanned engineering, product management, marketing and strategy disciplines across consumer, business, and wholesale markets.

Prior to joining NBN Co, Mr Williams held positions in Optus, Telstra and was principal of an independent consultancy. He was a Board Director of Southern Cross Cable.

Mr Williams holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Business Administration from Macquarie University.

Kristen Coggan
Kristen Coggan

Kristen Coggan is the Communications and Engagement Manager for the Regional Tech Hub. Not only that, but she is also a former ICPA Australia communications portfolio leader, BIRRR admin and nbn® Local Community Ambassador. This gives Kristen a wealth of knowledge in the Regional, Rural and Remote connectivity space and an ideal understanding of what living and educating remotely in geographically isolated situations is about.

Kristen will be speaking about how ICPA was instrumental in the creation of the Regional Tech Hub and how this free independent service can assist our members with their individual connectivity needs.

Annabelle Brayley
Annabelle Brayley

Annabelle graduated as an RN in the late 1970s, then married and went to live a remote sheep station in SWQ. Even before she delivered their first child, she was roped into the Charleville Branch of ICPA. Their two children completed their primary years schooling with the Charleville School of Distance Education.

From 1997-99 inclusive, (on behalf of ICPA) Annabelle co-ordinated a student teacher practice program placing students from QUT into schools across rural/remote Queensland so they could safely experience teaching in a non-urban environment.

In 2000, she returned to the health workforce, working remotely, and the following year, moved to live in the Morven district in SWQ.

Believing that one must embrace every opportunity, the chance to be published in OUTBACK Magazine led to her authoring several books published by Penguin Books Australia, four of them collections of stories about health professionals who work in rural/remote Australia.

In 2018, Annabelle was appointed to the board of the Australian College of Rural Remote Medicine (ACRRM) as their first Community Director. During her tenure she assisted ACRRM in establishing a Community Reference Group (CRG). She retired from the board in 2022 but continues to chair the CRG.

Her firm belief that health and education are interconnected underpins her determination to establish strong links between ACRRM and ICPA at all levels.

Elizabeth Gubbins
Elizabeth Gubbins

Elizabeth is Deputy Principal (Development and Culture), Marcus Oldham College, Geelong, Victoria.

Born and bred in Melbourne, she studied Public Relations and worked in Advertising before she embarked on a different path after marrying her husband, a farmer, and together they operated Te Mania Angus; a seed-stock Angus Stud in the Western District of Southeast Victoria for 15 years.

In 2006, Elizabeth returned to university and obtained a Graduate Diploma in Education (Applied Learning), which opened doors for her into teaching and senior management roles in curriculum development and student well-being within the secondary school sector. For the past 15 years, she has been dedicated to educating and nurturing young minds.

Elizabeth's passion for rural Australia and her commitment to empowering young adults led her to join a national agricultural college that exclusively offers Bachelor of Business programs with focuses on Agribusiness, Agriculture, and Equine Management. Approximately 40% (out of 190) of the students come from isolated rural Australia and over 90% of the students have experienced living and working in remote rural Australia.  

She is among the few female leaders occupying prominent positions in Australian Agricultural Universities.

Elizabeth will be speaking on the multitude of benefits associated with young adults from isolated rural Australia pursuing tertiary education.