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Conference Speakers

2024 hunter defence conference

Speakers

Below is the list of currently confirmed speakers for HDC2024. This page will be updated regularly as new speakers join the program.

If you are speaking at the Conference, please scroll down to complete the Speaker Confirmation Form

day one - wednesday 21 august

Meet the speakers who will be joining #HDC2024 on Day One.

CEO Newcastle Airport and Astra Aerolab

Dr Peter Cock

Peter is an experienced senior executive with a record of driving change to deliver results. Having held leadership roles across aviation, transport, infrastructure development and professional services, he has a proven ability to build bridges and engage with stakeholders at all levels. His vision for our airport to reach its full potential will deliver long-term benefits for our entire catchment across the Hunter, Central Coast and Northern NSW regions.​ Peter is also a NSW Mentally Healthy Workplace Ambassador.

susanne multerer hanwha
Head Industrial Development, Hanwha Defense Australia

Susanne Multerer

Susanne’s field of expertise is Complex and Strategic Bid and Capture/Campaign Management alongside Business Development in the Defence and Commercial sector.

Throughout her career Susanne has worked for large multinational technology businesses in several countries around the world and with a range of culturally diverse teams. This work has mostly been customer facing in the development of sophisticated and compelling offers ranging from approximately $20 million up to $1 billion. The last eight years in Australia have seen her to continue with both international and Australian defence programs and opportunities.

Susanne joined Thales Air Traffic Management (ATM) as a Bid Manager in 2015 and transferred to Vehicles & Tactical Systems (VTS) in late 2017 as Bid Manager and Capture Lead. She has been responsible for all Singaporean tenders in ATM and has led several major opportunities across VTS and Optronics as a Senior Bid Manager. Susanne also led international campaign activities for opportunities in the protected vehicle part of
the business. In 2022, Susanne was promoted to Director Bids VTS as part of the VTS Leadership Team.

In May 2023 Susanne joined Hanwha Defence Australia as the Industrial Development Unit Manager. She is leading the development and execution of industry engagement and development activities for the program-level Australian Industry Capability (AIC) strategies and plans and supports Global Supply Chain (GSC) program initiatives and opportunities. Susanne is responsible for facilitating effective relationships across Industry, including academia and research institutes both in Australia and overseas.

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Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia

Warren McDonald

Retired Air Marshal Warren McDonald AO, CSC, was appointed Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand in November 2021.

Prior to this appointment Mr. McDonald served 41 years in the Australian Defence Force, with his last appointment being the Chief of Joint Capabilities. In 2017, as the inaugural Chief of this Group, Mr. McDonald was made responsible for its formation and development. Joint Capabilities Group now supports Army, Navy and Air Force by providing a wide range of enabling capabilities, such as logistics, education, health and military police. The Group is also responsible for progressing key projects to support cyber, data link, and satellite capabilities.

In 1979 Mr. McDonald began his career in the Royal Australian Air Force as an enlisted technical apprentice. In 1989, he was commissioned and later graduated as a pilot, logging over 5000 hours in the P-3 Orion. His rotational assignments included Squadron, Wing and Group appointments, numerous deployed commands and as the Deputy Chief of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Mr. McDonald is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff Course.

Managing Director, Boeing Defence Australia

Amy List

Amy List was appointed managing director of Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) in February 2024. In this role, List leads the BDA businesses, capabilities and functions at the organisation’s 13 Australian sites. Her duties include establishing and executing new and existing programs, achieving business objectives, and implementing corporate strategies that position Boeing’s Australian defence activities for continued success.

Prior to her appointment, List was director of Operations where she provided strategic advice to the executive and managed day-to-day operations and administration of the business. From March 2020 to October 2023, she was the director Sustainment Operations where she was responsible for managing the company’s through-life sustainment support and training solutions for military platforms in order to maximise operational readiness while reducing cost of ownership. This included delivering sustainment contracts for Australia’s F/A-18F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, CH47F Chinooks and F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornets; the C-17 Globemaster III logistics support and maintenance; and the Helicopter Aircrew Training System, as well as for the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s CH-47Fs.

List joined BDA in December 2018, performing a number of leadership positions including director of the Structures and Build capability and director of Wedgetail Programs, where she led all sustainment and training programs for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) fleet of six E-7A Wedgetail aircraft. Prior to Boeing, List spent over nine years at Raytheon in operational and business development roles, including as head of Business Operations for Raytheon Australia, where she was responsible for the successful delivery of all programs across the company’s portfolio, as well as business intelligence and reporting.

List started her professional career as an Aeronautical Engineering Officer in the RAAF. During her tenure, she served in a number of operational roles, before running both acquisition and sustainment programs for the Defence Materiel Organisation. Post-separation from the Australian Defence Force, List ran a consulting business, offering project and risk management services to clients across the defence and mining industries.

List is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) and a Masters Degree in Project Management. She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Director Aerospace, BAE Systems Australia

Andrew Chapman

Andrew began his career in the Royal Australian Air Force as a technician on aircraft avionics and test equipment. He subsequently undertook and completed a degree in
Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Queensland University of Technology and commenced work as an engineer with Boeing Australia on the F-111 Avionics Update Program. Andrew then joined BAE Systems and was seconded to the United Kingdom to work as part of the design team for the Australian Hawk Lead-In-Fighter aircraft. Upon his return to Australia, Andrew took on various engineering roles, culminating in his appointment as the engineering manager for the Hawk Lead-In-Fighter.

After being awarded BAE Systems’ Australia Engineer of the Year in 2009 and the Manager of the BAE Systems Engineering Team of the Year in 2010, Andrew was appointed as Head of Aerospace Engineering for BAE Systems Australia. In August 2017 he was appointed as F-35 Campaign Manager and he took over as Director to Aircraft Sustainment & Training for BAE Systems at the beginning of 2019, a role he still holds today.

The Aviation Sustainment and Training line of business Andrew leads provides broad
reaching sustainment, manufacturing and training activities focussed on optimised
availability, capability and innovative aviation training and solutions. It currently supports the F-35 for the RAAF and the Asia-Pacific, the Hawk Lead-In-Fighter for the RAAF and Aviation Technical Training for the ADF, from four major Australian locations.

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Premier of New South Wales

The Hon. Chris Minns, MP

Chris Minns is the 47th Premier of New South Wales and the Member for Kogarah.

Chris was born and raised in the St George area. He previously worked in politics, the charity sector and briefly as a retained firefighter while completing his studies.

Chris was elected as the Member for Kogarah in 2015 and became leader of the NSW Labor Party in June 2021, successfully leading the party to Government at the 2023 NSW Election.

Chris has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England and a Master’s in Public Policy from Princeton University where he won a full scholarship to complete his studies.

brad twynham
Author, Speaker, Business Strategist

Brad Twynham

Brad is not just a leadership speaker; he is known as being the leader of leaders. He has built ground-breaking products that have disrupted the world's largest corporations, has guided C-level executives through business transformation initiatives and collaborated with CEOs and Boards to cultivate adaptable cultures that nurture resilient and innovative people.

Brad's keynote presentations and leadership workshops are transformational and highly interactive. He has developed and speaks on “Radical Leadership,” a term he coined that is recognised globally and is now used by Harvard Business School to describe the mission-critical mandate of today’s modern business leaders.

His recent clients include CEO Institute, Singularity U, Minter Ellison, Rio Tinto, Port Waratah Coal Services, Endeavour Group, ARTC, Pitcher Partners, Mazars, EO Org, and Western Sydney University.

As a keynote speaker, Brad’s special gift lies in his powerful lived experiences, which capture the audience's attention and catalyse change. These stories are drawn from his extensive journey as an award-winning Enterprise Technology Entrepreneur, Corporate Innovator, and proud “First Nations” man.

His high-energy and authentic presence delivers a fast-paced and immersive keynote presentation and a journey that creates a contagious energy that motivates audiences and leaves a lasting impression.

Brad pushes individuals and organisations to rethink what leadership is in today's uncertain and volatile business environment, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the benefits of becoming Radical.

graham edwards
Head of Aerospace Systems

AVM Graham Edwards

Bio to be provided shortly

tim owen 01
Hunter Defence Taskforce - Chair

Tim Owen

Tim Owen AM is a 32-year services veteran and former Deputy Commander of the Australian forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a highly regarded defence industry consultant with significant expertise in the Australian Defence Force contracting process and experience working with defence primes.

mgen richard vagg
Head of Army Capability

MGEN Richard Vagg

Born and educated in country Queensland, Major General Vagg joined the Army in 1992, graduating from the Royal Military College – Duntroon in 1993 to the Royal Australian Artillery. He has enjoyed an exciting career with regimental experience at 4th Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and on exchange with 40 Regiment (AS-90), Royal Artillery. He was also the inaugural Commanding Officer of 16th Air Land Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

His training experience includes appointments at the School of Artillery and Duntroon, while his staff experience includes appointments at the British Defence Intelligence Staff, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, as well as Modernisation and Strategic Plans – Army. He was MA to Commander Forces
Command, the Director of Military Art, Royal Military College – Duntroon and the Director General Systems and Integration – Army. After working as Director General Air and Land Capability Analysis in Contestability Division, Major General Vagg was seconded to the Defence Strategic Review as the lead military Director General. He assumed his current position as Head Land Capability in March of 2023.

Major General Vagg has operational experience in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. His most recent deployment was as Commander Task Group Taji, Rotation Four in Iraq—for which he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours. He has also been awarded a Commander Multi-National Brigade (Central) Commendation for his role in several operations along the Kosovo/Macedonian/Albanian border and a Commendation for Distinguished Service for his work as the inaugural Commanding Officer of the Artillery Training Team – Kabul.

He is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College, the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies and Australian Institute of Company Directors. Major General Vagg holds a Masters of Arts – Management and Strategy from the University of New South Wales and a Masters of Business Administration from Deakin University. Whilst studying at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies he received the Field Marshall Sir Thomas Blamey Award. Major General Vagg’s work in capability development combined with his regimental, operational and training appointments have provided him with broad exposure to the Defence enterprise. He enjoys the challenges of modernising Defence and setting the conditions to create options for an integrated Joint Force.

speaker michael shoebridge 4.3
Strategic Analysis Australia

Michael Shoebridge

Michael is Director of Strategic Analysis Australia. From 2018 until September 2022, he was the Director of the Defence, Strategy and National Security Program at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in Canberra.

Before the think tank world, Michael was a deputy in two Australian intelligence agencies – the Australian Signals Directorate and the Defence Intelligence Organisation.

He has worked in two Australian Federal Government ministers’ offices. As the First Assistant Secretary for Strategic Policy in Defence, he led the team that wrote Australia’s 2013 Defence White Paper and also administered defence exports policy and legislation. 

In his first Senior Executive Service role he led the tender evaluation, selection and contract negotiations for the Australian Navy’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats. His last role in the Defence organisation was as the head of the Contestability Division that provides objective analysis of the overall $270 billion investment program.

Michael was Australia’s senior defence policy official in the Australian Embassy in Washington from February 2005 to June 2007. He was seconded to the UK Ministry of Defence in 1999-2000. He has also served in the Senior Executive Service in both Australia’s Finance Department and the Prime Minister’s Department, where he was head of the Defence, Intelligence and Research Division.

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Hanwha Defense Australia

Katherine Ziesing

Katherine is an experienced Strategy and Communications leader with a demonstrated history of working in the media industry with a Defence focus. She is skilled in Crisis Communications, Event Management, Media Relations, Journalism, Social Media and Corporate Communications.

Kath is a a strong media and communication professional with a Masters in Strategy and Policy from UNSW @ ADFA, completion of the Defence Industry Study Course (DISC) and an ongoing interest in the Defence community.

day two - thursday 22 august

Meet the leaders who will be joining #HDC2024 on Day Two.

Chief Executive, NuPress

Craig McWilliam

Craig McWilliam is an owner and director at the Nupress Group, a precision manufacturing company with facilities in Cardiff Australia and Toronto Canada. Nupress specialise in Precision machined component and assemblies with a particular focus on Hard materials. As part of the Nupress Team for more than 15 years, Craig has extensive experience in the manufacturing sector within Australia.

Craig has been a director of several organisations since the mid-nineties, with particular focus on strategic segment development and export strategies. He has lived in Both USA and Canada whilst developing successful operations for his respective organisations.

craig mcwiliam
GM Defence, Birdon

Joe Smith

Joe Smith is a results driven executive with a broad and diverse range of experience gained over 25 years working on complex contracts in the Defence, Resources and Financial sectors.

Joe currently serves as the General Manager Defence and is well known for developing high performing teams by energising, developing and empowering people whilst fostering a culture of inclusion, accountability, and innovation.

Joe has a broad range of experience in all facets of strategy, operations, HR/ER, organisational development, WHS practices, recruitment and people leadership.

With extensive experience across the conception, formation, and operation of new contracts, business divisions, joint ventures, and alliances, including as a board member, Joe brings a wealth of strategic and operational experience to his role at Birdon.

Before joining Birdon, Joe was the General Manager of Naval Ship Management (NSM) based in Henderson WA, where he led all facets of the business to partner with the Commonwealth in the sustainment of the Anzac Class, the LHDs and their associated Landing Craft. During his time as NSM, Joe was at the forefront for over a decade of sustainment reform helping to realise improved availability, reliability and capability for his clients. These contributions were recognised across multiple awards, including categories in the prestigious Essington-Lewis awards and the inaugral Naval Business of the Year at the Australian Defence Industry Awards.

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Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales

Prof. Toby Walsh

Toby Walsh is Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and CSIRO’s Data61. He is the winner of the prestigious Celestino Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science and was named on the international “Who’s Who in AI” list of influencers. He appears regularly on TV and radio, has been profiled by the New York Times and has authored four books on AI for a general audience, the most recent ones entitled “Machines Behaving Badly” and “Faking It: Artificial Intelligence in a Human World” (Fall 2023). He is a Fellow of the Australia Academy of Science and was named by the newspaper The Australian as one of the “rock stars” of Australia’s digital revolution. He has won both the Humboldt Prize and the NSW Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Engineering and ICT. His Twitter account was voted in the top ten to follow to keep abreast of developments in AI.

toby walsh
Executive Manager Hunter & Central Coast, CBA

Paul Cragg

Paul is an experienced Executive Leader with a track record of delivering financial and business results across organisations and diverse markets.

Paul has over 25 years experience in banking and financial services. He actively engages with key region stakeholders across industry and government to collaboratively work together for the betterment of the local community.

paul cragg
MD ananda advisory and Chair Hunter Angels Limited

Prem Chand

Prem Chand is an experienced Business Leader having worked with international companies holding various leadership roles leading large teams and has extensive knowledge in building teams, new markets and establishing, growing, and transforming businesses. His experience has included living and working globally across various cities and cultures in Asia, UK and Mideast opening new markets and leading growth initiatives.

His journey has taken him from finance, commercial, operational and sales and marketing in the front line to senior executive leadership roles in multinational organisation and private family businesses.

Prem has recently established his advisory business, ananda advisory, which provides advisory and coaching to businesses in Value Creation, Growth, Transformation, Succession and Exit strategies. He also assists start-ups in all aspects from concepts, ideation to commercialisation.

He is active in supporting and growing the next generation of leaders and businesses. He is Chair of Hunter Angels Limited and director at Hunter iF Limited, two organisations which engage in assisting with the economic development of Newcastle and Hunter region. In addition to being an advisory board member for several start-ups, he is a mentor and coach as member of i2N, which is the accelerator arm of University of Newcastle, and he also a mentor for the Dalyell Program at University of Sydney.

Defence Industry Adviser, ODIS

Allan Aaron

Allan is a Defence Industry Adviser with the Office of Defence Industry Support. Allan also serve on several company boards in the technology and social impact space and am a partner in an Australian venture capital company. Allan was formerly an advisor with the $460m Federal Government Accelerating Commercialisation program. For the past 25 years, Allan has assisted emerging companies commercialise Internet, IT & Communications, energy (traditional and clean energy), materials, manufactured products and sustainable technologies. Allan was a founder and partner at Technology Venture Partners, a technology-focussed venture capital investment company which committed over $200 million in investors funds to a range of technology companies.

Allan has been involved in high-growth businesses for the past 30 years, three of which were spent in Silicon Valley in the USA. Previously, Allan spent 8 years in Management Consulting with McKinsey & Company and as a Director of Ernst & Young’s Management and Technology Consulting practice after an early career in professional and systems engineering roles.

Allan holds an Honours degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master of Business Administration. He is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a Masters research degree in Electrical Engineering - Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

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Australia's Ambassador to the United States

H.E. The Hon Dr Kevin Rudd AC

HE the Hon Dr Kevin Rudd AC is Australia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, taking up his posting in Washington in March 2023.

Ambassador Rudd served as Australia’s twenty-sixth Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010, then as Minister for Foreign Affairs, before a second term as Prime Minister in 2013. He was Member for Griffith in the Australian Parliament from 1998 to 2013.

Since leaving government, Ambassador Rudd has resided in the United States where he is recognised as a leading analyst of China. In 2015, he became inaugural President of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. In 2020, he was appointed President and CEO of the Asia Society globally and, in 2022, he founded the Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis.In 2019, Ambassador Rudd was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to Indigenous reconciliation, innovative economic initiatives, and major policy reform, and through senior advisory roles with international organisations. Ambassador Rudd holds honorary positions at the Atlantic Council and Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC; the Asia Society, Schwartzman Scholars and Bloomberg New Economy Forum in New York; the Paulson Institute in Chicago; the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po in Paris, France; the Chancellor Helmut Schmidt Foundation in Hamburg, Germany; and Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra. He is founder and co-chair of an Australian charity, the National Apology Foundation, and a trustee of the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City.

Ambassador Rudd started his diplomatic career in 1981 with postings to Beijing and Stockholm. In 1988, he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Hon Wayne Goss and served him as Premier of Queensland. He was Director-General of the Cabinet Office in Queensland from 1991 to 1995, and Senior China Consultant for KPMG from 1996 to 1998.

Ambassador Rudd graduated with Honours in Asian Studies from the Australian National University and received his PhD from Oxford University in 2022. He also studied at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei.

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Executive Chairman & Chief Executive at Anduril Australia & Asia Pacific

David Goodrich

David Goodrich OAM is the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Anduril APAC. He oversees and drives Anduril’s growth and operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Before Anduril, David advised the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and other Australian and State government entities on dozens of major weapons system acquisition, sustainment and infrastructure contracts. David also served as the Executive Director at Silver Spirit Partners, a company that he founded to develop significant retirement communities and advise on property development and infrastructure projects in New South Wales, most notably the Western Sydney Airport and the redevelopment of Sydney’s Darling Harbour. David currently sits on the advisory board of Gilmour Space Technologies and is the Vice Chairman of the Pathways Foundation.

David graduated from the University of New South Wales’ Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) with an MBA (Exec) after obtaining a Bachelor of Engineering Honours in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sydney. He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for Services to Defence and Services to the Community.

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Former Defence Minister

The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon

First elected to the House of Representatives in 1996, Joel served as Defence Minister and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in the Rudd Government. He also served as Chief Government Whip in the Gillard Government.

Over the course of his 26 years in the Parliament, Joel held a number of Shadow Ministerial positions including Assistant Treasury, Financial Services, Defence, Mining, Energy, Agriculture, Small Business, Tourism and Regional Australia. He was also the Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade.

Joel retired from the House of Representatives in 2022.

the hon joel fitzgibbon mp, member for hunter, new south wales.
Hanwha Defence Australia

Katherine Ziesing

Katherine is an experienced Strategy and Communications leader with a demonstrated history of working in the media industry with a Defence focus. She is skilled in Crisis Communications, Event Management, Media Relations, Journalism, Social Media and Corporate Communications.

Kath is a a strong media and communication professional with a Masters in Strategy and Policy from UNSW @ ADFA, completion of the Defence Industry Study Course (DISC) and an ongoing interest in the Defence community.

 

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Minister for Defence Industry

The Hon Pat Conroy MP

The Hon. Pat Conroy MP is the Minister for Defence Industry, Minister for International Development and the Pacific and the Federal Member for Shortland.

Pat was elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Charlton, New South Wales in 2013 and, following an electoral redistribution, as the Member for Shortland, New South Wales in 2016 and again in 2019 and 2022.

From 2016 to 2019, Pat was Shadow Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy and Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure. In 2019, he was appointed Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Shadow Minister Assisting for Defence and Shadow Minister Assisting for Climate Change and Energy.

From 2008 to 2013, he was Principal Policy Adviser and then Deputy Chief of Staff to the Hon. Greg Combet, AM, MP, who served as a Minister in the Rudd and Gillard Labor Governments. In these roles, Pat worked in developing significant policies in areas including Defence Materiel, Defence Science and Industry and Innovation.

pat conroy
Hunter Defence Taskforce - Chair

Tim Owen

Tim Owen AM is a 32-year services veteran and former Deputy Commander of the Australian forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a highly regarded defence industry consultant with significant expertise in the Australian Defence Force contracting process and experience working with defence primes.

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Speaker Information

If you are speaking at the 2024 Conference, please review the information on the right in relation to your involvement and ensure you have completed the Speaker Confirmation Form below. If you have any questions about your speaking spot, please contact Tim Owen or Bret Barton in the first instance. 

key information

PRESENTATION / TECH
  • Please upload your presentation via the form below 
  • File format: PowerPoint (widescreen 16:9). Video files should be embedded in the presentation but also provided as a separate file in case of any issues 
  • Please ensure you plan your presentation and slides according to your allocated time. Clicker, lectern, and microphone provided. The microphone will be on when you arrive at the lectern 
  • The Emcee will use an edited version of your bio to introduce you  
  • A welcome to country will be provided at the commencement of the Conference. 

We will be holding 30-minute speaker briefing sessions closer to the Conference. Times and login details for these sessions will be communicated with speakers directly. 

  • Please sign in at the registration desk upon arrival 
  • If you are not attending the full Conference/unable to attend registration, please arrive at least 1 hour prior to your speaking session and present to the registration desk 
  • Please contact Merran Wiggins if you have any questions about your attendance whilst at the event: 

    Merran Wiggins,

    Events Manager
    0414 599 636 

A reminder that travel and accommodation arrangement and expenses are the responsibility of individual speakers unless prior arrangements have been made.

Speaker Content

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Confirmation Form

Please complete the form on your right to confirm your involvement in HDC2024.

Please complete the Speaker Confirmation Form before:

AUGUST 7, 2024

If you are providing updated details or submitting your presentation, please use the “Speaker Content Update Form” accessed via the button above.

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