National Aquatic & Recreation Conference Speakers 

Conference Speakers & Panellists:

Alison Dixon

Chief Executive Officer, Western Leisure Services

Panel Discussion: Provider panel, including Council and commercial exploring the innovations they can bring to local government and the community

With extensive leadership and management experience gained in both the public and private sectors, Alison was a founding member of the Western Leisure Services (WLS) team.

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Prior to joining WLS in 2014 as General Manager Corporate Services, Alison held management positions with Wyndham City Council, Lion Nathan, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and Orica. She holds post-graduate qualifications in HR/IR and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Beau Newell

National Program Manager, Pride in Sport Australia

Panel Discussion: Top three issues identified by the audience

Beau Newell is the National Program Manager of Pride in Sport Australia, an Australian first sporting inclusion program specifically designed to assist sporting organisations (national, state, regional, elite, academies, foundations, and clubs) with the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) employees, players, volunteers and spectators.

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In a world first, the Pride in Sport Index (PSI) is the first and only benchmarking instrument specifically designed to assess the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) people within Australian sport and sporting organisations. Participating in the index allows Australian sporting organisations to not only assess their own practice, but determine that which constitutes good practice, along with the ability to benchmark their own initiatives against an external measure and other sporting organisations.

Beau’s involvement in sport began at a young age as a player, referee, coach, selector and administrator of several sporting codes. He currently holds several positions in the sporting industry including Chairman/Director of a Regional Sporting Organisation, Life Membership of several associations and a consultant for volunteer management. In 2011, Beau founded NSW Sport & Event Management which has since grown into a powerhouse for business operational support of community sporting clubs across NSW. Having previously worked for a State Sporting Organisation and an Advisory Group member for an NSO, his knowledge and understanding of the sporting landscape is extensive. In the years leading into the Marriage Equality debate, Beau and his Partner pioneered LGBTI+ rights advocacy in regional and rural NSW becoming the spokesperson for many outspoken LGBTI+ individuals in country Australia which led to Beau being nationally recognised for his contribution for his LGBTI advocacy at the Australian Honour Awards.

Brett Diprose

Senior ArchitectWarren and Mahoney

Presentation Title: Blue sky vision from Australia on what will the next generation of facilities look like for local communities 

David Cashmere

Senior Recreation Contract Manager, Boroondara City Council

Presentation Title: Major redevelopments – By 2022, Boroondara will have invested $110 million on its centres in just 10 years. What can go wrong?

 David Cashmere’s passion and experience in managing diverse community and recreation portfolios has been exemplified over 25 years through his work with a range of organisations across the public and private sector.

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David was previously a successful Business Services Manager in the not-for-profit sector and has extensive experience in the disability and social justice arenas. He has also managed the delivery of diverse commercial recreation programs, services and facilities to the international community in Japan.

As the Senior Recreation Contract Manager with the City of Boroondara, David has the responsibility for planning, managing, developing and promoting leisure facilities and services to the community. Over the past 10 years David has been integral to the successful delivery of the council’s four major aquatic and recreation centre redevelopments.

David Sheils

Manager Parks and RecreationHornsby Shire Council

Presentation Title: What is the contemporary role of local government? The provision of community facilities for the future around health, community wellbeing
/ development, active recreation and sport.

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rest of bio…

Kim Critchley

Aquatic and Leisure Services Contract Manager, Moreland City Council

Panel Discussion: Top three issues identified by the audience.

 

Lincoln Fitzgerald

Manager, Active & Healthy Lifestyles City of Greater Bendigo

Presentation Title: Design for Regional facilities need to be affordable – Greater Bendigo City Council has developed a culture and process for pragmatically assessing their future needs and then aligning the design of new leisure facilities with their budget, which is substantially lower than metro-counterparts. Exploring if there are secrets or just a pragmatic and logical process.

Matt Griffiths

General Manager, Aquatics Royal Life Saving Society NSW Branch

Presentation Title: How to design safety into buildings – The balance between functionality and architectural design needs to ensure that the operational requirement and safety is also addressed. How can they work together?

Mike King

Director, Otium Planning

Presentation Title: Understanding differences between metropolitan, regional, neighbourhood and country needs – Exploring what different components, design and infrastructure are needed to ensure market penetration to get more people active in local communities.

Originally trained as a secondary school Physical Education, Recreation and Health Teacher Michael worked in Local Government Recreation Services at the Shire of Kyneton (1980 to 1982) and the City of South Barwon (1982 to 1991).

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In 1991, he set up Michael King and Associates Leisure Planners before becoming a Founding Director of the SGL Consulting Group Australia and New Zealand from 1993 to 2015. 

In 2015, he became one of four founding Directors of a contemporary new sport and leisure planning company Otium Planning Group Pty Ltd Australasia.

Over his 39 years in the leisure industry he has developed into an experienced leisure and tourism planner who has undertaken an extensive range of projects in all States of Australia, New Zealand, North America, China, the South Pacific and United Arab Emirates.   

Michael has been involved in all areas of leisure, sport and recreation planning with a specialist focus on aquatic and leisure facility development, design, management and viability analysis.

Michael has a reputation for providing “Practical and leading edge solutions for difficult and complex leisure problems”.  

Throughout his planning career Michael has also been involved with planning and development of a large array of successful high use and sustainable major aquatic, leisure, sport and community facilities across Australasia and the South Pacific.

Nick Cox

Chief Executive Officer, Belgravia Leisure

Presentation Title: Future partners in the planning, development and management of facilities – Should this include education sites, commercial developers, and others?

Panel Discussion: Provider panel, including Council and commercial exploring the innovations they can bring to local government and the community.

Sam Taylor

Senior Coordinator, Recreation and Wellbeing – Boroondara City Council

Presentation Title: Major redevelopments – By 2022, Boroondara will have invested $110 million on its centres in just 10 years. What can go wrong?

Sam Taylor has been working in the leisure industry for 20 years.

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The first 13 of these were in the UK where he worked within a large leisure organisation managing large leisure facilities on behalf of Local Governments.

He was involved in the opening of a number of major facilities before moving to Australia in 2011, including the facilities that hosted the 2012 Olympics.

Sam now works on the other side of the fence as Senior Coordinator of Recreation and Wellbeing at the City of Boroondara. This role has a number of responsibilities including ensuring strategies and policies are up-to-date and deliver positive outcomes for the community.

He is also responsible for planning and developing infrastructure priorities that are underpinned by community consultation and engagement.

During the last 7 years at the City of Boroondara Sam has been involved in facility renewal projects ranging from small pavilions to major aquatic centres, with a combined budget well in excess of $100 million.

Through these projects he has seen first hand some of the key mistakes that can be made and has a wealth of learnings to share with the industry.

Shane Dunne

Chief Executive Officer, Aligned Leisure

Panel Discussion: Provider panel, including Council and commercial exploring the innovations they can bring to local government and the community.

Shane is an accomplished executive with over 17 years’ experience leading teams in sport and leisure.

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Shane has been responsible for the establishment of Aligned Leisure and operational performance since inception where he is now Chief Executive.

Since 2014, as General Manager – Aligned Leisure & Education of the Richmond Football Club, Shane has supported the clubs crowd, membership and retail strategies. He also now leads the clubs education arm, leading the establishment of the Richmond Institute of Sports Leadership.

As a former Regional Development Manager with the YMCA, Shane was responsible for the operational management of 22 facilities in the north and west of Melbourne, regional Victoria and Adelaide. This portfolio of operations included a management team of 25 who oversaw almost 1,600 staff. He started his sports career at the facility which is now Eagle Stadium in Werribee as a sports coach and basketball referee.

Shane is also a director of Life Saving Victoria supporting LSV to ensure all Victorian communities can safely enjoy aquatic environments.

Shelley Tilbrook

Head of Marketing and Engagement Partnerships, Swimming Australia

Presentation Title: An NSO developed App to enhance the participant experience – The ability to track swimming time and engage with other like-minded people. The launch of this new app has the capability of integrating to Apple and Fitbit smart watches, and users can sync directly to their dashboards to track their fitness goals. Can other sports learn from this?

Simon Duck

Group Manager, Aquatic Services – Inner West Council

Presentation Title: What would a community wellbeing centre look like if we are serious about improving the health of our communities?

Simon originally completed a degree in the field of Sports Management and has worked in the Aquatics and Leisure Industry for 25 years. 

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During this time, Simon has worked for private companies managing leisure facilities via contract and directly for local government within Council settings. This includes managing over 20 Aquatics and Leisure Centres as stand-alone sites or multisite operations as part of a region. Financial modelling, public tendering and operation of aquatics and leisure facilities have been key elements of Simon’s management experience as well having worked on the refurbishment, redevelopment and operational launch of 6 Aquatics and Leisure Centres.

Steve McDonald

Associate Director, NS Group

Presentation Title: Cost management designs that can save millions over the life of the building – The importance of understanding the design on the management of a facility at the earliest stages.

Steven Head

General Manager, Hornsby City Council

Presentation Title: What is the contemporary role of local government? The provision of community facilities for the future around health, community wellbeing / development, active recreation and sport.

Susannah Le Bron

Chief Executive Officer, YMCA NSW

Presentation Title: Integration with local government health and wellbeing strategies – Aligning needs with the opportunities facilities bring to more than just sport and recreation. Learnings of how the YMCA collaborated with Broken Hill Council to bring a holistic leisure facility to the community.

Panel Discussion: Provider panel, including Council and commercial exploring the innovations they can bring to local government and the community.

Susannah Le Bron has more than 18 years of senior leadership experience including strategy development, operations and customer service delivery and innovation. 

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Prior to joining YMCA NSW, Susannah was Executive Director Customer Service with Sydney Trains, Transport for NSW.

She was responsible for the leadership and accountability of 2,431 frontline customer service representatives across 178 stations and the experiences of more than one million travellers each day.

For almost 15 years she held senior managerial roles at QANTAS including introducing innovations in customer service, relationship management and program transformation.

Susannah believes the customer should always be placed at the centre and she has a strong desire to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of communities, including its most vulnerable members.

Todd McHardy

Chief Executive Officer, BlueFit

Presentation Title: Provider panel, including Council and commercial exploring the innovations they can bring to local government and the community.

Warren Green

Director, Warren Green Consulting

Presentation Title: Overview of models and options in the Australian market.

Warren Green has been a specialist industry consultant since 2006 and established his own business in 2013.

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Prior to 2006, Warren was a manager of several major community facilities including MSAC up until the Commonwealth Games. 

 Warren’s consulting experience is exceptionally broad and unique and as an example includes:

  • Seven years on the planning of the Western Australia Cockburn ARC development.
  • Support for the planning of the URBNSurf surfing lagoon which is due to open in Melbourne later this year.
  • A client representative for a major leisure and tourism development in Fiji and:
  • Extensive local government support in the planning of community infrastructure projects.

Warren prides himself on adding exceptional value to projects by providing practical, strategic and commercially sound advice from front-end feasibility and business case development through to funding procurement and project establishment.