Leanne Coddington is the Chief Executive Officer of Tourism and Events Queensland. Tourism and Events Queensland is a statutory body of the Queensland Government, and its lead marketing, destination and experience development and major events agency. Leanne brings broad industry knowledge to the role with more than 30 years’ experience in the tourism industry. Leanne was previously Group Executive Destination Partnerships, overseeing TEQ’s destination team and partnerships with Queensland’s thirteen regional tourism organisations. Prior to taking the CEO role, Leanne had responsibility for leading destination and experience development, industry innovation, indigenous tourism, tourism in protected areas, aviation, economics and business attraction. Leanne first joined Tourism Queensland in 1996 as the Human Resources Manager. She has also held the positions of Executive Director Strategic Services and Executive Director Human Resources. Leanne’s broad industry experience extends to senior executive responsibilities with the Hyatt Hotel Group, in both Canberra and Melbourne, during the 1980s and 1990s. With a degree in Business (Hospitality Management) from the University of Queensland, Leanne has considerable operational experience in the hospitality industry. Leanne is a graduate with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).
Together with Shayne Neal, Lizzie established the Conservation Ecology Centre in order to develop and deliver solutions to the most urgent conservation challenges in the Otways. With a background in natural sciences (BSc Zool, The University of Melbourne, 2001) she works to facilitate this important work by supporting a team committed to effective conservation and organisational development, building partnerships, and engaging our community. This work was recognised by the Australian Geographic Society Conservation Award in 2007.
Ecotourism plays a critical role in the CEC’s funding and engagement programs – the Centre established the Great Ocean Ecolodge in 2004 (Winner Victorian Tourism Awards for best new development, recognised by National Geographic Traveller as one of the 25 best ecolodges in the world). Lizzie is currently also working the development of a new social enterprise ecotourism venture ‘Wildlife Wonders’ on the Great Ocean Road. Designed by the Greens Master of the Lord of the Rings and Art Director of The Hobbit films, ‘Wildlife Wonders’ will provide outstanding opportunities for conservation and sustainable economic development in the region.
Lizzie is a Director of Ecotourism Australia, Chair of the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority Community Advisory Group and the recipient of the 2005 Prime Minister’s Award for Environmentalist of the Year.
Dr Craik has over 25 years experience in senior roles in public policy. She has held many senior positions including Commissioner at the Productivity Commission, Chief Executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC), President of the National Competition Council (NCC), Chair of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), Executive Director of National Farmers Federation (NFF) and Executive Officer of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). She has been a director on a number of boards. She is currently A board member of the Reserve Bank, Chair of the Climate Change Authority, Chair of the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority, Chair of the Steering Committee for the 10 year program for the Eradication of Red Imported fire Ants, Chair of the NESP Climate Change and Earth Sciences Hub Steering Committee and a Director of the Australian Farm Institute.
Wendy was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 for service to the natural resource sector of the economy, particularly in the areas of fisheries, marine ecology and management of water reform, and for contributions to policies affecting rural and regional Australia.
An award-winning publisher, travel writer and blogger, Deborah also specialises in social media marketing and content management. Travel category specialities include diving, skiing, sustainable travel, family travel and travelling with teens. Destination specialties include Australia, Fiji, Japan, Indonesia, Solomon Islands and Thailand.
Deb is the editor of family travel magazine Out & About with Kids, and also writes regularly for Pacific Island Living, the NZ Herald and several inflight magazines as well as a few tourism blogs, including Tourism Authority Thailand, Australia.com and Queensland.com.
Deb is also a director of Diveplanit.com, a dive travel website that aims to get more people on diving holidays and convert them into ocean advocates.
Dr Claire Ellis is the Deputy Chair of Ecotourism Australia. She has worked for over 35 years in tourism across a variety of roles. During this time, she has been a tourism operator (running her own business in Indonesia), employed by other operators, an academic and researcher, in State Government and is now working as a consultant. As a Director, Infrastructure and Industry Development, at Tourism Tasmania, she oversaw a number of key areas of work including growing the capacity of Tasmania’s tourism industry in the digital environment. Claire has also been Chair of the National Long Term Tourism Strategy’s Destination Management Planning Working Group. During her six years in Tourism Tasmania she worked closely with key projects including the selection and development of the Three Capes Track. Her consultancy work now takes her across Australia as well as overseas. She has built a reputation for creating long term positive outcomes, particularly in regional areas, and works closely with clients and stakeholders supporting strategic improvements. Claire is also a Board member of Australian Wildlife Journeys, Volunteering Tasmania, and NRM Southern Tasmania and an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania.
Jeff is the Chief Executive and Managing Director of the SeaLink Travel Group Limited, a position he has held since early 1997. Jeff is a Chartered Accountant and joined SeaLink following 8 years in Private Practice. Jeff has been instrumental in the development of SeaLink from a ferry and day tour operator to a diversified tourism and transport operator increasing operating revenue from $12.8 million in 1997 to $204 million in 2017.
Key achievements while CEO and Managing Director of SeaLink (1997 to current) include:
Jeff is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been awarded a Life Membership of TTF Australia, won the 2013 South Australian Tourism Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual and is the 2014 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Listed Award for the Central Region.
Leeanne Enoch is the Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science, and Minister for the Arts. She is a proud Quandamooka woman originally from North Stradbroke Island, and on winning the seat of Algester at the 2015 state election became the first Aboriginal woman ever elected to the Queensland Parliament.
She has previously held portfolio responsibilities for Housing and Public Works, Innovation and the Digital Economy, and Small Business. During her previous term in government, she was also the driving force behind the hugely successful Advance Queensland initiative. This transformational agenda supports innovation and entrepreneurialism in vital Queensland sectors such as the environment and science. Off the back of positive job creation and results achieved tackling challenges like reef protection, improving water quality and disease treatment, funding for Advance Queensland now exceeds half a billion dollars.
As a mother to two sons, Ms Enoch understands how important it is to protect our state’s most valuable asset—its natural ecosystems—for this generation and those to come.
Through the roll-out of future-focused, environmentally-conscious initiatives such as Queensland’s plastic bag ban and container refund scheme, and the introduction of stronger nature conservation and environmental protection legislation, she is committed to carrying on the good work of previous Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles.
Prior to entering politics, Ms Enoch worked with the Australian Red Cross, guiding humanitarian policy and programs to improve the lives of Australia’s most vulnerable. She also spent more than a decade as a high school teacher throughout south-east Queensland and east London.
Andrew is an equity lawyer with Hall & Wilcox Solicitors. He has specialised in superannuation for over 30 years, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading superannuation lawyers. Andrew has a deep involvement with the philanthropic sector and a long association as grantor, grantee and trustee. He is Chair of the Sir Andrew Fairley Foundation, and is Deputy Chair of the George Hicks Foundation. He also Chairs the Luke Batty Foundation. Andrew is Chair of FARE (Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education). Established in 2002 by the Howard Government, the Foundation is now the principal research and advocacy body in Australia focusing on stopping harms caused by alcohol. Andrew is Chairman of Equipsuper, an industry superannuation fund with assets under management of $7.5 billion. He is also Chairman of Parks Victoria, the organisation which is responsible for the management of parks representing 18 per cent of the State of Victoria. He is Deputy Chair of Tourism Australia. He also sits on a number of family boards as an independent director, and is the Consul General for Finland in Victoria. In 2015, Andrew was recognised as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for significant service to the community, the law, and philanthropy.
Andrew “Flanno” Flannery joined the Spicers Group in March 2018 to oversee the creation of the new Spicers Eco-Active business. This new arm of the Spicers Group is dedicated to creating iconic outdoor experiences that combine Spicer’s renowned relaxed luxury ethos with the Turner family’s love of the Australian bush. The jewel in Spicers Eco-Active crown will be their new seven-day walking experience which commences in 2019. Prior to Spicers, Andrew was an executive at the Flight Centre Travel Group for 15 years where he served in many senior roles, including Global Chief Financial Officer and Executive General Manager of their Corporate Travel business.
Peter Gash is the managing director of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, situated off the eastern Australian coast. This tiny island, which is in reality a cay made of crushed coral and sediment, is located at the southern tip of the breathtaking and expansive Great Barrier Reef. Peter joined a floatplane business dubbed Seair Pacific in the mid-1980s. Fast-forward five years to 1990 and Peter has bought the business, chartering flights to Lady Musgrave Island, which is located north-west of Lady Elliot Island. Tapping into existing infrastructure, Peter made the decision to ditch floatplanes for those with wheels in the mid-1990s and started offering trips to Lady Elliot Island. The secluded spot already had an airstrip – the only one on the Great Barrier Reef – making the process of chartering flights directly to the island a breeze. It also had accommodation by way of the eco resort, whereas Lady Musgrave Island did not. In August 2005, Peter became the leaseholder of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort along with two other partners. He now co-owns and operates the resort. Peter owns Seair Pacific, offering chartered flights to Lady Elliot Island from a range of departure points in Queensland. In 2011, the resort was a finalist in the Queensland Government Premier’s Climate Smart Sustainability Awards and in 2012 it was a Runner-Up at the Queensland Tourism Awards. It has a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence (2013) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Environmental Tourism last year.
Michael Groom is a Professional Speaker and mountain climber and is unquestionably one of the world’s greatest big mountain climbers. In 1995 he became the fourth person in the world to climb the four highest mountains without the assistance of bottled oxygen and in 1999 he successfully climbed Makalu, the smallest but for Michael, the last of the ‘big five’ - the five highest mountains in the world. Makalu, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga, K2 and Everest - Michael climbed them all without the assistance of bottled oxygen, and all but Kangchenjunga he climbed without the front third of both feet. Michael shares his wealth of knowledge and first hand experiences as a Motivational Speaker. Michael has assisted soldiers going off to war, supported athletes struggling to come back from serious injury and with his powerful story of human endurance he has advised professional people how to get closer to the truth of “no pain no gain”.
Rod has a life-long involvement in tourism, protected areas management and education with lengthy stints as a tour operator, National Park Manager and teacher all over Australia, and many years overseas. He has been involved with Ecotourism Australia since 2001 when he was elected as a Board member (then Deputy Chair) for six years where he created the ‘Tourism in Protected Areas Forum’ (TAPAF) and managed the Annual Conference program. After four years in Papua New Guinea, managing the Kokoda Track, he returned to Ecotourism Australia as its Chief Executive.
Since 1995, Ken Hughey has been a Professor of Environmental Management at Lincoln University, Christchurch, New Zealand. Prior to this, Ken worked for the Department of Conservation. Ken is a member of the Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand and NZ Agribusiness and Resource Economics Society as well as being on the board of the Waihora Ellesmere Trust and a committee member of Hurunui Waiau Water Zone Management. Ken’s areas of expertise include ecology and wildlife management, environmental policy and planning, bird habitat use in braided riverbeds, river values prioritisation, integrated water resources management, with a focus on Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, environmental impacts of tourism and triennial survey of New Zealanders’ perceptions of the state of the environment.
In 2017, Jason Jacobi was appointed as General Manager of Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service. Jason brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, having worked extensively in park management operations and World Heritage areas across Queensland for almost two decades. Jason has also led the Strategy and Policy division in Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and directed several departmental portfolios in the fields of conservation planning, wildlife management, indigenous engagement and outdoor recreation.
The Hon. Kate Jones MP is the Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games. Following the 2017 State Election, Kate was sworn in as the Minister for this new department and also given responsibility for International Education and Digital Economy.
Kate served as Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism and Major Events since 16 February 2015, following the election of the Palaszczuk Government and was announced as Minister for the Commonwealth Games on 10 February 2017. She held the Commonwealth Games and Small Business portfolios in the Palaszczuk Government until 8 December 2015 and served as Minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the Bligh Government.
Kate was elected to the seat of Ashgrove in 2015, having previously held the seat between 2006 and 2012. Kate worked at a family-run grocery store and as an advisor in the Beattie Government before entering parliament. She attended Kelvin Grove State High School and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Journalism at the Queensland University of Technology and a Masters in Environmental Law at Australian National University.
Darren was inspired to explore a career in nature photography by his father’s travels in Antarctica, He now pursues a passion for capturing and sharing the wonder of the natural world.
After graduating from the Queensland College of Art, Darren first worked in commercial photography, before taking up a position as a photographer with the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, where he worked for 8 years.
Moved on in 1994, Darren’s work is now published widely in books, magazines and paper products. He’s had the opportunity to photograph extensively across Australia and in Africa, Alaska, Patagonia and Antarctica and has introduced many people to the world’s great wildlife and landscape destinations first hand, through small group photography tours, predominantly to Africa and Antarctica and the Pacific.
Amanda Martin has worked in philanthropy for over fifteen years, having worked as Executive Officer for the Poola Foundation for four years before helping to establish the AEGN in 2009. She has specialised in environment and Indigenous grantmaking and more recently on building the skills and knowledge of funders on environmental issues as well as building different forms of collaboration. Amanda is a trained and skilled facilitator of groups and regularly uses this in her current role.
Amanda has a background in biodiversity and protected area advocacy and management working in both the public and community sector. She was the Executive Officer of the Victoria National Parks Association, and the Head of Policy and Planning at Parks Victoria. She has a degree in Zoology and post-graduate qualifications in Environment Studies.
Amanda loves the outdoors and finds that fresh air, beautiful places, birds and being underwater gives her a sense of peace and sustenance. Amanda has travelled extensively and knows how lucky we are to have such a biodiverse and clean country to live in. She lives in Melbourne with her partner and daughter and spends time bringing birds back to the suburbs by tending a native garden and walking or cycling where ever she can.
Ross McLennan grew up in a small family tourism business 103 km North West of Townsville called Hidden Valley Cabins. This family business has been owned and operated by the McLennan family since 1986.
After growing up in a remote location the world called and Ross travelled abroad for 4 years, living in England and Canada where he met Chelsea. Returning to Australia in 2006, Ross and Chelsea joined the family business with a vision of niche marketing, expansion of a range of quality products with an environmental theme. That vision proved to be very successful both financially and environmentally.
The resort has also undergone major operational changes. Due to the remote location, Hidden Valley has no town amenities and is totally self-sufficient. In December 2007, Hidden Valley Cabins switched off the diesel generator and moved to an environmentally friendly power source, Solar. Since then the entire resorts electrical needs has been supplied by the sun, saving the resort up to 26000L of diesel and 78 tonnes of C02 per year. In 2011, Hidden Valley Cabins also added an additional 3 deluxe cabins to keep up with demand.
Hidden Valley Cabins now hosts over 1000 international secondary and university students a year on faculty lead study abroad programs.
The resort has also won numerous awards including the Australian and Queensland Tourism Award for Hosted Accommodation and was recognised for Excellence in Sustainability and a Certificate of Recognition from the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh for Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Sustainability.
Kauahi Ngapora is the General Manager of Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd in Kaikoura, New Zealand. Kauahi is of New Zealand Māori descent with Waikato-Tainui and Ngāi Tahu links. Kauahi has been involved within the tourism and marine transport sectors for 25 years with Whale Watch Kaikoura. Kauahi is a member of Te Korowai o Te Tai o Marokura, a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee the Kaikōura Marine Guardians and a member of the Governments Tourism Infrastructure Fund Panel.
Dana leads sales and marketing for Northern Escape Collection, a selection of boutique experiences including Orpheus Island Lodge, Daintree Ecolodge and Mt Mulligan Station, designed to provide visitors with a sustainable yet luxurious break and owned and operated by the Australian family run Morris Group. Dana is also a marketing advisor to the Collection’s parent company Morris Group and its philanthropic arm, Morris Family Foundation.
Dana joined Northern Escape Collection after launching handmade online marketplace Etsy.com in Australia and working in marketing roles for Visit Victoria, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Her career has been defined by encouraging people to try new experiences where they can learn something new and connect with others while doing so.
Dana is passionate about the natural world and the Collection’s philosophy: You can balance profits with a positive impact on communities and the environment.
Ben has more than 20 years of experience in the finance and property industry. He has worked in management, client management and origination roles with local and international institutions that saw him develop skills in project analysis and assessment, investment analysis and execution, relationship management, strategic planning, instigation and ongoing review and business development.
In 2012 Ben began working in the environmental sector as General Manager for the Queensland Trust for Nature where he oversaw the extraction of QTFN from the Qld state government, engage with practical work in establishing wildlife corridors, ecological restoration and biodiversity offsets within QTFN the revolving fund. Ben joined Gainsdale in March this year to assist develop the Turner Foundation, the ecological vehicle of Graham and Jude Turner. The Turner Foundation is currently developing the Hidden Vale UQ Wildlife Facility and the Little Liverpool Range Initiative, a community led wildlife and ecological corridor.
Russell joined the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in 2007 as Chairman and Chief Executive. He is a board member of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
He began diving on the Great Barrier Reef in 1968 and worked as a research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in the 1980s studying the ecology of coral reefs, particularly the crown-of-thorns starfish. He has a PhD in marine science and has served as CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Chairman of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and as a member of Australia’s State of the Environment Committee.
He has previously chaired the National Oceans Advisory Group, CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship Advisory Committee and Seafood Services Australia Ltd. He is an Adjunct Professor at James Cook University and the University of Queensland; and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (UK), and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Andy Ridley is CEO of a new foundation - Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. The organisation is being developed to engage millions in the future of the reef, and by implication the future of our planet. Central to the development of the organisation will be the use of digital connectivity and the role of the circular economy in reducing emissions and providing a prosperous future both in the region and globally. A focal point is the use of digital to activate citizens behind our common purpose. Launch will be late 2017.
Prior to this Andy led the rapid growth and evolution of Circle Economy in Amsterdam. He believes the circular economy provides many of the answers to some of the biggest environmental challenges that we face as population grows beyond 9 billion, and we address the great generational challenges such as climate change. At Circle Economy, they focused on practical and scaleable tools and programs to help accelerate the adoption of the circular economy in cities, businesses and communities around the globe. These circular principles form the base for his work on the Reef.
As founder and CEO of Earth Hour, Andy spent eight years growing the award-winning campaign from concept and inaugural event in Sydney, to the largest mass participation movement in history, engaging hundreds of millions of people in more than 7000 cities on every continent. Earth Hour was not only a ‘lights off hour’ but also delivered significant environmental outcomes through local digital and on the ground campaigns in multiple countries around the world, including leading to the protection of several protected areas in South America and Russia.
Initiated by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), a state enterprise with a mandate to promote the Thai tourism industry, the two-decade biennial “Thailand Tourism Awards” Project is a means to promote quality and excellence in tourism goods and services across the supply chain. The judging criteria are based on sustainability management in 4 aspects: environmentally-friendly tourism practices, social and cultural impact, local participation, and corporate social responsibility. In addition, value-added criterion, promoting creativity and innovation, as well as, modern marketing strategies, are also taken into account. In this connection, among the awards of excellence in management, community’s strength, maintaining and practicing cultural identity, as well as, economically and socially raising the community’s living standard with tourism, the community-based tourism management of the Buddhist community in Khlong Daen, Songkhla province, was chosen by TAT as a case study for building a community structure (Khlong Daen Model). It is targeted as a role model for other communities to create constructive and sustainable tourism, new quality tourist attractions, as well as, adjusting the country’s position to become a “Preferred Destination” in accordance with TAT’s vision.
Mr. Nithee Seeprae is the Executive Director of Product Promotion Department for the Tourism Authority of Thailand. He has a background as a policies maker and experience with strategy plans to promote tourism product and developing tourism attractions and services to support those plans and policies.
Born in 1974 to an English father and Guyanese mother. Educated at the London Institute of Arts and graduated with a BA Honours degree in Sculpture. Jason is also a fully qualified diving instructor, underwater naturalist and award winning underwater photographer.
In 2006, Jason founded and created the world’s first underwater sculpture park off the coast of Grenada in the West Indies. 5 years later National Geographic now lists it as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World. His second project MUSA was also subsequently described by Forbes in 2011 as one of the world’s most unique travel destinations. Both these ambitious, permanent public works have a practical, functional aspect, facilitating positive interactions between people and fragile underwater habitats while at the same relieving pressure on natural resources.
Numerous publications and documentaries have featured his extraordinary work, including the BBC, CNN, USA Today, The Guardian, Vogue, New Scientist and the Discovery Channel. His pioneering public art projects are not only examples of successful marine conservation, but inspirational works of art that seek to encourage environmental awareness, instigate social change and lead us to appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty of the underwater world.
A graduate in Economics from University of London in 1977, Albert Teo has been in the tourism industry for the last forty one years.
His companies Borneo Eco Tours (1991) and Sukau Rainforest Lodge (1995), a charter member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World have both won numerous international ecotourism awards including the 2012 SKÅL International Sustainable Development in Tourism Award for Tour Operator, 2015 PATA Tourism InSPIRE Awards 2015 - Best Independent Accommodation, Asia’s Leading Green Hotel at the 17th World Travel Award 2010.
Albert is presently focusing his energy on developing social entrepreneurship through his community/environment foundation, Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies or BEST Society. www.bestsociety.org . Among its many projects is the integrated community-based tourism project ‘Kiulu Farmstay’, and the 7.7 acres of forested land which BEST Society has initiated in 2017 under Borneo Land Conservancy (BLC) for the purpose of wildlife conservation in Sukau. BEST Society received the 2013 UNWTO Ulysses Award for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organizations.
Albert is also Fellow/Adjunct Lecturer of Edith Cowan University, Australia and Adjunct Professor of University Malaysia Sabah.
Darrell Wade served as the Chief Executive Officer and director of Peak Adventure Travel Group Limited. Darrell co-founded Intrepid Travel Pty. Ltd., in 1989 and served as its Chief Executive Officer. He now serves as Director of Intrepid Travel Pty. Ltd. He also serves as Member of Advisory at Melbourne Accelerator Program. He has previously held the position of Director of Parks Victoria from November 10, 2015 until July 18, 2016. In 2002, he won the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Darrell holds Bachelor of Economics from University of Melbourne.