Building resilient communities and tackling unemployment
through an adaptive, innovative and multi-sector approach

Australia has several ongoing challenges caused due to natural disasters and now a global pandemic that effectively stalled large portions of the economy last year. Economic recovery and development is now a top priority for communities across the country as they look to rebound from what has been a devastating year. Although the first steps towards recovery have been taken, with economic stimulus about to be withdrawn there are estimates that suggest that it may be years before the Australian economy rebounds and thrives again.


With the Budget for 2021 focusing primarily on a business-led economic recovery it will be essential to tackle challenges to employment, build up the resilience of businesses and regulate flexibly to help communities to flourish and get people back into jobs. It’s also critical that Australia is able to drive digital transformation, create employment pathways and support disproportionately impacted citizens as a part of its economic recovery plan. 


The 8th National Economic Recovery and Development Forum will address the key challenges to tackling economic recovery and development in Australia and ensuring that communities, businesses and individuals are appropriately supported. Delegates will gain tools and strategies to drive a business led economic recovery, stimulate long-term productivity growth, rebuild consumer and investor faith and develop effective cross-sector collaborations. 

Attend this forum and learn how to:

Support communities across Australia for a business-led recovery

Boost Australia’s key industries for increased productivity and employment

Build the capacity and capability of Australian businesses for increased growth

Collaborate to support Indigenous businesses and employees

Drive the creation of additional meaningful employment opportunities

Hear from 40+ Economic Development leaders

Cherelle Murphy

Chief Economist


Joann Wilkie

Deputy Secretary Economic Strategy and Productivity

NSW Treasury

Amy Brown

Chief Executive Officer

Investment NSW

Troy Rugless

Director and Chief Executive Officer

PSG Holdings

William Hansen


Yonga Djena

Hon Bill Johnston MLA

Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Energy, Corrective Services

Parliament of WA

Dr Ross Lambie

Chief Economist

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Vice Chair of Business

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Economic Policy Committee

Tim Milsom

Chief Executive Officer

Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Amanda Healy

Chief Executive Officer


Major General Andrew Hocking

Deputy Coordinator National Bushfire Recovery Agency

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Shelagh Magadza

Executive Director

WA Chamber of Arts and Culture

Kathy Hoare

Director State Workforce Planning

WA Department of Training and Workforce Development

Tanya Steinbeck

Chief Executive Officer

Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA)

Professor Donna Chung

Professor of Social Work and Social Policy

Curtin University


Women's Council

Shaun Cumming

Director Aboriginal Economic Wellbeing

NSW Treasury

Gerard Matera

Founder and Director

Marawar Building Services

Founder and Director

Eon Protection

Founder and Director

Boya Energy

Rhys Turton

Deputy Chair

Grain Growers

Kate Ingham

Director Strategic Advisory Services

WA Department of Finance

Piers Verstegen

Executive Director

Conservation Council WA

Gerry Georgatos

National Coordinator

The National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project

Dr John Cowie

Project Director Brisbane's Economic Recovery Taskforce

Brisbane City Council

Milton Milloy

General Manager

Midwest Employment and Economic Development Aboriginal Corporation (MEEDAC)

Frank Mitchell

Cofounder and Director

Kardan Construction

Cofounder and Director



Wilco Electrical

Nicole Lockwood


Freight and Logistics Council WA

Zoë Moses

Visiting Fellow School of Humanities and Social Sciences

University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy

Cath Hart

Regional Executive Director

Housing Industry Association

John Langoulant AO


Infrastructure WA

Graham Atkinson




08:00 AM | Registrations open  


08:30 AM | Welcome to Country 


08:50 AM | Opening remarks from the Chair 
Nicole Lockwood, Chair, Freight and Logistics Council WA 

Driving Australia’s economic recovery 


09:20 AM Opening Keynote | Mapping the economic recovery of Australia in 2021 and beyond

  • Discussing the outlook and path to recovery for the Australian economy in 2021 
  • Transitioning past stimulus measures into a strong economic recovery 
  • Assessing the progress that has been made and identifying areas for improvement

Ross Lambie, Chief Economist, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice Chair of Business, The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Economic Policy Committee 


09:50 AM | Examining the economic reform priorities and opportunities for governments post-COVID-19

  • Understanding the social impacts of a pandemic and linking it to the broader economic performance 
  • Harnessing opportunities for strategic economic development in place-based planning 
  • Addressing the wellbeing of communities as a part of a holistic economic recovery strategy 
  • Harnessing partnerships with the private sector and industries to promote economic growth
    Amy Brown,Chief Executive Officer, Investment NSW


10:20 AM | Driving economic growth and creating jobs in NSW – Discussing the 3Ps and a pandemic 

  • Restoring economic growth and creating jobs in NSW 
  • Understanding and overcoming pandemic impacts on the growth fundamentals 
  • Examining how the pandemic has affected megatrends and what it means for the state. 
  • Setting up the state for success by building a resilient, flexible and productive economy 

Joanne Wilkie, Deputy Secretary Economic Strategy and Productivity, NSW Treasury 


10:50 AM | Morning refreshments


Supporting Businesses and Communities 

Chair: Nicole Lockwood, Chair, Freight and Logistics Council Australia

Creating new employment opportunities 

Chair: Milton Milloy, General Manager, Midwest Employment and Economic, Development Aboriginal Corporation (MEEDAC)

11:20 AM 

11:20 AM 

Adapting to changing circumstances by cultivating economic resilience in communities 


  • Understanding the barriers and inhibitors of resilience 
  • Developing partnerships to provide small businesses with governance and strategy training 
  • The role of digital transformation in boosting business resilience 

Gerard Matera, Founder and Director, Marawar Building Services, Founder and Director, Eon Protection, Founder and Director, Boya Energy 



Creating an increased number of openings and 

opportunities to address unemployment across 



  • Increasing the number of attractive job opportunities in sectors currently experiencing a labour shortfall 
  • Tackling Indigenous unemployment by connecting skilled workers with suitable opportunities 
  • Creating opportunities that are fairly paid, secure, motivating and which utilise skilled labour 
  • Tackling job creation in a post-recession economy where profits have dropped and supports are scaled back 


Amanda HealyChief Executive OfficerWarrikal 

12:00 PM 

12:00 PM 

Driving the contribution of local councils to the recovery of cities over the next few years 

  • Easing the financial burden on businesses to support local jobs 
  • Implementing recovery initiatives based on feedback from businesses and industry 
  • Delivering sustainable growth by investing in long-term strategies and projects 


Dr John Cowie, Project Director Brisbane’s 

Economic Recovery Taskforce, Brisbane City Council 

Exploring the impact of the economic downturn on women

  • Understanding the impact of the public health crisis on
    the wage gap between men and women
  • Mitigating the disproportionate impact of job losses on
    the female workforce
  • Examining how workforces of the future can effectively and equitably support women

Professor Donna Chung, Professor of Social Work and Social Policy, Curtin University, Member, Women’s Council

12:40 PM | Networking Luncheon


Supporting communities through a business-led recovery 

Creating new employment opportunities 

1:40 PM 

1:40 PM 

Case Study: Initiatives for cross-sector collaboration to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses 


  • Meeting the needs of Indigenous businesses to create business sector growth 
  • Identifying the challenges that Indigenous businesses face and increasing their access to government supports 
  • Examining the potential for cross-sector collaborations to improve outcomes for Indigenous businesses and what determines successful partnerships 


Graham Atkinson, Chair, Barpa

Achieving a renewables-led recovery to drive economic growth 


  • Bolstering jobs and recovery strategies with measures to reduce emissions and accelerate successful energy transitions 
  • Revitalising the economy through the creation of “green” jobs, energy security and strengthening resilience to future disasters 
  • Utilising the job-intensive nature of sustainable energy upgrades as economic stimulus 
  • Leveraging the accelerated post-COVID-19 transition to clean energy within the power sector


Piers Verstegen, Executive Director, Conservation Council WA 

2:20 PM 

2:20 PM 

Developing business capability in the face of procurement 

  • Exploring the business prerequisites required in federal, state and private procurement 
  • Discovering how to build business infrastructure in order to undertake large procurement contracts 
  • Realising the support services available to Indigenous start-ups and how to access them 


William Hansen, Director, Yonga Djena 

The direct economic benefits of arts and culture to states and communities  


  • Preparing workers for roles in the contemporary workforce 
  • Incorporating the arts into a State Tourism Strategy 
  • Realising the full potential and benefits of the arts and culture sector 


Shelagh Magadza, Executive Director, WA Chamber of Arts and Culture 


3:00 PM | Afternoon refreshments


3:30 PM | Panel discussion
Sustaining, growing and investing in your business in an uncertain economic climate 

  • Leveraging new economic models in a rapidly changing environment to sustain businesses in the face of uncertainty 
  • Assessing risk with the value associated with innovation and entrepreneurship 
  • Responding quickly to challenges and seizing opportunities 

Troy Rugless, Director and Chief Executive Officer, PSG Holdings 

Frank Mitchell, Co-Founder and Director, Kardan Construction, Co-Founder and Director,  BaldjaDirector, Wilco Electrical 

Gerry Georgatos, National Coordinator, The National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project 

Milton Milloy, General Manager, Midwest Employment and Economic Development Aboriginal Corporation (MEEDAC) 


4:10 PM | Examining the impact of COVID-19 on global logistics and envisioning what future freight flows will look like 

  • Leveraging the role of logistics in enabling Australia’s economic activity 
  • Creating jobs through streamlined freight and logistics systems 
  • Developing safe, efficient and sustainable supply chains 

Nicole Lockwood, Chair, Freight and Logistics Council WA 


4:50 PM | Supporting Indigenous Australians in the workplace during and after economic recovery 

  • Creating mentorship opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees 
  • Providing working environments that are professional and culturally safe 
  • Understanding cultural adjustments and expectations for Indigenous employees working at mainstream organisations 
  • Promoting the career development and advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees 

Milton Milloy, General Manager, Midwest Employment and Economic Development Aboriginal Corporation (MEEDAC) 


5:30 PM | Closing remarks from Chair and end of day one 

08:00 AM | Registrations open  


09:00 AM | Opening remarks from the Chair 
Tanya Steinbeck, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA)


09:10 AM Keynote | When crisis has been ongoing: Unpacking recovery in the context of multiple disasters 

  • Understanding and managing the complex impacts of multiple disasters on communities 
  • Tackling the reality of recovery from multiple disasters – coordinating recovery and rebuild activities 
  • Developing a long-term plan for the recovery and resilience of bushfire affected communities in the absence of social connectedness 
  • Developing a cross-sector approach to provide communities with access to support services 

Major General Andrew Hocking, Deputy Coordinator National Bushfire Recovery Agency, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet 


09:40 AM Keynote | Maximising tourism’s contribution to the Australian economy post COVID-19 and bushfires 

  • Prioritising recovery effort for the tourism sector and stimulating domestic tourism 
  • Developing policy, attracting investment and providing research to grow Australia’s tourism market share 
  • Innovating and building long-term sustainable growth in the tourism sector 

Cherelle MurphyChief Economist, Austrade 


10:10 AM | Boosting the capacity and capability of Indigenous businesses 

  • Building strong business networks to increase the capacity to scale your business 
  • Realising the growth potential of Indigenous businesses and increasing their representation in Australia’s economic landscape 
  • Encouraging innovation and positive risk taking as an essential component of capacity building 

Gerry Georgatos, National Coordinator, The National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project 


10:40 AM | Morning refreshments 


Driving economic growth through key industries 

Chair: Tanya Steinbeck, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Development Institute of Australia

Attracting, retaining and supporting employees in the workforce 

Chair: Milton Milloy, General Manager, Midwest Employment and Economic Development Aboriginal Corporation (MEEDAC)

11:10 AM 

11:10 AM 

The role of construction in economic recovery and improved social outcomes 


  • Utilising the labour intensive nature of construction to activate and fuel the domestic economy 
  • Creating opportunities for investment and profit generation 
  • Aligning the opportunities for achieving economic growth with improved social and community outcomes 


Troy Rugless, Director and Chief Executive Officer, PSG Holdings 


Effectively engaging Aboriginal employees at mainstream organisations

  • Understanding the Aboriginal enagement process and the factors to be considered
  • Outlining cultural protocol with aboriginal communities and elders
  • How to get the best out of your Aboriginal employees


Tim Milsom, Executive Officer, Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry


11:50 AM 

11:50 AM 

Using investments in infrastructure as an economic stimulus 


  • Realising the quick stimulatory benefits of repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure 
  • Boosting economic prospects in the medium and long-term through improved facilities and connectivity 
  • Removing administrative hurdles and utilising flexible procurement measures to deliver shovel ready projects 


Tanya Steinbeck, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA)


Creating new employment pathways to enable individuals to find a secure footing in the workplace


  • Creating close connections between training and employment programs and genuine employment opportunities 
  • Developing employment pathways in culturally sensitive sectors 
  • Increasing the use of apprenticeships and traineeships across industries 
  • Exploring alternative pathways/training methods that support industries to develop in-time skilled workers 
  • Equipping the training system to be more responsive to increased demand for skilled labour 


Kathy Hoare, Director State Workforce Planning, WA Department of Training and Workforce Development 

12:30 PM | Networking Luncheon 

1:30 PM 

1:30 PM 

The Australian agricultural sector as a core component to economic rebuild 

  • Ensuring the resilience of agricultural trade in an uncertain economic climate 
  • Navigating recovery in the context of droughts and bushfires 
  • Realising the full potential of Australian food production and agribusiness 


Rhys Turton, Deputy Chair, Grain Growers


Increasing the participation of Indigenous Australians in the workforce 


  • Developing a strategy around diversity and inclusion to increase Indigenous engagement in recruitment 
  • Diversifying and strengthening pathways into employment for Indigenous Australians 
  • Increasing Indigenous Australian retention rates in the workforce 

Shaun Cumming, Director Aboriginal Economic Wellbeing, NSW Treasury 

2:10 PM 

2:10 PM 

Infrastructure projects that drive improved 

efficiency and productivity


  • Outlining best practice project selection, streamlined delivery and best practice use of existing investments 
  • Creating short-term demand and long-term supply 
  • Infrastructure projects as a means to achieve broader economic and social benefits 


John Langoulant AOChair, Infrastructure WA 

Creating strong Indigenous workforces for 

mainstream businesses 


  • Developing strategies to build and maintain a strong Aboriginal workforce 
  • Discovering how to meet Aboriginal participation targets through culturally sensitive recruitment 
  • Outlining the training, mentoring and skills development essential to Indigenous employees 


Frank Mitchell, Co-Founder and Director, Kardan Construction, Co-Founder and Director,  BaldjaDirector, Wilco Electrical 


2:50 PM | Afternoon refreshments 

3:20 PM | Panel discussion
The power of cross-sector collaboration for economic recovery in disaster response 

  • Enabling a community focused approach to disaster preparedness, response and recovery 
  • Leveraging agile cross-sector collaborations that ensure clarity on objectives 
  • Develop ways to better collaborate and work together 

Rhys Turton, Deputy Chair, Grain Growers

Amanda healy, Chief Executive Officer, Warrikal 

Cath Hart, Regional Executive Director, Housing Industry Association 

Kate Ingham, Director Strategic Advisory Services, WA Department of Finance 


4:10 PM | Identifying opportunities to contract with the WA state government 

  • Reviewing the benefits of the government’s procurement policy for mainstream and Aboriginal businesses 
  • Addressing upcoming targets and opportunities 
  • Exploring how businesses can be engaged in and prepared for contracting with government, including access to resources and support services 

Kate Ingham, Director Strategic Advisory Services, WA Department of Finance 


4:50 PM | Understanding and managing the complex impacts of multiple disasters on communities 

  • A case study analysis of post-conflict Philippines and the Black Summer bushfires and the lessons learned from their recovery 
  • Taking a systems-based approach to understanding the challenges involved in economic recovery  

 Zoë Moses, Visiting Fellow School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy 


5:30 PM | Closing remarks from Chair and end of day two

9:00 AM-12:00 PM | Workshop A 

Creating strong partnerships to effectively collaborate across sectors 


As organisations across sectors look to navigate an unprecedented economic climate, it has become increasingly evident that the success of each sector is intertwined. Organisations looking to grow, leverage their strengths and boost their capabilities are navigating increasingly complex challenges that cannot be solved alone. Effectively creating strong partnerships across sectors will therefore, be one of the most fundamental skills to navigating economic recovery and growth. 

This collaborative workshop will give participants a hands-on opportunity to discover how to identify the best instances to collaborate, 

develop robust and mutually beneficial partnerships and achieve shared goals. 


Attendees to this workshop will learn how to: 

  • Develop well-designed and elective cross sector partnerships 
  • Leverage partnerships to develop capacity and scale 
  • Create a shared sense of direction 
  • Reinforce and capitalise on collective strengths 


Tim Milsom, Executive Officer, Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry 


1:00 PM-4:00 PM | Workshop B   

Supporting Indigenous employees through wellbeing and engagement frameworks 


Genuine engagement from Aboriginal employees is an essential component of ensuring employee wellbeing and satisfaction at work. For this to take place, it’s essential that employers are able to understand the needs of their Indigenous employees, listen openly and empathetically and understand how organisational culture needs to change. 


This collaborative workshop will give participants insight into the factors that cultivate engagement within Aboriginal employees, sustain relationships based on trust and integrity and the cultural competencies required to respond effectively to Indigenous cultures and social dynamics. 


Attendees to this workshop will learn how to: 


  • Understand Indigenous concepts of wellbeing and how it can be achieved 
  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with Indigenous employees 
  • Successfully adapt aspects of organisational culture that inhibit Aboriginal engagement 
  • Build the cultural competence necessary for genuine and honest relationships 


Shaun Cumming, Director Aboriginal Economic Wellbeing, NSW Treasury 

Who should attend:

Chief Executive Officers, General Managers, Directors and Heads of:

  • Employment Policy
  • Economic Recovery/Development/Policy
  • Community Engagement
  • Indigenous Affairs
  • Planning
  • Skills and Training
  • People and Culture/HR/Workforce/Employee Engagement


  • Federal Government
  • State Government
  • Local Government
  • Aboriginal Councils
  • Infrastructure
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Sustainable/Renewable Energy
  • Mining
  • Group Training Organisations
  • TAFE/VET/Universities


Early bird discount

Book now and save $500

Team discount 

Register 3-4 delegates and receive an additional 15% DISCOUNT off the standard price
Register 5-7 delegates and receive an additional 20% DISCOUNT off the standard price

Become a sponsor

Bring your brand, product or solution as part of the National Economic Recovery and Development Forum.

to the Event



+61 02 9247 6000


In-Person and Live-streamed