Tony Walker is Chief Executive Officer of Ambulance Victoria. He has over 30 years’ experience working in a range of senior clinical governance, education and operational roles and holds an adjunct appointment as Associate Professor in the College of Health and Biomedicine at Victoria University. Tony is a Fellow of Paramedics Australasia, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and Board member of the Emergency Services Foundation, the Council of Ambulance Authorities and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. He is a recipient of the Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) for his contribution to the development of ambulance services at a state and national level.
Australian Federal Police
Dr Katrina Sanders is the Chief Medical Officer, Australian Federal Police (AFP), with over ten years clinical and leadership experience in operational organisations. She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners with a Masters Degree in Public Health specialising in the health of operational forces.
As Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sanders provides strategic health advice and protection to domestic and international operations for the AFP. She is responsible for holistic health services including occupational health, operational health support and psychological services. Extensive occupational experience makes Dr Sanders current, innovative and challenging in her approach to the health needs of operationally focused organisations
Department of Defence
David Morton is the Director General of Mental Health, Psychology and Rehabilitation who works to improve mental health and rehabilitation services to serving ADF members. Since 1989 David has contributed to community health and mental health through clinical service provision, service delivery management and policy development. Some of his achievements are;
- Development of the DVA Mental Health Strategy – Towards Better Mental Health forthe Veteran Community in 2001.
- Development of the DVA national alcohol project – The Right Mix – Your health and Alcohol which continues to be a fundamental program for reducing alcohol related harm in both DVA and defence communities.
- National Manager of the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) between 2005 and 2010. Since 2010 David has provided advocacy and leadership to the ADF Mental Health Reform Program and development of the ADF Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2011-2015 and the most current Defence Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2018-2023.
Much of David’s career has involved working with veterans, their families and defence members. He has a Bachelor of Social Work and has completed post graduate studies in Public Sector Management.
Queensland Fire & Emergency Services
Dr Bernie Scully holds a PhD in psychology with a specialisation in Trauma within Emergency Services organisations. Bernie has held positions as General Manager and National Director of some of the largest and most successful psychology organisations across Australasia.
Bernie has worked with small, large, and iconic organisations to improve approaches to Mental Health and Wellbeing. Bernie was the 2016 keynote speaker for WorkSafe Queensland Annual Statewide conference for the Construction Industry where he spoke to the development of Mentally Healthy Workplaces in the Construction industry.
Bernie has lead large scale Critical Incident psychological response and support services including the Victorian Ash Wednesday fires; 2011 Qld floods; Cyclone Yasi; Christchurch Earthquakes and many more. Bernie’s role within Queensland Fire and Emergency Services involves the management of Clinical Psychology and Organisational Development services, which relates to the proactive, preventative and reactive support of mental health within QFES’ Corporate, Fire and Rescue, Rural Fire and SES members.
Police Association NSW
Jon joined the New South Wales Police in 1998 and holds the rank of Detective Sergeant, his career as an investigator ranged from million-dollar graffiti attacks on trains to high profile gangland murders in Sydney’s South West. Jon has worked in Specialist areas as well as Metropolitan and non-metropolitan locations during his service.
In 2016 Jon became the PANSW’s first Member Support Coordinator with his role developing and coordinating the organisations preventative wellbeing strategies along with methods and schemes for supporting injured and sick members along with members and their families in time of crisis.
Jon has several tertiary qualifications in Investigations and is a board member of both New South Wales Police Legacy and is the Vice Treasurer of the New South Wales Police Provident Fund.
University of Adelaide
Currently the Director of The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor McFarlane’s area of particular specialty has been the effects of traumatic stress and is an international expert in the field of the impact of disasters and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
His research has focused on the epidemiology and longitudinal course of PTSD as well as the neuroimaging of the cognitive deficits in this disorder. He has published over 250 articles and chapters in various refereed journals and has co-edited three books.
In the medico-legal arena he has long standing experience, including writing a report for the United Nations about the Compensation Commission for the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and has also been engaged by the Ministry of Defence in the United Kingdom in the matters relating to the Falkland Island, Gulf War and Northern Ireland Veterans. Professor McFarlane has acted as special advisor to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, including the Scientific Advisory committee examining the health and psychological status of Gulf War Veterans. A Past President of both the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and a recipient of the Robert Laufer Award for outstanding scientific achievement in the field of traumatic stress. In 2008, I was awarded the Organon Senior Research Award of the RANZCP for the most outstanding contribution to psychiatric research in the last five years. Also the recipient of the Founders’ Medal of the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research awarded to individuals who have made a contribution of significance to psychiatric research over their entire career.
SA Metropolitan Fire Service
Michael Morgan was appointed Deputy Chief Officer of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) in September 2015.
Michael has worked closely in developing wellness, welfare and support programs within the MFS during his career. In 2014 Michael was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal for his work in these areas. Michael is currently working with key managers in the MFS developing a new Wellness and Safety Department to further enhance employee support and wellbeing.
Michael obtained his Masters in Business Administration, specialising in Human Resource Management in 2010. Michael is a White Ribbon Ambassador and was Executive sponsor for the MFS White Ribbon Accreditation program.
Emergency Management Victoria
Craig Lapsley is Victoria’s inaugural Emergency Management Commissioner, in place since July 2014. The Emergency Management Commissioner has overall responsibility for coordination before, during and after major emergencies including management of consequences of an emergency.
As Victoria’s first Emergency Management Commissioner, Craig believes the shift to an “all communities, all emergencies” approach to emergency management will ensure a systematic and coordinated approach before, during and after major emergencies.
It is an opportunity for the alignment of strategy, planning and investment across multiple agencies, to champion unified information systems, a culture of information sharing, and a sharp and deliberate focus on better decision making with the community as a central partner in emergency management.
Peter is a Clinical & Organisational Psychologist specialising in how work environments influence employee mental health, wellbeing and behaviours. He works as an advisor to government and the corporate sector. He has published a number of peer reviewed research papers and book chapters. Peter has recently concluded an external state-wide review of Victoria Police mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention services. All of the Review’s 39 recommendations have been endorsed by Victoria Police and The Police Association. He is also a member of Ambulance Victoria’s Psychological Health and Wellbeing Consultative Group. Peter has an ongoing part-time Clinical Advisor role with WorkSafe and Transport Accident Commission and also conducts a private clinical practice.
Peter holds the following current professional appointments: Workplace Mental Health Advisor with SuperFriend (the not for profit mental health and wellbeing foundation funded by industry superannuation funds); and member, beyondblue Workplace Mental Health Expert Advisory Group.
Louise has been the Director, Healthy Workplace Strategies at NSW Ambulance since 2008.
Louise leads a multidisciplinary team and has organizational responsibility for employee mental health and wellbeing, culture and diversity, staff support services and the management of staff concerns. Louise is interested in the role of workplace alternative dispute resolution promoting employee engagement and wellbeing and has previously worked as a conciliator at the Australian Human Rights Commission. In addition to over 20 years experience working in a range of roles within NSW Health, Louise has a clinical background in general & mental health nursing.
As part of beyondblue’s Workplace Engagement team, Rob is responsible for leading a range of stakeholder engagement activities associated with the beyondblue Police and Emergency Services (PES) Program, with a particular focus on building relationships with police and emergency services employers to create mentally healthy workplaces.
Those who work or volunteer for ambulance, fire and rescue, police and state emergency services provide vital care and protection to the Australian community. The nature of emergency services work means personnel routinely face life and death challenges and can witness very distressing situations. Like any workforce, they can experience common workplace risks to mental health, such as heavy workloads, high demands, bullying and stigma regarding mental health conditions.
The Program aims to promote the mental health of police and emergency services personnel across Australia and reduce their risk of suicide while promoting collaboration between agencies, unions, peak bodies and government departments through industry and state-based strategies.
Prior to this role Rob has over 20 years’ experience in various operational and management positions with Ambulance Victoria, from many years responding on the frontline as a paramedic through to various leadership roles, most recently as A/Group Manager in both regional and metropolitan areas.
University of Melbourne
Tony McHugh is currently the National Professional Practice Manager for the Public Sector, NGOs and Schools for the Australian Psychological Society. In that role he has responsibility for resourcing, advocating for and promoting the role of psychologists in these sectors, as well as developing working relationships with key external stakeholders to foster and advocate for the development of roles for psychologists in the public and non-government sectors.
Prior to commencing this role in early 2015, he was from 2007, the Manager and Principal Psychologist for the Psychological Trauma Recovery Service (PTRS) (formerly known as the Veterans Psychiatry Unit or VPU) at Austin Health in Melbourne. Before that, he, from 1995, held various leadership positions in the VPU.
In these Austin Health roles, Tony was responsible for the set up and development of comprehensive psychological treatment programs for severely traumatised Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, combat veterans and community groups, especially for police and other emergency services personnel.
Previously he occupied various clinical, management and policy development roles in the mental health and health systems in Victoria, including assistant director of the Orygen Centre for early psychosis, senior psychologist in the CAT Team for Inner North Melbourne and Senior Project officer in the (then) Health Department Victoria Office of Psychiatric Services.
Tony has provided considerable leadership and support to the community around emergencies and disasters since the Bali bombing and was instrumental in Austin Health’s three-year delivery of assessment and treatment services for those affected by the 2009 Victorian Bushfire and the Brisbane Floods in 2011.
He has also been a psychological advisor and consultant to Phoenix Australia (the Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health), the Transport Accident Commission of Victoria and WorkSafe Victoria, the Victorian Police Association and Department of Veterans Affairs. He is currently a Senior Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Melbourne University and the Patron of the Retired Peer Support Program of Victoria Police.
Tony has published extensively and continues to conduct research into trauma-related mental health conditions, especially PTSD its comorbidities and underlying mechanisms. He is particularly interested in the role of anger, meaning and imagery in stress and trauma-related conditions, and especially PTSD, and what works in psychological treatment. Across many years, Tony has provided education and training across Australia in line with his research and clinical interests.
He is a clinical psychologist who works from a CBT perspective and an evidence-based practitioner. In his small part time practice, Tony treats affective, stress, mood, traumatic and personality-related disorders in adults and older adolescents.
Dr Michelle Blanchard is the General Manager – Research, Policy and Programs at SANE Australia, a national charity working to promote the wellbeing of people affected by complex mental illness. Michelle has been tasked with developing SANE’s research and policy agenda which will partner with people with mental illness and their family, friends and colleagues to drive both policy and social change. She also has oversight for the delivery of SANE’s programs and support services.
Michelle has been engaged in the Australian mental health sector since 1999. Prior to joining SANE, Michelle was National Manager – Programs and Practice at the Butterfly Foundation. From 2011 to 2016, Michelle was Head of Projects and Partnerships at the Young and Well CRC – an international research centre which explored the role of technologies in improving young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Michelle was part of the Young and Well CRC team throughout its five-year term. During this time, Michelle was also an Honorary Research Fellow at the Centre for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne.
Michelle is currently a Non-Executive Director of youth mental health organisation batyr and holds various advisory roles with government, non-profit and industry bodies. She is the current Co-Chair of the Australian American Leadership Dialogue’s Young Leadership Dialogue.
Michelle holds a PhD in Youth Mental Health, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree with majors in Psychology and Political Science and a Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Welfare, all from the University of Melbourne. In 2016, she completed a Diploma in Leadership and Management at BSchool.
In 2015, Michelle was a shortlisted entrant for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and in 2017 was awarded a scholarship to undertake governance training through the Victorian Women’s Board Leadership Program.
Narelle was a member of Victoria Police for 27 years, 15 of those as a Detective with Homicide, Rape, Sex Crimes, Missing Persons & Child Exploitation Squads. She specialised in sex offences and child abuse and worked on many high profile investigations.
Narelle was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in 2012 and could no longer do what she loved. Narelle will share with you what, why and how she missed the signs
of stress, and how she lost a career due to ignoring those signs of stress. However, her resilience and recovery gives hope to those battling mental illness, as she has become ‘an accidental’ mental health advocate.
Narelle has lectured in Investigative Techniques and Human Rights at NMIT (now Melbourne Polytechnic), Criminology at Monash, has appeared on television, print, social media and radio and appeared numerous times on Australian True Crime podcast with Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb.
Retired Police Association
Vicki Key is the creator and coordinator of the Retired Police Association of Victoria – Retired Peer Support Officer program.
She was a policewoman with Victoria Police Force for twenty-three years and the last ten she was a very active peer support officer. She worked predominantly in the area of child sexual and physical assaults and adult sexual assault. In 2010 she was Acting Senior Sergeant, Officer in Charge of the Moonee Ponds Police Station. Unfortunately she had to take ill-health retirement due to a work related serious spinal injury, which resulted in surgery.
In retirement Vicki joined the Retired Police Association of Victoria and in 2014 after hearing of too many former police suiciding started the Retired Peer Support Officer program. Since that time they have trained 58 Retired Peer Support Officers who have assisted in excess of 650 former police employees who have various mental health injuries.
Vicki is passionate about the provision of voluntary peer support for former police and other emergency first responders.
Rebecca Elliott, Senior Human Services Officer for the Queensland Police Service coordinates client support services across the largest geographical districts in Southern Queensland and has first-hand experience. Rebecca works with Queensland Police Service Psychological Services Unit, as Senior Social Worker and took the lead in coordinating support services after Senior Constable Brett Forte was shot and killed in the line of duty, on May 29 2017. Rebecca has 12 years as a mental health social worker, employed in a range of fields including community mental health, Vet training and youth at risk, palliative and cancer care plus her 4 years working with the Queensland Police Service
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games has required long term and strategic planning to prepare personnel from Queensland Police Service (QPS) for extended deployment. Heather Titmarsh is a Senior Social Worker with QPS and has been tasked to develop and coordinate the delivery of safety and wellbeing programs for staff travelling with the Queens Baton Relay and the 3700 personnel deployed as part of Operation Sentinel.
Heather has an extensive work history spanning 20 years in the public sector including health, disability services and the last 12 years with Queensland Police Service. During her time with QPS, she has coordinated a range of professional psychological health services to sworn members and staff and has direct experience in responding to major incidents. Heather’s knowledge and experience has informed numerous responses to large scale critical incidents including the natural flooding disaster of Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley in 2011 and most recently the death of Senior Constable Brett Forte who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Police Association NSW
Kirsty joined the Police Association of New South Wales Police in 2004 as an Industrial Officer. Kirsty has undertaken Senior roles within the Legal Services Division and in 2015 was appointed as the Industrial Manager for the organisation.
Kirsty has a degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management and is a qualified Trainer and assessor.
Kirsty has a passion for assisting police officers in all facets of their industrial and workers compensation entitlements and has a clear focus on resilience training and protecting those officers who are injured as a result of policing.
Kirsty focuses the Association’s efforts on rehabilitation for injured police and retaining the skills and experience that they bring to the organisation whilst performing meaningful and valuable roles in NSW Police Force along with protecting the industrial rights and entitlements of all officers.
University of NSW, Black Dog Institute
Aimee is a registered psychologist with experience working in the research, professional education and clinical settings across mental health and criminological domains. Aimee joined the Workplace Mental Health Team in late 2015 to commence a PhD with the Well@Work project. Through her PhD, Aimee will be developing and evaluating the effectiveness of an integrated manager training app aimed at improving mental health literacy, reducing stigma and enhancing manager’s confidence in discussing mental health matters with their staff.
Mark has an extensive background in insurance operations and sales at a state and national level. After effectively completing roles in workplace health and safety management positions on the Melbourne waterfront and gas distribution industries, he transitioned to workers’ compensation claims management and subsequently a business development role at a Victorian workers’ compensation claims agent.
Mark joined Gallagher Bassett upon their entry to the Victorian workers’ compensation market and was part of a team that oversaw the effective start-up of the business operations and rapid subsequent growth in both Victoria, New South Wales and later New Zealand.
After accepting an offer to join a medium sized regional insurance broker as a wholesale broker, Mark’s focus shifted to the establishment and operation of innovative and tailored insurance programs for targeted industries and franchise groups.
Upon returning to Melbourne, Mark joined Catholic Church Insurance in a strategic business development role prior to accepting the role of National Workers’ Compensation Manager a position he held for six years. This role provided the opportunity to drive change and process improvement which resulted in operational stability, demonstrated efficiency gains and enhanced service delivery models.
In 2017 Mark has returned to Gallagher Bassett in a Strategic Sales role. Mark’s diverse background provides valuable insight into operational processes from more than one perspective and to then build teams with the specific responsibility of implementing innovative solutions.
Currently Dean is the Manager, Workers Compensation and Injury management at ambulance Victoria. Prior to this he held the position of managing principal at an international broker, and has held a variety of positions in general insurance, self-insurance and scheme Workers Compensation.
Deirdre is the Manager of WorkCover & Injury Management at Victoria Police – a position she has held for the last 9 years. Deirdre and her team of WorkCover and Injury management consultants are responsible for providing claims and return to work support for injured members. Deirdre works collaboratively with line managers, police psychology and welfare to ensure injured members receive timely and appropriate support to enable a safe and sustainable return to work.
Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade
Martin joined the MFB in September 1988 and following the successful completion of the Station Officers course in 2000, continued the promotional path to Senior Station Officer in 2003, Commander in 2010 and was appointed to Assistant Chief Fire Officer in 2015.
Key areas where Martin has worked include, coordinating recruit training programs, leading the MFB Hazmat and Scientific unit, Commander Operations, Staff Officer to the Chief Fire Officer, Commander Operational Communications Department, Acting Director of the Work Health and Safety Department, Assistant Chief Fire Officer NW Metro Community Resilience and recently appointed into the role of Assistant Chief Fire Officer Community Resilience.
In 2011 Martin was seconded to the Victorian Flood Review. The Review provided the opportunity to conduct a detailed examination of emergency management arrangements in Victoria in the context of the 2010–11 Victorian floods. The recommendations in the report supported major emergency management reform in Victoria. In 2005 Martin was also seconded to Victoria Police Counter Terrorism and Coordination Unit in the capacity of Fire Service Liaison Officer. The role provided opportunity to develop collaborative partnerships in operational functional roles, state and national exercise management activities and develop an understanding of dependencies across the sectors.
An Executive Officer, Martin has exercised command and control at major fire and emergencies in accordance with AIIMS and legislative accountabilities. Experience gained has been attending large complex events as Incident Controller, being deployed outside the MD as a Deputy Incident Controller, holding functional positions in Level 3 Incident Control Centers (CFA and SES), performing the role of MFB State Duty Officer and Liaison at the SCC and carrying out Executive Officer recall duties.