The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training (pre-recorded)

Thursday 11 July 2024 9:30am

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP is the Minister for Skills and Training, a Cabinet position in the Albanese Labor Government.

A belief in the benefits of secure employment and quality education and training, as well as a commitment to fairness and equal opportunity, led Mr O’Connor to commence his career in a union.

He represented the interests of Victorian workers before becoming Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union (ASU).

He was elected to parliament in 2001 and has since headed several portfolios.

As Minister for Employment Participation, he overhauled the employment services system, streamlining the process to provide a personalised service called Job Services Australia.

As Minister for Home Affairs, one of his many noteworthy achievements includes reforming Australia’s anti-dumping regime to encourage fairer and equitable business practices.

Mr O’Connor went on to serve as Minister for Small Business at Cabinet level, the first time in over ten years that the portfolio had been elevated to such a level. Mr O’Connor worked to cut red tape and support growth and jobs through tax reform, including the $6500 Instant Asset Write-off to assist Australia’s 2.7 million small businesses to improve their cash flows and the introduction of Australia’s first Small Business Commissioner.

In 2013, Mr O’Connor was elevated to Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and finished the term as Minister for Employment, Skills and Training.

From 2013 – 2019, Mr O’Connor was appointed Shadow Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. In 2019, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry, Science, and Small and Family Business as a member of Anthony Albanese’s Labor frontbench team and served as Shadow Minister for Defence from January 2021 until Labor won the 2022 election.

Professor Barney Glover AO, Commissioner, Jobs and Skills Australia

Thursday 11 July 2024 9:45am

Professor Barney Glover AO began his five-year term as Commissioner of Jobs and Skills Australia in 2024.

Professor Glover is a distinguished academic leader, an accomplished mathematician and mathematics educator with significant experience in developing strong relationships with the vocational education sector. He is well respected for his engagement with First Nations Australians and disadvantaged communities.

He was Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University for ten years, from 2014-24, and in 2019 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to tertiary education, professional associations and cultural organisations. In 2015, Professor Glover was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor for his outstanding leadership whilst Vice-Chancellor of Charles Darwin University from 2009 to 2013.

Professor Glover has served on the boards of a diverse range of corporate organisations and several state and national centres covering areas such as health and medical research, energy, mineral exploration, and telecommunications.

Headshot of Gihan Perera

Gihan Perera, Futurist, Fit for the Future

Friday 12 July 2024 11:00am

Has disruption – from employee burnout, hybrid work, AI, global uncertainty, and more – shaken up your world? Are your people looking for clear leadership in this time of massive change? Do you want to be more confident in chaos and uncertainty?

Gihan Perera is a business futurist, conference speaker, AI researcher, and author who shows you how to be fit for the future in a fast-changing world.

For more than 25 years, he has worked with organisations and leaders throughout Australia and the world, helping them to lead in uncertainty, act with clarity and confidence, and thrive in a fast-changing world.

He is the author of Disrupted, Disruption By Design, The Future of Leadership, and ten other books.

Forbes magazine rated him the #5 social media influencer in the world (and #1 in Australia) in his area of expertise.

Dinner Speaker: Catherine MacDougall

Thursday 11 July 2024

Catherine MacDougall is a chef, educator and trainer who co-founded Prepare Produce Provide (PPP), a not-for-profit organisation helping young people pursue careers in education, food and hospitality.

Committed to creating meaningful change, Catherine is adopting a multi-faceted approach in addressing the complex issues facing youth.

The ‘5000Meals’ program addresses wastage and food insecurity by bringing together chefs, students, volunteers and donated food to create nutritious meals for people experiencing homelessness. Since its 2012 inception, it has provided more than 100,000 meals and 45,000 meals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ‘Djinda Ngardak’ culinary program offers Aboriginal students across Western Australia the opportunity to train with top chefs and cultural leaders, inspiring careers in the hospitality and tourism industries. It supported the first two Indigenous youth to participate in Germany’s Culinary Olympics.

Catherine’s efforts are testament to the power of local engagement. Her selfless efforts are fostering community spirit and empowering Indigenous young people.