Conference Program

NEDC20 will feature a compelling program of highly regarded speakers whose knowledge and expertise will challenge delegates and encourage robust dialogue around the conference’s central theme of ‘Breaking New Ground: Building a Resilient Future’.

Day 1

18 November 2020

Available from 9.00am: Introductory Video

Todd Miller, Master of Ceremonies

Available from 9.00am: The Economic Impact – Let’s Break it Down

Nicki Hutley, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics

Session overview:

Nicki provides deep insight into the real impacts of COVID-19 on Australia’s economy, and what challenges and opportunities exist for Australian economic development professionals, leading local economic recovery.

Available from 9.00am: Innovation districts – A Catalyst for Economic Recovery

Julie Wagner, President, Global Institute on Innovation Districts

Session overview:

Join Julie Wagner, global expert on Innovation Districts as she illustrates how the COVID-19 crisis could spark a new wave of innovation to help drive the economic recovery of our cities.

Available from 9.00am: Panel Discussion – Economic Recovery and the New World, an International Perspective


Michael Campbell, Director, Lucid Economics



Kenny McDonald, President and Chief Economic Officer, One Columbus (current Chairman, IEDC)

Janet Ady, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ady Advantage

Chelsea Irvine, Community Resource Manager, 3CORE

Session overview:

Hear from Economic Development Leaders in the United States and how they are approaching economic recovery as well as their insights into how economic development, investment and business will change in a more diverse, post-COVID and post US election world.

Virtual Study Tours

Information coming soon!

Day 2

19 November 2020

8.30am – 8.35am: Welcome to Country

Uncle Tony Scholes, Aboriginal Elder, Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council

8.37am – 8.43am: Mayoral Address

Wendy Waller, Mayor of Liverpool

8.45am – 8.55am: Australian Government Welcome

Chris Hayes MP, Chief Opposition Whip, Federal Member for Fowler

8.57am – 9.02am: Building Sydney’s Third CBD: Future-proofing Liverpool’s Economy

Dr Eddie Jackson, Acting CEO, Liverpool City Council

9.04am – 9.13am: Welcome Address

Jacqueline Brinkman, CEO, EDA Australia

9.15am – 9.50am: In Conversation with Shane Fitzsimmons, Resilience NSW Commissioner - facilitated by Todd Miller, Master of Ceremonies

Commissioner Shane Fitszimmons, Resilience NSW

Session overview:

Thousands of Australians were grateful for Shane Fitzsimmons’ leadership during the 2019-20 bushfire disaster. Now, Resilience NSW Commissioner, Shane joins us to discuss NSW’s world-leading disaster preparedness and recovery strategy. This session will include an interactive Q&A.

9.50am – 10.10am: Networking Session
10.10am – 10.50am: Panel Discussion – Economic Development Professionals - Leading the Recovery on the Ground


Dr Tim Williams, Australasia Cities Leader, ARUP



Bob Hawes, CEO, Hunter Business Chamber

Dr Nicola Watts, Cluster & Innovation Ecosystem Specialist, Strengthening Business Facilitator

Tim Ellis, Manager Economic Development at Events, City of Greater Geelong

Sally Macdonald, Community Development Officer, Mitchell Shire

Session overview:

We welcome leading economic development professionals from around Australia as they share their case studies in recovering from an economic shock.

10.50am – 11.15am: Session Break - Virtual Exhibition / Meeting Hub / Networking
11.15am – 11.55pm: Panel Discussion – Educational Infrastructure and the Path to Recovery and Growth


David Borger, Executive Director, Western Sydney Business Chamber



Professor Paul Wellings CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Wollongong

Professor Barney Glover, Vice-Chancellor, Western Sydney University

Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of New South Wales

Session overview:

In recent years, the development of state-of-the-art educational infrastructure has been at the core of Western Sydney’s economic growth. Vertical, technology-infused campuses, delivered at scale, and in partnership with industry, have become catalysts in the accelerated evolution of health and education precincts across the region, Liverpool included.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the region, and the higher education sector under profound pressure. Universities, however, with their proven innovation, economic and employment generation capacity, remain central in driving the region’s recovery. With a rapidly growing health and education precinct, a City Deal, and the Aerotropolis, nowhere is the path to university-led recovery and growth clearer than in Liverpool.

11.57am – 12.37pm: Discussion Groups: Economic Recovery in Your Area


Session overview:

Concurrent discussion groups to discuss economic recovery

Session sponsored by:

12.37pm – 1.20pm: Session Break - Virtual Exhibition / Meeting Hub / Networking
1.20pm – 1.23pm: Love Liverpool Video
1.25pm – 1.30pm: EDA Honorary Awards Announcement

Todd Miller, Master of Ceremonies

1.32pm – 1.40pm: NEDC21 host announcement
1.42pm – 1.52pm: Western Sydney Takes Off

Scott MacKillop, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Western Sydney Airport

Session overview:

Scott Mackillop, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Western Sydney Airport, will provide an update on the construction of this catalytic infrastructure project that will provide critical international trade and export connections to drive Australia’s economic growth.

1.54pm – 2.24pm: Podcast: Connectivity is Key – How Transport will Shape Cities of the Future

Dr Tim Williams, Australasia Cities Leader, ARUP

Session overview:

Dr Tim Williams will share his experience in rebuilding parts of London’s economy and how ease of mobility between growth centres and job hubs will create the 21st Century City. 

2.26pm – 3.26pm: Do we have a Wealth Problem? Community Wealth Building – A People Centred Approach to Economic Development

Neil McInroy, Chief Executive, Centre for Local Economic Strategies

Patrick Fensham, National Lead Urban Policy & Governance, SGS Economics and Planning

Session overview:

Community Wealth Building expert, Neil McInroy joins us from the UK to introduce Community Wealth Building principles and illustrate how this approach allows communities to transform their local economies.

Patrick Fensham from SGS Economics and Planning will join Neil in a live conversation and discuss how implementing CWB principles in Australia could help Australia not only build back from COVID-19 but build back better and fairer. 

3.26pm – 3.45pm: Session Break - Virtual Exhibition / Meeting Hub / Networking

FAST 15s

3.45pm – 4.00pm: Jump-Starting Main Street Recovery

Tara Wilkinson, Place Management Coordinator, City of Canada Bay Council

4.02pm – 4.17pm: Murray Bridge: A Case Study of Building Community Resilience

Michael Shillabeer, Economic Development Planner, Rural City of Murray Bridge

4.19pm – 4.34pm: What the Rural Fringe Means to a City’s Future

Mark Pepping, Deputy General Manager, Wingecarribee Shire Council

4.36pm – 4.48pm: Fast 15s Q&A


Todd Miller, Master of Ceremonies

4.50pm – 5.00pm: Day 1 Wrap Up

Todd Miller, Master of Ceremonies

Day 3

20 November 2020

8.40am – 8.50am: MC welcome and recap of Day 2

Todd Miller, Master of Ceremonies

8.52am – 8.57am: Camden Tourism Video
9.00am – 9.45am: An Economic Recovery Masterclass

Rod Miller, CEO, Invest Puerto Rico

Session overview:

Rod Miller is one of the foremost economic development leaders in the world. Rod joins us to share his own winning approach to economic recovery, developed and tested in some of the world’s most challenging cities.  

9.47am – 10.27am: Panel Discussion – Building our Future Workforce


Nicki Hutley, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics



Amanda Larkin, Chief Executive, South Western Sydney Local Health District

Skevi Panayi, Director, Delivery and Employer Engagement, NSW/ACT State Office, Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Nicholas MacDonald, Manufacturing Manager, Daikin Australia

Session overview:

This panel of public and private sector experts will discuss how economic development plays a part in future-proofing the workforce of Australia.

Learn how to lead capacity building, jobs and skills mapping and how to successfully engage with businesses, education providers and other stakeholders.

10.27am – 10.45am: Session Break - Virtual Exhibition / Meeting Hub / Networking
10.45am – 11.00am: Future Food Systems – Bringing STEM Technologies and Industry 4.0 Thinking into the Australian Food Value Chain

David Eyre, Future Food Systems

Session overview:

With core funding from the Commonwealth, a group of university, industry and government partners are collaborating to accelerate application of advanced engineering, logistics and sustainability technology across the food and nutraceutical value chain. 

David Eyre will provide an update on the Future Foods Systems CRC and showcase how research is supporting industry as it builds scale in growth markets for nutritionally optimised food goods and precision health products by deploying new science and technology. The project will explore metropolitan, peri-urban and regional value adding agribusiness opportunities, in six key locations throughout the country. The lessons learnt during the process of intensively planning for these strategic Agribusiness Hubs, will be shared broadly.

11.02am – 11.42am: Panel Discussion – Smart Regional Specialisation – Aligning Research, Industry and Government to Increase System Resilience and Build Scale in Global Markets for Value Added Goods


David Eyre, Future Food Systems



Rod Simpson, Environment Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission

James Baird, Managing Director, ACCESS Corporate Finance

Dr Eddie Jackson, Acting CEO, Liverpool City Council

Professor Sami Kara, Advanced Manufacturing, UNSW

Nicola Pero, Chief Executive Officer, Food & Fibre Gippsland

Session overview:

Australia has potential to become a leader in growth markets for trusted food and nutraceutical segments.  However, this requires intensive, long-term coordination across multiple supply chain stakeholders, tiers of government, capital markets, and the Australian research sector.

COVID 19 has drawn new attention to the need for supply chain transformation and uptake of industry 4.0 solutions. How can cultural and structural tendencies towards fragmentation be overcome to support strategic investment and whole-of-value-chain collaboration?

James Baird, drawing on experience working with the Clinton Foundation will address the challenges of funding complex precinct-based solutions.  Eddie Jackson brings a perspective informed by a key role in the Ireland success story and working with European Union. Rod Simpson will address innovation in planning systems in Western Sydney. Prof Sami Kari an expert in advanced manufacturing, will address the importance of systems engineering.  Nicola Pero will speak about aligning stakeholders in Gippsland Victoria to create a future-focussed food industry cluster. 

Tune in to a fascinating discussion about Australia’s future agricultural opportunities, touching on investment attraction, planning and infrastructure staging, responding to COVID-19 and tapping into the circular economy.

11.44am – 12.08pm: Discussion Groups: How has COVID-19 affected economic development work in Australia

Concurrent discussion groups to discuss how the pandemic has affected economic development work in Australia.

12.10pm- 12.50pm: Concurrent Sessions

Panel Discussion: Where Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Placemaking Intersect.


Patrick Fensham, Principal & Partner, National Lead Urban Policy & Governance, SGS Economics and Planning



Narelle Kennedy, Managing Director, The Kennedy Company

Amelia Loye, Managing Director, Engage2

Associate Professor Martin Bliemel, Associate Dean – Research, Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Session overview:

Panellists will explore the fertile ground between ‘innovation’ and ‘place’, delving deeper than the buzz-words for a closer look at the hidden face of everyday innovation and how this can drive resilience and successful local community and economic development, even in places with seemingly poor prospects.

Innovation does not equate just with advanced technologies and start-ups. Placemaking does not just equate with physical planning and smart infrastructure. The missing link is ‘people-led’ change.

It is time to re-think old certainties and to re-set the foundations for both economic and social prosperity. Gain insights into the latest thinking on mobilizing the everyday economy and the power of the ‘economics of belonging.

Panel Discussion: City Deal – What is it and how do we get one?


Dr Eddie Jackson, Acting CEO, Liverpool City Council



Andrew Jackson, Director, Western Sydney Planning Partnership

Elizabeth Dibbs, Western City District Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission

Dr Sarah Hill, CEO, Western Parkland City Authority

Session overview:

Panellists will share their experience in regard to the City Deal and the importance of having three levels of government working jointly to rebuild a regional economy.

Panel Discussion: The Circular Economy - A $4.5 Trillion Dollar Opportunity


Eamon Waterford, Deputy CEO & Director of Policy Committee for Sydney



Lisa McLean, CEO, NSW Circular Economy Innovation Network

Ashleigh Morris, CEO, COREO

Joley Vidau, Waste Management Coordinator, Bega Valley Shire Council

Session overview:

Ashleigh Morris, CEO of award-winning and globally recognised COREO will perform a 10 minute presentation regarding the foundations of a circular economy. This will then be followed by a panel of experts for a discussion about the opportunities and path forward to investing and transitioning into a circular economy, a systemic approach to economic development driven by innovation and designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment.

12.50pm – 1.50pm: Session Break - Virtual Exhibition / Meeting Hub / Networking

IGNITE Sessions – Fast and Furious

1.50pm – 1.55pm: How procurement & smarter technology is driving local economic developing during COVID-19

James Leatham, CEO, Vendorpanel

1.57pm – 2.02pm: Circular Advantage – helps businesses examine their supply chains, manufacturing processes and use of resources

Angela Stubbs, Coordinator Business Directions, Kingston City Council

2.04pm – 2.09pm: Breaking New Ground: Mackay Waterfront and City Centre Project

Kylie Rogers, Mackay City and Waterfront Project Manager, Development Services, Mackay Regional Council

2.11pm – 2.16pm: How can the Sustainable Development Goals drive resilience through the business case process?

Elisa McIennan, Associate, Arup Australia Economics Skills Leader

2.18pm – 2.23pm: After COVID - Back to Basics

Michael Campbell, Director, Lucid Economics

2.25pm – 2.40pm: IGNITE Session Q&A

Todd Miller, Master of Ceremonies

2.42pm – 2.50pm: Conference Wrap Up / Prize Announcements

Todd Miller, Master of Ceremonies

2.50pm – 3.15pm: Closing Drinks

Pour yourself an early Friday drink and take part in this networking session and recap with your fellow delegates. You will be automatically allocated into groups of 4, for 5 minutes. Once 5 minutes is up, you will be re-shuffled into another group of 4, for 5 minutes and so forth.

The preliminary program above is indicative only, the committee reserves the right to alter the program at any time.