NEDC Speakers

NEDC 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.

Elizabeth Dibbs

Western City District Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission


Liz Dibbs is a non-executive director in the government and for-purpose sectors. She is Deputy Chancellor of Western Sydney University and Chair of its Audit & Risk Committee, Chairman of United Way Australia and a Governor of the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology. She was the President of YWCA NSW from 2007-2011 and a director of YWCA Australia from 2009 to 2013. Liz has also previously served as a Council Member of Chief Executive Women and Chair of its Scholarship Committee.

Liz was a partner and General Counsel of PwC until 2005 and also previously worked with major law firms Mallesons Stephen Jaques (Sydney) and Linklaters & Paines (London).

Liz holds a Bachelor of Arts and Law (University Medal) from Sydney University and a Master of Laws (Hons1) from Cambridge University.


Nicki Hutley

Partner, Deloitte Access Economics


Nicki Hutley is a senior partner at Deloitte Access Economics. She is a highly experienced economist, with broad-based expertise in macro- and micro-economic modelling and analysis, gained over nearly three decades of practice in financial and investment markets and consulting.

Her clients include all levels of government and the private sector and she is passionate about using economics to improve the quality of lives through well-reasoned policy.

Nicki is a regular commentator on economic and financial issues in the media, a frequent panellist on ABC’s The Drum, and a sought-after keynote speaker.

Rod Miller

Invest Puerto Rico


Rod is a global leader in economic recovery.

As President and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Rod led the economic revitalization of the city of Detroit. Miller also served as the founding president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), the official economic development organization for the City of New Orleans. As the leader on economic recovery, Miller focused the organization’s efforts on lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, increasing transparency, and developing approaches to drive inclusive economic growth.

Prior to joining Invest Puerto Rico, Rod was with Ascendant Global, an economic development firm providing bold growth solutions to help economies sustain themselves and gain jobs and private investment.


Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons

Resilience NSW


Shane Fitzsimmons was appointed as the inaugural Commissioner for Resilience NSW and Deputy Secretary, Emergency Management with the Department of Premier and Cabinet from 1 May 2020. This appointment followed a distinguished career with the NSW Rural Fire Service of over 35 years. In 1998 he was appointed an Assistant Commissioner with the RFS and has held portfolio responsibilities for Operations, Strategic Development and Regional Management. In 2004, he was appointed the inaugural Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) Visiting Fellow to the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) for a period of 12 months. September 2007 – April 2020 he was Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service and was also the Chair of the NSW RFS Bushfire Coordinating Committee and the Rural Fire Service Advisory Council. He was also a member of the NSW State Emergency Management Committee and the NSW State Rescue Board (SRB) and was Chair of SRB from 2008 to November 2015. In July 2012, he was appointed a Board Member of the NSW Government Telecommunications Authority. He was appointed a Director of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) in March 2008 and was the Chair of the NAFC Board from 2009 to 2013. He was a Director on the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre from 2009 to 2014. He was a member of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council from 2007 and was a member of its Board from November 2016 to November 2019 and held the position of Deputy President upon retirement from the Board. In January 2016 he was appointed as a Councillor of the Royal Humane Society of NSW Inc. Commissioner Fitzsimmons was awarded the National Medal in 1999 and the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in 2001.

Dr Tim Williams

Australasia Cities Leader, ARUP


Dr Tim Williams is a Principal at the global advisory firm Arup and is head of cities for its Australasian region. Before joining Arup in 2018 Tim was the CEO of the Committee for Sydney from 2011 when it became an influential policy forum and think tank. Tim’s work helped shape public policy and infrastructure planning both in NSW and across Australia as he became a trusted advisor to governments at all levels. He played a formative role in the emergence of the Greater Sydney Commission and has had an impact on the shift we have seen of governments seeking to maximise land use and transport integration to support sustainable urban growth. Before coming to Australia in 2010 Tim had been a special advisor on urban planning to 5 consecutive UK ministers and from 1997-2003 he was the CEO of the Thames Gateway London Partnership which played a key role in developing the East Side of London, in attracting major transport projects such as Crossrail and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link through Stratford and in making the case for the Olympics to come to the East side of the capital. Tim is an adjunct professor at Western Sydney University. He attended Cambridge and Oxford Universities, has a doctorate in history and is a qualified teacher and barrister . He lives in Manly with his family.

Professor Paul Wellings CBE

Vice-Chancellor, University of Wollongong


Professor Paul Wellings CBE joined the University of Wollongong as Vice-Chancellor in January 2012. Prior to his current role, Professor Wellings held the position of Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University from 2002-2011. Educated in the UK, Professor Wellings’ career experience includes a NERC research fellowship and senior positions at the CSIRO and Department of Industry, Science and Resources. He has extensive board experience, including with the Australian Research Council (ARC) Advisory Committee, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), and some of the UK’s peak education and research bodies. He is currently a board member of the University of Wollongong in Dubai. Professor Wellings also serves on the Advisory Committee for New Colombo Plan, NSW Innovation and Productivity Council, the Global Foundation Advisory Council and the Bundanon Trust Board. Professor Wellings was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to higher education. He received an Honorary DSc from Lancaster University in 2014 and an Honorary DUniv from University of Surrey in 2019.

David Eyre

Chief Executive Officer, Future Food Systems


David Eyre is CEO of the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre, a Commonwealth-funded national research group. His career has spanned the energy, water and agrifood sectors with a focus on developing STEM-based solutions to complex industry development challenges. From innovation in high-tech, sustainable indoor cropping and precision food manufacturing technology, to data analytics to support development of specialised food industry clusters, CRC research aims to help transform the way the agrifood sector produces, adds value to and delivers healthy goods to domestic and export markets. In addition to his role leading the group, David is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at UNSW.