Dr Melissa Parsons: Melissa is a senior lecturer at the University of New England (Armidale) with applied research interests in social and environmental resilience. Melissa led the development of the Australian Disaster Resilience Index for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, a project which produced the first national-scale snapshot of disaster resilience in Australia. Other projects Melissa is currently involved with examine public perceptions of natural hazards, environmental compliance and flood driving. Melissa also keeps one foot in the river, working on river resilience and management in the US, Nepal, Nauru, South Africa and Australia, and she is the president elect of the International Society for River Science.
Toby Kent: Toby has worked internationally to help major corporate, government, and non-government organisations achieve their commercial and operational objectives. As Australia's first Chief Resilience Officer. Toby created and delivered Australia’s first urban resilience strategy, Resilient Melbourne, a collaboration across Melbourne’s 32 councils, state, private and not-for-profit organisations. Before this, Toby spent two decades working, across five continents on significant corporate and community-based partnerships. He led PwC UK’s sustainability work with global retail and consumer goods companies and was head of PwC’s Sustainability and Climate Change team in Hong Kong, before moving to Melbourne as ANZ Bank’s Global Head of Sustainable Development. Toby is a partner at EllisKent, a Board member of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia, and an Associate of the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne.
Cheryl Durrant: Cheryl has over 30 years experience in the national security sector, including specialist Army intelligence and Defence capability and preparedness roles. Cheryl led the Department’s Global Change and Energy Sustainability Initiative from 2013-2016 and established the position of the Australian Defence Force’s Climate and Security Advisor in 2016. She was the lead author for Defence’s submission to the Senate Inquiry on the implications of Climate change for Australia’s national security. As the Defence partner to Emergency Management Australia she supported the development of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and the co-design of the Profiling Australia’s Vulnerability Report. Under Cheryl’s leadership Defence completed a major review of Defence Mobilisation in 2019 – the first such review since Vietnam.
Shane Fitzsimmons: 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. Commissioner Fitzsimmons was awarded the National Medal in 1999 and the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in 2001. From 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 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.
Michael Crawford: Michael is the Acting Assistant Secretory for Disaster Risk Reduction in Emergency Management Australia. Michael has more than 20 years of experience in customs, law enforcement, national security, civil maritime security, capability development and organisational reform; and previous experience in strategy, capability development and operational concepts. He has designed key elements of the Australian Border Force, Australian civil maritime security and enhanced immigration detention capabilities; and led numerous international cooperation, capacity building and security initiatives. Michael joined the National Resilience Taskforce in April 2019 from the National Security Program of the Bureau of Meteorology to lead the National Disaster Risk Information Service Capability Pilot, and now leads the Disaster Risk Reduction Branch of Emergency Management Australia. Michael is a father of four young children providing a practical understanding of resilience.