Plenary Speakers



Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

When NASA classified Karl as non-astronaut material in 1981 he walked straight into ABC Radio station Double J and offered to talk about the Space shuttle launch. They said ‘Okay’ and his radio career took off from there. ‘Great Moments In Science’ ran on Double J while Karl moonlighted as a medical student.

Since then, his media career has exploded from radio, to TV, books, newspapers, magazines, scripting, professional speaking, podcasts and the internet. Karl made his TV debut in 1985 as the presenter of the first series of Quantum. Since 1986 he has reported science on the Midday Show, Good Morning Australia (including a full-time stint in 1991-2 as the TV Weatherman and science reporter), the Today Show and Sunrise. Alongside his fellow geek Adam Spencer, he has written and co-produced two series of Sleek Geeks for ABC TV.

Karl popularises science on ABC radio stations across Australia and, on the BBC, for several hours each week. Many of you will be familiar with the original talk back programme each Thursday on triple j from 11 am to midday.

Karl has written (so far) 45 books, beginning with ‘Great Moments In Science’ in 1984, and includes such titles as ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So…’Bro’ (2006), which was launched, quite literally, via rocket at Sydney’s Bondi Beach (a world first).

In 2002, Dr Karl was honoured with the prestigious Ig Nobel prize awarded by Harvard University in the USA for his ground-breaking research into Belly Button Lint and why it is almost always blue. In September 2003, Dr Karl was bestowed with the great honour of being named ‘Australian Father of the Year’. Dr Karl Kruszelnicki received the Member of the Order of Australia Award in the 2006 Australia Day Honours list.

In 2007 the Australia Skeptics Society awarded Dr Karl the Australia Skeptic Of The Year Prize. In 2012 Karl was delighted to have Asteroid 18412 named after him. Asteroid Dr Karl/18412 was discovered by Robert H. McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia, on June 13, 1993.

In March 2012 he was named as a National Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia (NSW). In 2016 Dr Karl was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Sunshine Coast.

In 2019 The United Nations awarded Dr Karl the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularisation of Science. Karl has degrees in Physics and Maths, Biomedical Engineering, Medicine and Surgery and has worked as a physicist, tutor, film-maker, car mechanic, labourer, and as a medical doctor at the Kids’ Hospital in Sydney. Dr Karl is currently the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at Sydney University, where his ‘mission’ is to spread the good word about science and its benefits. His enthusiasm for science is totally infectious and no one is better able to convey the excitement and wonder of it all than Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.


Dr Dinesh Palipana_keynote speaker

Dr Dinesh Palipana

Dinesh was the first quadriplegic medical intern in Queensland and the second person to graduate medical school with quadriplegia in Australia. Dinesh is a doctor, lawyer, disability advocate, and researcher.

Halfway through medical school, he was involved in a motor vehicle accident that caused a cervical spinal cord injury. Dinesh has completed an Advanced Clerkship in Radiology at the Harvard University. 

As a result of his injury and experiences, Dinesh has been an advocate for inclusivity. He is a founding member of Doctors with Disabilities Australia.

Dinesh works in the emergency department at the Gold Coast University Hospital. He is a senior lecturer at the Griffith University and adjunct research fellow at the Menzies Health Institute of Queensland. Dinesh is a researcher in spinal cord injury. He is a doctor for the Gold Coast Titans physical disability rugby team. Dinesh is a senior advisor to the Disability Royal Commission.

Dinesh was the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service’s Junior Doctor of the Year in 2018. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2019. He was the third Australian to be awarded a Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. Dinesh was the Queensland Australian of the Year for 2021.


David Bacon_Plenary Speaker

David Bacon

David originally trained as an occupational therapist and worked in community private practice for the first 6 years of his career. After a few years of lecturing at Sydney uni while he completed his masters thesis David moved into insurance over 15 years ago. Over his time in insurance he has managed risk, actuarial, research, claims, and healthcare functions.

For the last 5 years, David has been the General Manager of People Risk Claims (underwritten Workers Compensation and CTP) claims at QBE. David and his team approach this work focusing on really helping people bring their life back together after an injury. They do this in collaboration with a range of progressive and healthcare, analytics, and academic partners. David is a member of the CLARA Advisory Panel based in California which is a group of deep experts that are helping CLARA Analytics in transforming claims operations with AI and machine learning.

David grew up in a family impacted by disability, and describes himself as a reformed health professional, and that he was much better at the maths than being an OT.

David is going to share thoughts and observations on current priority areas for investment and innovation in injury recovery, as well as hopefully challenge us as an industry to better understand some of the systemic issues faced by injured people and the payers of healthcare services.

Natalie Bekis_Plenary Speaker

Natalie Bekis

Natalie is the General Manager of the Strategic Partnerships and Engagement Group at Comcare, the national work health and safety and compensation authority. Natalie has over 20 years’ experience working across various state and national personal injury compensation systems, including WorkSafe Victoria, the Transport Accident Commission and with one of Australia’s largest national self-insured employers.

Natalie is a board Director of the Personal Injury Education Foundation, has a Bachelor of Nursing and a Master of Business Management. Natalie is also a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Miranda Blogg

Dr Miranda Blogg

Dr Miranda Blogg is the Director of the Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative at the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.  Miranda has worked for the department for the last 7 years, and prior to, she was a consultant working both in Australia and the United States.  Miranda is a registered civil engineer with a PhD in traffic engineering who has specialised in traffic engineering, transport planning and research for over 25 years.   

Aidan Brophy_Plenary Speaker  Aidan Brophy
Director, Claims, WorkSafe Victoria

Aidan has worked in the workers compensation industry for 19 years in a variety of roles at a Claims Agent and now with WorkSafe Victoria.

Aidan commenced his career in 2002 at Gallagher Bassett (GB). He worked in a number of senior claims positions throughout his time at GB, including the General Manager position from 2016-2018. He joined WorkSafe in 2018 as the Director, Agent Performance & Relationships before moving to the Director, Claims in early 2019.  In his role, Aidan oversees the return to work and claims performance of the Victorian scheme.

Aidan has a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology and a Masters of Business Management.

Marcus Burke_Plenary Speaker

Marcus Burke

Marcus Burke is Head of the Automated Vehicle Program at the National Transport Commission. Marcus is responsible for national reform for transport technology, including developing the legal framework for automated vehicles. He has successfully led national reforms for automated vehicle safety, automated vehicle insurance and heavy vehicle safety. Marcus joined the NTC in 2011 and previously worked in the private sector, with extensive experience in IT product management.

Marcus has a combined Bachelor of Law/Science from the University of Melbourne and a Masters in Diplomacy and International Trade from Monash University.

Petrina Casey_Plenary Speaker copy

Petrina Casey

Petrina is an experienced executive who has worked across the government, insurance, disability and life insurance sectors. She is currently the Executive Director of the Motor Accidents Insurance Regulation Division at the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).

Dr Casey holds a Master of Public Health and a Doctor of Philosophy from Sydney University Faculty of Medicine. Her research principally focused on the intersection between health, legal and claims outcomes in a personal injury compensation policy setting.


Paul Gimblett

As Head of the newly formed Levies business unit at ACC Paul is tasked with refreshing ACC’s levy system to improve equity, increase the effectiveness of the incentives within the system and modernise our collection mechanisms.

Paul has 20+ years’ experience with ACC in roles focusing on scheme management, injury prevention, claims management and levies. 

Professor Nick Glozier_Plenary Speaker
Professor Nick Glozier

Professor Glozier has an international reputation in the field of mental ill-health, sleep, work-related disability, impairment and stigma.

Internationally His work on mental health disability and function formed part of the classification of impairment, activity and participation in the World Health Organisation’s ICF which underpins most country's disability eligibility and classification systems. He conducted international field studies developing the WHO Disability Assessment Schedule-II, a widely used measure in multinational and Australian surveys and the NDIS, and provides PIRS and impairment assessment workshops.

He is one of the World Health Organisations’ Expert Review Panel for the soon to be published International Guidelines for Mental Health and Work

In Australia he and his colleagues work utilising technology to address work related mental ill health has led to engagement, intervention, development, and trials in 15 large and medium public and private sector organisations, with thousands of participants and high-level support. The outputs are being implemented and scaled by both government and private sectors, for example Safework’s provision of his team’s online decision support tool for disclosing mental health problems. He produced metareviews of the comparative effects and strength of the evidence for psychosocial stressors on workplace mental health and interventions for the $55million NSW mentally healthy workplace strategy.

He is a foundation member of the NSW Centre for Work Health and Safety

He is a Medical Assessor and Appeal Panel member with the NSW Personal Injury Commission

Purnima Kant_Plenary Speaker
Purnima Kant

Purnima Kant is the Healthcare Manager for NSW CTP Claims in QBE with over seven years of experience in the Personal Injury Schemes.

Purnima started at QBE as a Case Manager in Workers Compensation before she progressed on to become an Injury Management Advisor. During her role as an Injury Management Advisor she spent majority of her time with major and catastrophic injuries from motor vehicle accidents assisting people with the likes of spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, amputations and severe trauma.

More recently, Purnima has been leading the team of Injury Management Advisors in NSW CTP as well as overseeing and implementing Healthcare strategies across the business.

Purnima holds a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science degree and a Master in Chiropractic from Macquarie University. She is a practicing Chiropractor alongside with strong exposure to injury management from a treating perspective.

Purnima is a strong advocate in helping people get their lives back together following an injury using the best evidence based practices and data.
Sarah Johnson

Sarah has worked in the disability and human services sector for the last 15 years, and is currently the Scheme Actuary of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Prior to this role, she was a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers and worked with Productivity Commission (PC) on the Disability Care and Support Inquiry which led to the NDIS in Australia.

Sarah has also previously collaborated with a number of state/territory disability departments, including New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia, and also the Commonwealth government.

Sarah’s also has broader experience in human services, including accident compensation, health, homelessness, justice, and aged care.

Sarah is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia and completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of New South Wales (Actuarial Studies and Financial Economics).

In 2016, Ms Johnson was awarded Actuary of the Year by the Actuaries Institute.

jono Nicholas_Plenary Speaker

Jono Nicholas

Jono is the Managing Director of the Wellbeing Outfit and Chief Mental health advisor to EY Oceania. In 1997 he was one of the founding staff members of ReachOut, Australia's leading digital mental health service for young people and their parents. After 10 years as ReachOut CEO, he founded the Wellbeing Outfit, an advisory business that helps organisations drive performance by improving the safety and wellbeing of their people. He has an honours degree in psychology and a Masters in Public Health and was a 2018 finalist for the Australian Mental Health Prize. 

Laura Richards_Plenary Speaker

Laura Richards

Laura Richards is a Return to Work Specialist in the Victorian Workers Compensation scheme for Allianz Australia. In her 12 year career at Allianz across both general insurance and within the Victorian Workers compensation scheme she has worked in a number of roles including Senior Case Manager, Team leader, Technical manager and subsequently Return to work Specialist. Laura spent 5 years managing claims arising from the Victorian Courts and Prison systems along with Emergency volunteer organisations.

Laura has a post graduate degree in Commercial radio and television from Swinburne University along with a Personal Injury management Cert 3 from Deakin University.

Robyn Stokes_Plenary Speaker

Dr Robyn Stokes

Dr Robyn Stokes joined Bionics Queensland as CEO in early 2020 after successfully leading her own business Stokes Strategy and Research for more than a decade. Robyn is widely recognised for her successful career as a university lecturer and consultant with visioning, marketing and strategy expertise. Her interest in biotech innovation came to the foreground in shaping strategies for Brisbane and Queensland to leverage Australia’s G20 Leaders’ Summit and related events in 2014.

Robyn subsequently co-chaired the Foundation Committee for Bionics Queensland with Dr Dimity Dornan AO (Founder and Chair of Bionics Qld) before being appointed as CEO in early 2020.  She then invented and organised Australia’s first-ever Bionics Challenge to stimulate new devices, treatments and technologies; widening this event in 2021 in partnership with the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC)  of Queensland to further benefit those impacted by trauma, disability and disease.  Alongside the Challenge, Robyn is coordinating a Bionics Innovation Opportunity Analysis, a Bionics Innovation Ecosystem Map and related plans for a Human Bionics LivingLab ™ without borders, engaging local and global stakeholders in this vision. 

Matthew Vickers_Plenary Speaker

Matthew Vickers

Matthew is the General Manager Workers Insurance at EML. Matt leads a claims operation under a Service Provider arrangement with icare, a role he has held for the last five years.

Matt also leads the Claims Support Services for EML nationally, including the Actuarial, Business Performance, Customer Care and Provider Services teams.

Matt has worked within the personal injury sector for 21 years and has worked in claims, policy/underwriting and regulatory roles throughout his career.  Matt commenced his personal injury career as a Trainee Case Manager in October 2000.

Prior to EML, Matt has held roles with Coal Services, WorkCover NSW, GIO and Allianz.

Matt strongly values the role frontline employees play in achieving positive claim outcomes and has an emphasis on customer care, service delivery and team satisfaction.

Matt holds a Master of Risk Management & Insurance, a Master of Business (Operations Management) and a Bachelor of Commerce.