Program 2024

Conference runs from Sunday until Wednesday offering delegates a program filled with:

  • topical presentations
  • keynote presentations
  • panel discussions, and
  • social and networking events.

Program overview

CPD Units – Queensland Practising Certificate

Attendees can claim the content of the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference to meet their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) units for their Interim Queensland Practising Certificate.

Minimum claim is one hour for attendance and up to a maximum of six hours for the full conference.

Attendees presenting papers at the conference can claim up to 12 hours for the conference.

Refer to the RSHQ website for further details.

Keynote speakers

Dr Tim Baker

Dr Tim Baker helps organizations and leaders improve performance. Organizations are basically a bunch of people working towards a common cause. The greatest return on investment to improve performance comes from building leadership capability.

Surveys suggest that 70% of employees are disengaged. Research shows a link between engagement and the bottom-line. Disengagement is costing you money. Leadership makes the difference.

Investing is leadership is the gateway to high-performance. High quality leadership is priceless. But most people are promoted to leadership roles on their technical know-how and can struggle in their new leadership role. Even experienced leaders from CEO to middle managers benefit from building better leadership capability.

Tim is a specialist in organizational performance, with a successful track record in transforming leadership capability for 18-years. Organizational development and effectiveness are his forte.

Dr Catherine Ball

Entrepreneur, Scientific Futurist and Visioneer

Associate Professor, Dr Catherine Ball is a scientific futurist, speaker, advisor, author, founder, executive producer, executive director, and company director working across global projects where emerging technologies meet humanitarian, education and environmental needs. Catherine also likes to create businesses and champion movements, collaborate with peers, and advise game-changers.

A sought-after voice across the start-up, futurist and tech world, Catherine works globally across a wide range of projects from creating documentaries and world leading conferences and events, to advising on the use of novel approaches (e.g. drones) across environmental and humanitarian projects. Catherine is a proponent of community engagement with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and likes to demystify emerging tech.

Having been called a ‘social architect’, Catherine likes to connect people from different backgrounds across common themes. A champion of diversity and inclusion, Catherine believes we need points of difference to truly innovate and curate the changes we want to see in the world. Working to protect the natural environment and empowering all members of society through mutual education are core aspects of the projects Catherine chooses to spend her time and energy on.

Catherine continues to support Australia as being the world leader in the advancement of ethically driven technological applications. Industry 5.0 is emerging; with society and community at the heart of how we operate and curate emerging trends and capabilities.

Catherine is the only Australian on the International Advisory Board of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, which follows her work as a judge on the Ocean Discovery XPrize. A proud #SheFlies ambassador for Girl Geek Academy, and a mentor and advisor to the CEO of Women Who Drone, and a regular mentor to many rising stars across the STEM fields in Australia and abroad, Catherine believes in actively paying it forward.

An Associate Professor at the Australian National University and Honorary Associate Professor at the 3AI Institute; Catherine is leading national conversations around technology and its place in the current and future challenges in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Catherine’s latest business ventures include the internationally renowned World of Drones and Robotics Congress, established in Brisbane in 2017 and the free community resources of World of Drones Education, established in 2018.

Catherine is a board director for Aviation Australia; and is on the international advisory board for the Ocean Impact Org, a not-for-profit ecosystem for businesses working towards a healthier ocean.

Catherine holds a BSc Honours (Environmental Protection) and a PhD (Spatial Ecology, Descriptive and Predictive Statistics) from the University of Newcastle- upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom.

Melanie Cooper

Mel Cooper is the Head of Equity Inclusion and Diversity for Rio Tinto globally.  During her 17 years with Rio Tinto, Mel has worked in a variety of roles in both operations and construction projects across Australia and Canada.  She has also led the Everyday Respect Taskforce for Rio Tinto which last year released the report on workplace culture in an unconventionally transparent way.

Mel is passionate about creating an environment where people have equal access to opportunities and can achieve their full potential.  She holds degrees in Psychology, Education, Counselling and HR.

Previous to working at Rio Tinto, Mel worked in Elite Sport and for the Queensland Police Service where amongst other things she was a firearms instructor.

Dave Holland

Occupational health and safety consultant

Dave Holland was working as a geotechnical soil technician at a development site in 2004 when, at aged 39, his life changed forever. He was alone, using a drill to test the soil in a paddock when his hair got caught in a drill, taking his ear and scalp with it.

His neck was broken in three places and his skin ripped off his face. He was forced to balance his head as he walked almost 50 metres towards the sound of a tradesman on a mobile phone. He was pronounced clinically dead at one point, surviving thanks to the efforts of paramedics and the tradesman’s quick thinking. He still lives with the physical and mental scars.

Now Dave shares his experience in a bid to keep others safe. Dave is now an occupational health and safety consultant and safety motivational presenter. All of Dave’s OH&S programs include individually designed training to create a positive safety culture, develop effective consultation processes and build the awareness of individual risk.

Neryl Joyce

Mercenary Mum

Neryl Joyce was the daughter of an Infantry Army Officer and grew up in various locations on the east coast of Australia and Papua New Guinea.

After leaving high school with aspirations of attaining a University degree, reality set in and she found herself instead, scanning items as a checkout operator at the local Woolworths store.

Not content with living a life without meaningful purpose, she decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and joined the Australian army. Neryl became a Military Police Officer and completed the highly sought after Close Personal Protection Course. She also became a single mother to her young son when her partner of five years left her at the height of her career.

In late 2004, Neryl left the army and took up close protection work in Iraq with a private military company. She was quick to learn the vast differences between the army and private military companies, and soon learnt that money didn’t necessarily attract the best operators.

Lucrative contracts and healthy pay packets saw the formation of workplace culture where charismatic characters were thrust into leadership positions well above their abilities. Those on the ‘outer’ or whose faces didn’t necessarily fit were offered menial and dangerous tasks that were often accepted in fear of losing their jobs. The toxic culture eventually led to poor decision making, excessive risk taking and ultimately; the death of her colleagues.

In April 2005, Neryl’s team were ambushed and gunned down on the infamous ‘Route Irish’ resulting in the death of the first Australian contractor, and two other team members.

Soon after the incident, Neryl took up a position with the infamous American company Blackwater Security Consulting, providing close personal protection to staff involved with the upcoming Iraqi Presidential election.

Shortly after taking on this role, Neryl fell victim to an unscrupulous American male team member who laced her drink and sexually assaulted her, as she lay unconscious in her room. Heavily sedated, Neryl managed to fight off her attacker and make for safety.

Knowing that the events in Iraq had the ability to destroy her resolve, Neryl chose to rise above adversity and not be a victim.

In 2010, Neryl took up the position of Operations Manager at an Immigration Detention Centre on Christmas Island and by early 2011; she was promoted to Centre Manager.

Her time on the island saw Neryl pulling corpses from the water after the ‘Boat Tragedy of 2010, threats to her life by detainees, lip sewing, self-harm attempts and regular protests. She managed her centre through the unprecedented number of boat arrivals, and led her team during the worst riots ever experienced in Australian immigration detention history.

Neryl has a published book titled “Mercenary Mum” which reveals what she had to overcome in order to succeed as a woman, and a mother, in the dangerous world of high-risk security. She is currently working on her second book, which details the explosive life she led whilst running a detention centre on Christmas Island.

Natalee Johnston

Navy’s first female pilot, passionate about safety, the impact of human factors (soft skills) and culture

Natalee Johnston has 24 years of military experience as a qualified helicopter instructor, operations and safety leader. Natalee is passionate about safety and how an organisation’s culture and resilience can positively contribute to the welfare of all employees, their families and the community as a whole.

Natalee has been part of the Royal Australian Navy’s and the wider defence forces’ cultural transition from an operational and a personnel perspective. As the first female naval helicopter pilot she understands the challenges of trying to break into an established organisational culture. Being part of a minority for her entire career, she has a personal insight into how people change to fit in and the difficulties in trying to break this evolution.

As the first woman in the RAN to return to flying duties post having children, she understands the stressors of modern life, the challenges and strain on managing time and responsibilities between work, family, friends and yourself and the guilt that can accompany it. Having sacrificed time with her children to continue on her career and gain qualifications in accident investigation and piloting the MRH90 Maritime Support helicopter she knows the importance of support networks and developing resilience, understanding and a sense of what can be achieved in her children.

Natalee grew up in the Western Australian wheatbelt and is the second daughter to a farming family. Her parents struggled through with little to start with and high interest rates, moving around the locality to save before they could buy their own. They taught Natalee a key lesson that has stayed with her throughout her extensive career that is persistence and a good work ethic. The ability to not give up in the face of adversity, to use the defiers words to spur you on was something that she needed from the start of her career with her own extended family expressing negativity towards her joining the military and trying to become a pilot.

Natalee is an engaging story teller who has an ability to connect and take the audience on a journey. She tells a story of personal challenges, resilience and will compel the audience to reconsider how they communicate and think about workplace safety and culture.

Mike Lockwood

With over 35 years of experience ranging from being a General Aviation Pilot, Military and Civilian Air Traffic Controller, Trainer, Supervisor, Manager, Project Specialist and business owner, Mike Lockwood is a highly regarded aviation industry professional. Mike has extensive experience in ATC tower automation systems, procurement/tender evaluation, regulatory compliance and support and project management. Mike leads the team at Air Traffic Solutions and has been the Project Manager for recent ATS projects such as the training design, development, and training delivery for the Early Voice Communications System for Airservices, the AIM System for the Royal Saudi Air Force, and leading the ATS team supporting a major Middle Eastern airports procurement program. Having worked in a high risk/high consequence industry his entire life Mike is able to provide an insight into how other industries than mining approach managing operations in this unique environment.

Linda Murry


Linda has a career spanning more than 20 years in the mining industry and +10years in heavy industrials.  Linda has a diverse background in chemistry, processing and mining engineering and has worked in most aspects of the mining supply chain from Production (overburden and ore), Processing, Ports, Maintenance (MEM and Plant/Port/Shutdowns), Logistics and Technical Services.

Linda holds a Bachelor of Science, a Masters of Mining Engineering and a number of other qualifications. Linda has a proven track record of business improvement and cultural transformation.

Linda is passionate about developing people and is a strong advocate for mentoring and training. Having spent more than 13 years living in remote mining communities, Linda is a strong advocate for improving engagement in the communities and mental health of employees.

Natasha Nunn

Principal Consultant and owner of NeuroPower Group

Natasha ‘Tash’ is a Principal Consultant and owner of NeuroPower Group, a behavioural strategy firm that specialises in finding pragmatic solutions to complex people challenges.

Applying the latest insights from social-cognitive neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics, Tash works closely with leaders to turn theory into actionable, scalable and impactful real-world solutions.

Tash is the antithesis of a ‘traditional consultant’ who sits on the sidelines and gives advice. Tash rolls up her sleeves, digs into the problem and walks beside leaders to make genuine change. She has a unique ability to work with CEO and C Suite Executives as well as middle and front-line leaders to connect strategy with operations.

Tash loves a challenge, so works across a diverse portfolio of sectors including Finance, Resources and Energy, Health and Travel, with clients in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Netherlands and Germany. She specialises in rapid team formation, leadership development at scale, (real) cultural transformation, customer behaviour analysis and executive coaching.

With a challenging employment market and increasing pressures across industries, Natasha believes that now is the time to embrace out-of-the-box thinking, new approaches to organisational challenges and to close the gap between what was and what could be because as Henry Ford famously said ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’.

So for leaders and organisations looking for real-world solutions rather than just another PowerPoint pack, Tash is the person for you!

Rachel Robertson

Rachael led the Australian expedition to Davis Station, Antarctica – the second female to lead a team at the Station and the youngest ever leader.

She managed a team of 18 people through the long, dark, Antarctic winter and through trial and error built a resilient and highly successful team based on the foundation that ‘respect trumps harmony’.

Since returning Rachael has completed her MBA, written 2 best-selling books, Leading on the Edge and Respect Trumps Harmony, and has presented at over 2000 events around the world.

Wayne Schwass

Distinguished 14 year AFL career, and mental health advocate

In 2006, Wayne started the Sunrise Foundation – a not-for-profit that delivered preventative education programs to more than 5000 secondary school students. Wayne has taken on several important roles in the community including being the lead witness in the 2019 Royal Commission into the Victorian Mental Health System, serving as a panel member for the review of the Victorian Mental Health Act 1986 as well as being a leading voice on mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The Sunrise Foundation confirmed that creating awareness and proactively doing something about the mental health and the ongoing suicide crisis Australia faces, is indeed Wayne’s passion.

The second iteration of Wayne’s social enterprise was founded in 2017: PukaUp. Through PukaUp, Wayne continues his work of normalising the conversation around mental health, and giving people the opportunity to take control of their own wellbeing, before reaching crisis point.

Wayne enjoyed a celebrated 14 year AFL playing career, going on to establish himself as a respected sports media broadcaster – a position he held over a 17 year period until 2019, where his speaking skills were honed.

Mental health has touched Wayne personally – over the past 26 years he has lived with and managed depression, anxiety and OCD at various stages of his life. He understands the impact that these conditions have on your life but equally, he understands the benefit and value of proactively looking after your wellbeing to live a healthy, happy and productive life.

Wayne hid his conditions for 12 years and it’s taken him 26 years to learn the skills that now allow him to look after his mental health. Wayne doesn’t want people to make those same choices. He decided a long time ago to use his experiences to help other people on similar journeys. Wayne doesn’t believe people need to wait until they become unwell before they start to think about their mental health. He wants people to stay healthy – it’s a much better outcome for the individual, their families and friends, their workplaces and the broader community.

Wayne’s passion is also his purpose. Hand on heart, he knows that his purpose in this life is to do the work he’s been doing for the past 16+ years and more recently with PukaUp. There are very few things in life that you can do which have a positive impact on other people. Knowing that the work PukaUp is doing has such a positive impact on people’s lives – including preventing people from ending their lives – motivates Wayne to continue to drive PukaUp’s suicide prevention campaigns and initiatives.

James Wood

James Wood offers workplaces something different. He shares the story of his workplace accident!

James made some wrong Choices and ended up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life!

James’ Safety Presentation has a long lasting and significant impact on the Choices you make.

Full paper abstracts

How to manage competency for welding on mine sites
Simon Krismer, WQMS Pty Ltd

A practicable risk-based approach to RS22 implementation and ongoing compliance.
Steve Amor and Anthony Beasley, Jarah Corporate

Longwall Maingate and Tailgate Proactive Sponcom and Gas Management Strategy- An Operational Safety Share on Risk Management
B Belle, Anglo American Steelmaking Coal, Australia; University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; University of Pretoria, South Africa.
R Balusu, CSIRO Mineral Resources

Beyond TARPS – the need for supporting systems
David Cliff, Minerals Industry Safety and Health Centre, Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland

QGL02: Dust controls are like safety critical controls.
Jack Farry and Samantha Forster, Mineral Mines and Quarries Inspectorate, Resources Safety and Health Queensland