Victorian Waste Education Conference 2019 presenters

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Day 1

Natalie Isaacs (keynote speaker)

1 Million Women

Natalie Isaacs is the founder and CEO of 1 Million Women, a global movement of women and girls who take practical action to fight climate change by changing the way they live.

A former cosmetics manufacturer, Natalie realised that individual action is key to a powerful path to solving the climate crisis. She decided to leave behind the over-packaged world of skin and beauty care, to create an organisation that inspires and empowers women to act.

Under Natalie’s leadership, 1 Million Women has become one of Australia’s largest networks acting on climate change, is rapidly expanding internationally, and has grown to more than 900,000 women and counting.

A pioneer in the gender and climate change arena in Australia, Natalie’s climate journey from apathy to action cuts through complexity and delivers a simple message that resonates with women and girls of all ages. As the Australian Geographic Society’s 2017 Conservationist of the Year and author of Every Woman's Guide to Saving the Planet, Natalie is a sought-after presenter and is recognised and supported by some of the world’s most influential women climate leaders.

Katherine Cocks

Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group

Katherine is the Multi-Unit Developments (MUDs) Program Coordinator at Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group in Melbourne, Victoria. Katherine manages a range of programs aimed to support waste management and resource recovery in MUDs. These programs target a range of audiences including council statutory planners, MUDs design professionals, council waste officers and property managers/real estate agents and owners’ corporation managers, all who have been identified as key stakeholders in improving waste management and resource recovery in MUDs.

Tom Elford

Barwon South West Waste and Resource Recovery Group

Tom is the data and research officer with the Barwon South Waste and Resource Recovery Group. He works primarily with local government, industry and state government, gathering and analysing waste and recycling data to use and share for decision making and program evaluation. Tom has a background in environmental social science as well as natural areas conservation and revegetation.

Veronica Shannon


Veronica is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, lawyer and animal-lover. Veronica founded retub in response to the global issue of single-use packaging, combining her passion for sustainability and good design.

In 2019, retub was nominated as a finalist for the Premier’s Sustainability Award, won a Good Design Award and was featured across numerous publications and media channels.

Trinity Mawson

Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group

Trinity has 15 years’ experience in education, moving into waste education in the last few years. Trinity has been involved in bringing a wide range of waste education projects to residents and industries of the Loddon Mallee Region, including the hospitality industry.

Ki Halstead

Sustainability Victoria

Ki Halstead is the waste education coordination lead in Sustainability Victoria’s Resource Recovery Strategies & Programs group

Richard Hamilton

Transition Streets Geelong

Richard started out as an Industrial Engineer, with a focus on scientific management principles, moving to senior business management roles, Richard has taken a focus of waste reduction skills into consultancy and coaching arenas. Learning and sharing with others in transition streets has been very enriching over the last couple of years, and it provides inspiration for the future.

Jane Higgins

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

Jane is the Manager of Waste and Resource Recovery at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. She is currently co-leading the development of a circular economy policy for Victoria.

Jane has over 14 years of public policy experience and previously led the development of Victoria’s Recycling Industry Strategic Plan. Prior to her role in waste and resource recovery, Jane was Manager in DELWP’s Biodiversity division, where she led policy and regulatory reviews.

Alejandra Laclette

Planet Ark

After supervising the sustainability educational program at her corporate job in Mexico, Alejandra moved to Australia where she started working as a sustainability
consultant. In this role, she coordinated programs aimed at improving consumer understanding of the environmental credentials of packaging, as well as how to correctly dispose of it so that it can be diverted from landfill. Alejandra joined Planet Ark in early 2018. She manages the consumer education campaign of the Australasian Recycling Label.

Una McAlinden

National Celtic Music Festival

Una is the Director of the National Celtic Festival, which has enabled her to develop extensive partnerships with cultural organisations, festivals and events national and international. She sits on various boards with a focus on events and the arts. As Executive Director of Folk Alliance Australia - a national body representing the folk scene in Australia - Una has worked nationally and international in the music industry.

Una has broad experience in the arts and event management industries and has an education background.

Darby Munro

City of Greater Geelong

Darby Munro has been the education officer at the City of Greater Geelong for the past 10 years. His role involves gathering data on residents’ recycling and disposal behaviour, designing and delivering campaigns that support council policy objectives for waste management. In addition, he identifies, communicates and shares information with the community to improve the sustainability of waste management services.

Catherine Ng

Sustainability Victoria

Catherine Ng is the recycling collection system lead at SV. She currently works on delivering Action 2.2 of the Recycling Industry Strategic Plan (RISP) with DELWP.

Prior to joining SV, she worked at Environment Protection Authority Victoria as an applied science advisor, primarily focusing on air and waste sectors.

Tessa O’Brien

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)

Tessa is a policy officer in the Waste and Resource Recovery Team at DELWP. She is contributing to developing circular economy policy for Victoria and is the DELWP lead on a joint project with SV to improve household recycling collections. Prior to her role in the Department, Tessa was a waste education officer at Wyndham City Council and led the delivery of behaviour change programs, campaigns, and ran sustainability events for the council. Tessa holds a Master of Environment from the University of Melbourne.

Melanie Oke

Sustainability Victoria

Melanie has been working to reduce waste for more than 13 years. In her current role, she is identifying new opportunities and building capability in circular economy. In her previous role at City of Melbourne, she coordinated waste and resource recovery programs for households and businesses. In other roles, she has managed kerbside waste contracts, worked as an environmental consultant and delivered behaviour change programs.

John Pearce

Geelong Sustainability Group

Having spent more than 30 years teaching in primary schools, John now tutors at Deakin University. John’s ongoing interest in the use of ICT across the curriculum has seen him present at local, national and international conferences. Lately he has become interested in the digital curriculum including coding and makerspaces with emphasis on the classroom implications around these themes. He has a Bachelor of Education and is a director of Salty Solutions.

Vicki Perrett

Geelong Sustainability Group

Vicki enjoyed a long career in tertiary education as a teacher, instructional designer and program manager. A sea change retirement to the Bellarine aroused her passion for sustainability and the importance of protecting our natural environment for future generations. Vicki was treasurer from 2012-2016 before becoming president. Vicki is developing the group’s networks and campaigning for legislative change. She coordinates local events including Sustainable House Day and is advocating for a pilot micro ecovillage for Geelong.

Jace Rahilly


Jason is the founder and director of B-Alternative. He has an entrepreneurial spirit and started his first official business, a personal training company, at the age of 17. Jace’s love for the environment and animals and his frustration with the plastic pollution led to the birth of B-Alternative. He understands that by building a successful business model, he can support the philanthropic and education activities needed to make real change. He is also developing earthships and looking at sustainable off grid communities.

Jo Regel

Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group

Jo has extensive experience in the environment and waste sector, most recently joining the Metropolitan Waste Resource Recovery Group in June 2018. Prior to this, Jo worked with the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA), where she led the officers for the protection of the local environment (OPLE) pilot program, oversaw EPA’s international relations and strategy, and managed the Hazwaste Fund.  Jo has a PhD in Environmental Science from RMIT University.

Derek Ryan

Transition Streets Geelong

Derek Ryan studied industrial chemistry, worked in the chemical industry for four years and then the civil engineering field for eight years before starting his own business, LaserForm, in the flood irrigation areas of the Riverina.  After completing a Bachelor of Education, he started teaching maths and science, and specialises in physics.He has always had a passion for water harvesting and its efficient use in irrigation and the home. His waste-related passion is composting.

Shannon Smyth

Sustainability Victoria

Shannon Smyth is Manager of the Resource Recovery Strategies and Programs team. He manages the team responsible for leading the implementation of the Victorian Waste Education, Organics and Market Development Strategies. He and his team works closely with industry, community and across government to plan infrastructure and capacity needs, address market barriers, improve community understanding on the essential service the waste industry provides and to improve the recovery of priority materials from landfill.

Rachael Vorwerk

Science communicator

Rachael is a science communicator and has been published in Cosmos, Decision Point and Double Helix Magazine. In 2018 as part of her masters, Rachael conducted research on ABC’s War on Waste and its behaviour change communication strategies. Rachael plans to submit this research for publication. Rachael also works at RMIT as a research assistant investigating the effectiveness of current community engagement frameworks.

Dr Andrea Walton


Andrea is a social scientist and team leader with CSIRO’s Adaptive Communities and Industries group. Since commencing with CSIRO in 2011, her work has included social science research into social licence to operate, social acceptance and trust, and perceptions of risk and benefits in relation to contested industries. Andrea has collaborated with Sustainability Victoria and delivered projects investigating attitudes, perceptions towards waste and recycling, and social licence of the waste and resource recovery sector since 2016.

Monica Winston

Transition Streets Geelong

Monica has a Bachelor degree in Visual Communication Design. She was a founding & committee member of Geelong Sustainability during which time she trained in Permaculture, ran Sustainable House Day in Geelong, facilitated many edible garden courses, blitz’s and Permaculture courses. She has been coordinating Transition Streets Geelong since 2017.

Day 2

Costa Georgiadis (keynote speaker)

Gardening Australia (ABC television)

 Costa Georgiadis is the much-loved host of one of the ABC’s most iconic television programs, Gardening Australia.

Costa is a landscape architect with a passion for plants and people. For Costa, soil and water are central to absolutely everything. He believes the sustainable management of these precious resources is of the utmost global importance.

Food and food security are two areas where Costa connects his skills in landscape design to the future of cities. He is involved with Regenerative Agriculture and emerging holistic practices to deal with the issues of a rapidly urbanising world.

Costa delivers his message to the broader community through his work with primary schools, high schools, TAFE colleges and universities, industry groups and community organisations.

Kate Akkerman

Byron Shire Council

Kate has worked as a waste education and compliance officer at Byron Shire Council since 2017. With a background in marine science and a passion for conserving clean and healthy oceans, Kate runs the council’s litter and illegal dumping campaigns. Prior to working here, Kate worked for local conservation groups allowing successful relationships to be built between the council and local stakeholders. Kate has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Marine Science and Management.

Amelia Berner


Amelia Berner is OzHarvest’s food education and sustainability training (FEAST) program manager. This program combines nutrition, food waste and sustainability in a curriculum ready package for Australian primary schools.

Amelia’s passion for nutrition and environmental education stems from a decade of experience as a food technology teacher and working as a practicing nutritionist. This enabled her to develop the FEAST education program that ensures all children can learn where food comes from and how it is prepared sustainably.

Ryan Collins

Planet Ark

After nearly a decade working in the finance industry, Ryan was drawn to a career in environmental conservation. From Sydney, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to Fiji, he worked in diverse roles. With a background in psychology and environmental management, Ryan’s role at Planet Ark since 2012 has been focussed on developing positive environmental behaviour change programs to help individuals, schools and businesses to reduce waste through a suite of campaigns. He is currently the head of sustainable resource programs.

Megan Davis

Spendlove and Lamb

Megan Davis, lead storyteller at Spendlove and Lamb, has been crafting narratives in Melbourne and around the world since 2012. Spendlove and Lamb specialise in narrative strategy and storytelling frameworks for leveraging organisational communication or marketing. Megan has been developing the craft of storytelling since she debuted on stage at the tender age of seven. Putting empathy first in business and life, Megan loves sharing her knowledge by speaking, training and consulting on projects that are changing the world.

Elaine Fernandes

Sustainability Victoria

Elaine manages the delivery of the Victorian Litter Plan and works across the households and climate change coordination team in litter prevention, climate projects, behaviour change, stakeholder engagement.

She has a decade’s experience across private and public sectors in climate resilience/adaptation and policy, litter management, and sustainability education.

Elaine has a Bachelor of Science/Media and Communication with first class honours. Her thesis was on climate change perceptions and barriers to change. She is passionate about communicating climate science to the community.

Samantha Ferrier

Campaspe Shire Council

Samantha is the environmental projects officer – education. She is responsible for delivering the waste and environment behaviour change program - Waste In Campaspe - Know, Educate, Do (also known as WickED). Sam works closely with the waste and environment team to deliver council’s food and garden waste program, Give a Scrap.

Michelle Fisher

Melbourne Repair Cafe

Michelle Fisher launched the Melbourne Repair Cafe in February 2016 and has hosted more than 36 monthly repair sessions. By sharing her leamings and resources, she's supported the spread of repair cafes in more than a dozen communities throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria and further afield. Michelle has a long career in public policy at the state and national level, is completing a Master of Environment at the University of Melbourne, and is a fellow with the Centre for Sustainable Leadership.

Chelsea Rorimpandey

Marketplace Sustainability Manager, Veolia ANZ

Chelsea Rorimpandey is a sustainability specialist with over 15 years of successful experience in driving sustainability outcomes.

As the Marketplace Sustainability Manager at Veolia ANZ, Chelsea specialises in bringing emerging technologies and innovations to fruition.

A strong believer in the power of employee engagement, Chelsea has successfully implemented, designed and led corporate Green Teams, engaged executives, produced winning business cases and developed engaging tools such as "Way to Grow" for sustainability education.

Sophie Green

City of Yarra

Sophie has been in waste minimisation with the City of Yarra since January. Previously she worked in the not-for-profit sustainability sector in marketing, communications and community mobilisation. Her role involves managing several behaviour change programs including Proudly Plastic Free, which supports food traders to reduce their use of single-use plastic. Sophie is passionate about driving change and facilitating collaboration between all levels of government and industry to deliver better outcomes for the community and the environment.

Jess Hand


Jess is the litter and illegal dumping program coordinator at Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group (MWRRG). Jess delivers training to metropolitan Melbourne councils to improve their data on illegal dumping and facilitates MWRRG’s litter network which aims to empower and build the capacity of council waste education and litter prevention officers to implement litter prevention best practice.

Stephanie Hill

Tyabb Railway Station Primary School

Stephanie has been in the education sector for 17 years, working across early childhood, preschool and now in the primary school sector. She is passionate about sustainability and says she is very lucky to work at a school that supports all the children’s, teachers and community’s ideas. She currently works with foundation students and believes that the earlier we teach children about sustainability and make them partners in sustainable choices, the greater the impact it will have upon our future.

Kelly Jenkins

St Joseph's College

Kelly is a science teacher at St Joseph's College. She has a Certificate III in Carbon Management and was appointed the sustainability coordinator St Joseph's College in 2103. In 2015, St Joseph's received the ResourceSmart Schools Waste Secondary School of the Year award, and in 2016 it was a finalist in the awards’ waste, energy and community categories.  In 2017, Kelly was acknowledged as the ResourceSmart Secondary School Teacher of the Year.

Abbie Lane

City of Casey

Abbie spent many years as a secondary teacher, trying in vain to convince the school and principal to introduce sustainability measures, until she came across the newly created environmental education officer role at the City of Casey. This was what she was looking for. At Casey she has introduced the original cloth nappy rebate and more recently included reusable sanitary products to the rebate. She has written council guides, runs large and small events and does presentations on different topics.

Loretta Leary

Mount Waverley Primary School

Loretta received the Sir John Monash Award in Sustainability Leadership 2016 and was the ResourceSmart Schools Primary Teacher of the Year 2017/2018. She has been the sustainability leader at Mount Waverley Primary School for 19 years and is now also a specialist sustainability educator at the school. Loretta has a wealth of knowledge about sustainability education and has written and implemented several whole-school curriculums. She is mentor to many other schools and teachers across the state in sustainability education.

La Vergne Lehmann

Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group (GCWWRRG)

La Vergne is a great believer in making waste a ‘sexy’ topic for community engagement. Coming from an eclectic background has helped La Vergne understand how to connect with her local communities from starting out as an accountant and moving onto journalism, agricultural education, NRM and as tourism management before discovering the waste and recycling sector in the Grampians region. She has been in the executive officer role for two years, having previously been a procurement/engagement manager and waste education officer.

Jennifer Lewis

City of Casey

Jennifer worked in the horticulture industry and had a passion for sustainable living. Before working at Casey, she volunteered at her children’s school, teaching sustainability. Then the opportunity of recycling education officer at Casey came along – get paid for what she was already doing! Jennifer has worked with community groups to get Boomerang Bags groups started in Casey, and spent lots of time teaching school kids and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) groups about waste, recycling and composting.

Angeline Poole

Bellarine Catchment Network

Angeline is the coastal projects coordinator. She has a Bachelor of Marine Science and a Graduate Diploma of Education and Resource Management.

She describes herself as:

  • a juggler – supporting and empowering the community with enthusiasm with many different projects throughout the region to care for the bays, reduce litter and inspire waste reduction
  • a master builder – fostering strong, authentic partnerships to ensure that people, resources and brilliance come together to achieve greater outcomes which address waste issues.

Anna Ricketts


Anna specialises in environmental education and community engagement services and is the business development and learning advisor for EnviroCom Australia.  Anna has been with EnviroCom for eight years, and has worked in the industry for 15 years.  Anna has extensive experience in waste education strategy development and in the coordination, design, application and evaluation of waste education and behaviour change programs.  With experience in stakeholder engagement, training and promotion of programs, Anna works closely with local authorities, educational institutions, communities and businesses.

Emma Roper

EPA Victoria

Emma Roper is the program manager for the Illegal Waste Disposal Program at EPA Victoria. Emma has worked at EPA Victoria for ten years in a range of operational, strategic and management roles.

Claire Ruedin

Sustainability Victoria

Claire has broad experience across the environment sector and been part of SV’s education team for more than six years. Having recently completed studies in positive psychology, she is interested in exploring links between sustainability and wellbeing.

Rupert Saville


Rupert is currently manager of the NSW EPA Litter Prevention Unit, with responsibility for delivering the NSW Premier’s Priority Litter Target. Rupert has more than 10 years’ experience working across local, state and federal government, and the community sector on a range of community and sustainability behaviour change programs. Rupert has recently completed the delivery of a leading cigarette butt litter reduction behaviour change trial.

Sally Sneddon

Surf Coast Shire

Sally is the council’s waste and sustainability officer and is based in Torquay. She has a background in environmental education, conservation and sustainability, and a love for exploring the environment – especially our big blue backyard, the ocean! Sally is passionate about working with the community to avoid waste and protect the natural world.

David Speller

Sustainability Victoria

David Speller is a project lead in SV’s education team. With a background in developing environmental change management programs and facilitating community engagement programs, he has recently developed SV’s social licence to operate training program for the waste industry in Victoria.

Kate Suters


Kate is Veolia’s Sustainability Strategist, developing and implementing strategic waste and resource programs for its national clients, including educational programs.

Bronwyn Sutton

Mesch Engagement

Bronwyn is a creative at heart who blends research, experience and curiosity to create purpose-driven programs which connect with community on a deep level. A leader, strategic thinker, creative communicator and learning practitioner, she has more than 15 years’ experience as a consultant in waste. Bronwyn has taught human behaviour and environment at Melbourne University for the past three years and has a Master of Education (Adult Learning). She is a PhD candidate at Deakin University, researching transformative change and sustainability ‘beyond school’.

Karin Traeger

The Plastic Runner

Karin is a Chilean veterinarian, Master of Environment, and environmental activist with a passion for running and community engagement. After becoming a veterinarian, she volunteered for several organisations - rehabilitating wildlife in Costa Rica, working as a dive master at the Great Barrier Reef and surveying corals. Now she mixes her two passions: running and environmental protection through plogging events. She is a founder of The Plastic Runner.

Paula Tovey

Moyne Shire

Paula has more than 30 years’ experience in natural resource management across local government, state government and the private sector. Paula has worked at Moyne Shire Council for 3.5 years, managing waste, heritage, sustainability, and local laws projects. Paula has diverse experience across Australia, concentrating on minimising an organisation’s impact on the environment via her roles as an educator, auditor, project manager, team leader and facilitator.

Alexis Tsourlenes

Mount Waverley Primary School

A year five teacher and sustainability team member, Alexis co-presented at the Steps to Sustainability Conference at Melbourne Zoo this year.

Andrew Valder

Garage Sale Trail

Andrew has a background working for INXS’s management company, signing bands to record companies and marketing music TV before the internet and steaming swallowed those industries. Looking for something he could be proud to call his own, Andrew founded Garage Sale Trail (GST) in 2010. From an idea that saw 130 garage sales across one suburb, Andrew has helped steer GST to become a national campaign that involves more than 350 000 Australians and is delivered in partnership with more than 150 councils.

Michelle Walker

Geelong Repair Café

Michelle Walker is a founder and coordinator of the Geelong Repair Cafe - Highton, Through18 events, the café has repaired more than 400 items at an amazing 75 per cent success rate. Repairs made by the cafe include small electrical items, clothing repairs, record players, teddy bears and much more. Michelle is an environmental engineer who has worked in government and consulting.

Claire Ziegler

Geelong Repair Café

Claire is a founding member and joint coordinator of Geelong Repair Café – Highton. She has a key involvement in many environmental and social projects in Geelong, including Geelong Sustainability affordable eco-housing project, indigenous community garden housed at Narana Aboriginal Centre and Over 50s play group at Warralilly.

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