Speakers at Talking Fire

Alison Boak is risk analyst with the West Central Bushfire Risk landscape team based in Ballarat.  Alison has a specialist role in operating the Phoenix bush fire simulation model to predict fire spread and identify areas where fuel management works can be undertaken to reduce the impact of bush fire on communities.  This strategic work guides where on round fuel management operation take place to best reduce risk to the community.

Andrew Bennett is a wildlife and landscape ecologist based at La Trobe University and the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.  His research investigates how wildlife respond to landscape changes associated with human land use, including the effects of fire.  Recently he and colleagues have worked with DELWP and Parks Victoria on an experimental project investigating the effects of planned burns in box-ironbark forests in the Rushworth forest block.

David Cheal is an ecologist and currently Assoc. Adj. Professor, School of Science, Information, Technology & Engineering at Federation University Ballarat. David worked at the Arthur Rylah Institute (antecedent to DWELP) as a Principal Scientist from 2000 focusing on plant responses to fire. Before that he spent 3 years in Darwin researching fire and ecology. Initial research at Melbourne Uni focused on fire, soil and plant interactions in the Big Desert. David has had direct experience of fires – he lost his house in the 1983 Ash Wednesday Fires and was in Marysville on Black Saturday. He now lives in Redesdale

Doug Richardson is Captain of the Newstead Fire Brigade. Doug has lived in Newstead all his life He has been a CFA Member for 39 years and brigade captain for 30 years. Doug has 2 children Ashleigh and Jake who live in Melbourne, and with his partner Anne Marie has two horses and a cat. Doug works in Bendigo for Thales manufacturing Bushmaster and Hawkei vehicles for the Department of Defence.

Eain McRae is a Vegetation Management Officer in the CFA, based in Bendigo. He is one of 12 VMOs across Victoria.

Jinette de Gooijer moved to Castlemaine nearly 14 years ago and now lives in Walmer on the edge of Castlemaine state forest with my partner Danny.  We live in a solar passive house built to low fire risk rating. Professionally, she has worked as an organisational consultant and group facilitator for past 20 years, mostly in public and community sectors and has a PhD in organisational psychology and group dynamics.

Joan Sartori is a long time district local. She lives at Strangways and she is a founding member of Newstead CFA Auxiliary and has been involved for the past 35 years. She is also a farmer and former health care worker (nurse) at Maldon hospital.

Luke Ryan is the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer (MFPO), Mount Alexander Shire Council, having been in this role in 2003-2013, and returning in 2015. Luke’s role as MFPO is vital in Council’s Emergency Management commitment which is highly focused on a safer and more resilient community through delivering well planned projects, community engagement programs and coordinating a collaborative approach in leading the Mount Alexander Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee, formed of key Emergency Management Agency which includes agency representatives from CFA, DELWP, Victoria Police and cross tenure land management representatives.

Mick Bourke is a Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owner.

Paul Bates is the Forest Fire Management Victoria Murray Goldfields District Manager.  He and his team are responsible for the on ground delivery of the Forest Fire Management work program in the Murray Goldfields District which includes the Newstead and Maldon areas.  This program includes fuel management, roading, general forest management such as pest plant and animal control, providing domestic firewood to local communities, recreation site maintenance and community engagement on the work program.

Peter Skilbeck started his working life as a primary school teacher and was particularly involved in school forestry and environmental education, including organising the school plantations for the western half of Victoria.  Having been made redundant in the mid 90s (during the Jeff Kennett era), Peter became the fire-spotter at the Mt. Tarrengower tower 19 years ago.

Sam Strong is completing a PhD at Charles Sturt University. She is exploring the paradoxes of native vegetation in the context of bushfire in south east Australia in the 21st century. Sam has worked in regional Victoria in NRM, community engagement and project coordination for both NGO and land management agencies. Sam is interested in how people connect with the environment, the language we use to do so, and in the interface between communities and management agencies to help achieve collaborative outcomes.

Steve Pascoe has been involved in emergency management for over 30 years, as a volunteer, and as a professional with CFA and in local government.  In 2009, his community of Strathewen and his own property were devastated by the Black Saturday bushfires.  Steve was one of the community leaders who established and led the Strathewen Community Renewal Association.  He now works as an emergency management consultant, working with Emergency Management Victoria, Municipal Councils and communities.

Tanya Loos an avid birder and field naturalist. She is the Woodland Bird Project Coordinator at Connecting Country, and is fascinated by the behaviour of birds in our landscape

Trent Nelson is a Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owner.