Conference Day One

Conference Day One

4 April 2019

Click here for Day Two

Click here for Pre-Conference In-depth Learning Session

08:30     Registration and morning refreshments

08:50     Opening remarks from the Chair

Naomi Knight, Alchemist & Strategist, Naomi Knight Australia


09:00     Keynote Ministerial Address: Unlocking the value in difference – promoting cultural diversity in the NSW government workforce

Invited: The Hon Ray Williams MP, Minister for Multiculturalism, NSW Government

09:15    Keynote Address: Global and local progress in achieving a world where all people are equal in dignity and rights

This session will reflect on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the implications for government D&I initiatives in Australia and abroad.

Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations

09:45     Keynote Address and Q&A: Fostering greater inclusiveness in the Australian Government workforce

In this interactive Q&A, The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, Former Justice of the High Court of Australia and member of the UN Human Rights Council will address diversity and inclusion issues including:

  • LGBTIQ – does it really make a difference in the workplace?
  • Do changes of government bring different attitudes to diversity issues?
  • The glass ceiling – what’s improved?
  • Stress, pressure, quality of life, suicide – the effects of a toxic working environment

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, Former Justice of the High Court of Australia

10:15     Keynote Address: Improving diversity and inclusion in government to empower and benefit from Indigenous ways of knowing and doing

Speaker TBC

10:45     Morning Tea

11:15     Keynote Panel Discussion: Creating deep cultural change - promoting diversity-mindedness and inclusion-mindedness throughout the public sector

  • How can you develop an organisational approach to diversity and inclusion that truly leads to cultural change?
  • Overcoming unconscious biases and social stigmas – how can you change cultural prejudices we might not even be aware of?
  • Diversity isn't just about the numbers - it's about a culture of inclusion. What has to happen to change an entire working culture?
  • What are some of the best strategies for embedding D&I practices in every day work, making sure it is not just window dressing

Panel Moderator:

Naomi Knight, Alchemist & Strategist, Naomi Knight Australia


Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations

Joanne Banyer, Change Lead and Manager Change Management, Australian Government

Jeromine Alpe, Founder & CEO, Corporate Diversity Pathways

Susan Pettifer, Director Workforce and Information Services, City of Sydney


12:15     Overcoming unconscious biases and social stigmas in the public sector workforce

  • Understanding the impacts of implicit, hidden or unconscious biases on diversity and inclusion
  • Becoming more aware of and mitigating implicit discrimination in our thinking and professional practices
  • Exploring progress to date in reducing unconscious bias in recruitment and advancement in the public sector

Dr Joanne Banyer, Change Lead and Manager Change Management, Australian Government

12:45     Lunch and networking break

13:45     Interactive Round Table: Going beyond the social good wash – how to walk your talk and truly achieve the outcome of greater diversity and social inclusion in government

Diversity and inclusion policies and training programs can be popular, but if they are not developed and implemented correctly this can result in organisations looking like they’re just ticking a box without actually achieving much at all.  What does it mean to really implement diversity and inclusion? How can organisations best create a space that is truly inclusive of and promotes equal participation of a diverse workforce?  This interactive round table session will call upon all delegates’ knowledge and experience of what makes D&I programs really work for their workforce.

Yvonne Lewandowski,
Diversity, Inclusion and Development Lead, Urban Utilities

Sonja Braidner CPHR, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, Fire and Rescue NSW

Hema Raman, Acting Senior Manager, Knowledge Management Services, Australian Securities and Investments Commission

14:30     Panel discussion: Fostering a mentally healthy government workforce

  • What are the hallmarks of a mentally healthy workplace?
  • Empowering managers and employees to work together to build inclusive cultures and effective systems for promoting mental health in the Australian Public Service
  • Making reasonable adjustments where necessary
  • Technical interventions - improved processes and procedures, including early intervention
  • Cultural interventions -  attitudinal and behavioural changes, such as understanding and connecting with employees
  • Supporting your workforce to communicate effectively about their mental health – creating a positive non-stigmatic work culture
  • Managing mental health conditions within their medically defined parameters

Panel Moderator:

Silven Simmons, Senior Director of People, Safety & Performance, Queensland Health

Panel TBC – if you would like to speak on this topic, please contact

15:15     Afternoon tea


15:45     What to do when difference creates a gulf between people?  Supporting collaboration through difference with therapy and mediation where necessary

  • Resolving workplace conflicts that can have adverse effects on productivity, working relationships and morale
  • Encouraging a workforce culture where people don’t fear diversity of thought and cultur
  • Mediation and conflict resolution therapy options – the pros and cons of different approaches
  • What do you do if mediation doesn't work? How to deal with persistent conflict
  • Exploring the critical role of your leadership culture in overcoming conflict

Karen Lay-Brew, President, Australian Business Software Industry Association

16:30     Invisible disabilities and self-disclosure in the workplace

  • The issues, motivations, opportunities and attitudes to eliminating the barriers for people with invisible disabilities in the work environment
  • How organisations can create a workplace culture in which people with invisible disabilities feel comfortable to disclose and seek support to become productive participants
  • Leading local and global case studies overcoming these issues


Allana Bianchi, Manager, Workforce Futures and Inclusion, Public Service Commission, Queensland


Janice Rieger, Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

17:00     Closing remarks from the Chair & end of Day One

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Government Diversity & Inclusion Summit 2019