The 2019–20 disaster season is already upon us, with bushfires and other extreme weather events impacting the way utilities and other critical infrastructure owners manage their assets. The good news is that it’s not too late to bring yourself up-to-date with the latest ideas and thinking when it comes to helping your organisation prepare for, survive and thrive in the face of disaster before the season fully takes hold. Disaster Management 2019, taking place in Melbourne from November 21-22, provides the perfect forum to ensure your organisation is well-prepared.

Disaster can take many shapes or forms. It could be a natural disaster, such as bushfire, flood, drought, or extreme heat. Or it could take the form of a terrorist attack, whether that be on your physical assets, or a cyber terrorism attack on your systems. Or it could be something more obscure, like the threat of an industrial accident, an economic crisis, a resource crisis, or even a disease outbreak. It could happen six months from now, it could happen five years from now, or it could happen tomorrow.
Whenever it happens, or whatever form it takes, if you’re involved in the worlds of infrastructure, utilities or local government, you need to be thinking about how your organisation will prepare for, survive and then thrive in the face of disaster.

And the best place to make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest industry thinking when it comes to surviving crisis situations is at Disaster Management 2019.

Brought to you by Infrastructure, Utility and Energy magazines, Disaster Management 2019 will help your organisation ensure it is prepared for the range of disaster events that can strike critical asset owners at any time.

A world-class speaker line-up

At Disaster Management 2019, you’ll hear from a who’s who from the fields of disaster and emergency management and organisational resilience. Some of our speakers include:

Toby Kent, Chief Resilience Officer at the City of Melbourne, is Australia’s first Chief Resilience Officer, and he has also recently been appointed to lead the Future Business Council. He will be delivering our keynote presentation The rise of the Chief Resilience Officer: what we do and why your organisation needs us.

Professor Greg Foliente, Deputy Director of the Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety, is an expert consultant, working across a range of departments and agencies on disaster resilience planning. He will also be delivering a keynote presentation on the five key priority areas for enhancing disaster management practice and policy.

Carola Washbourne, Education Development and Delivery Manager, National Centre for Emergency Studies, has over 19 years’ full-time operational experience across all aspects of the emergency prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (PPRR) spectrum, and is well respected nationally in the field of emergency and disaster management; particularly for her leadership during Tropical Cyclones Yasi and Larry. Carola’s presentation will explain the benefits to infrastructure stakeholders in obtaining a better understanding of their state or territory’s emergency management arrangements, and preparing their staff to undertake incident management.

Brett Aimers, Business Resilience Specialist at VicTrack, has held a number of roles relating to disaster management and emergency response in the rail sector throughout his career. He will be sharing his expertise when it comes to contemporary planning today for a resilient tomorrow.

Dr Erin Smith, Senior Lecturer in Disaster and Emergency Response at Edith Cowan University, has an accomplished career teaching and researching within the multidisciplinary fields of disaster and emergency response. At our conference, her presentation will explore the post-event response to disasters and provide insight into supporting staff through crisis events.

Paul Jordon, Executive General Manager – Distribution at Energy Queensland, is responsible for the safe and efficient operation and maintenance of the electricity distribution network throughout Queensland. Paul has a high level of expertise in disaster preparedness and response, and is passionate about ensuring the safety of employees and the community. He will be detailing his organisation’s experiences of surviving and thriving after the 2019 Townsville Floods.

Dr Simon Dunstall, Research Director, Decision Sciences Program, Data61 will provide insights into how we can be better prepared for bushfire events where electrical infrastructure is involved. Simon will draw upon his research, which indicates that while powerline-initiated bushfires are more likely to be large and lead to fatalities, there are mitigations that exist that can reduce the likelihood and number of fire events that occur every year. He will then outline the effect of these mitigations, presenting data on how much risk is eliminated, and give suggestions on how to prioritise investment in mitigation.

Sharna Whitehand, Municipal Emergency Management Officer, Corangamite Shire Council will share her insights into drawing on the strengths of the community when working through the aftermath of disaster events. Following the South West Fires of March 2018, Corangamite Shire has worked through a community-led case management recovery process to bring out community strengths and provide linkages to support services. Sharna will share the key learnings her team has taken from this disaster event as they worked
through the before, during and after framework for disaster recovery.

What can you expect from Disaster Management 2019?

Over two days, our speakers will explore the key steps utilities, infrastructure owners and local governments can undertake to prepare for, survive and thrive in the face of disaster events.

Through keynote presentations, panel sessions and regular presentations we will:

  • Explore the breadth of disaster events that could strike the infrastructure and local government sectors
  • Help you prepare for the potential impacts these crises could have on your organisation
  • Delve into the disaster response process, and highlight the critical steps you need to take to effectively manage a disaster event
  • Show you how to develop strategies to enhance the organisational resilience of your business
  • Teach you how to emerge from a disaster as a stronger organisation than before
  • Delegates will also enjoy multiple speed networking sessions where they are guaranteed introductions to colleagues within the industry, as well as a number of informal networking opportunities at the lunch, morning and afternoon tea breaks, and a drinks reception at the close of the first day of the conference.

Special ticket price for utility employees

To make this event more accessible for utilities and their employees, we’re pleased to offer tickets at the heavily reduced price of $590 (plus GST). To purchase tickets at this exclusive rate, head to and add an “Asset Owner Ticket” to the cart and apply the code “DM19limited25” on checkout.

This code can also be used in conjunction with our regular “Buy three tickets, pay for two” offer, meaning you can bring colleagues to the event at a heavily discounted rate.
If you work in the area of critical services, such as utilities or infrastructure, and you’ve ever asked yourself, “Is our organisation really prepared to deal with the effects of a disaster event?”, then you need to attend this event.

The fact of the matter is, in the world of critical infrastructure, you might not be able to stop the worst from happening, but you can reduce the impact of a crisis by being prepared and ready to act.

For more information about Disaster Management 2019, head to

Interested in sponsoring or exhibiting?

A limited number of exhibition spaces and sponsorship opportunities are available for Disaster Management 2019. The intimate event will allow companies to display their products and services, and network directly with delegates in a relaxed, face-to-face setting.

Event sponsorship allows companies to meet and network with key industry players in an intimate setting, demonstrate products and new technologies, present directly to the conference, build relationships with sales prospects, associate your company with a key industry event, and receive coverage in Infrastructure magazine after the event.
When you purchase an exhibition booth, you will also receive one full delegate registration. You’ll also enjoy the opportunity to directly take part in the delegate speed networking that takes place as part of the event.

With a limited number of sponsorship options available, companies are guaranteed to receive excellent value, with the opportunity to get directly in front of, and interact with, some of the most respected figures in the world of disaster management.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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