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Day 2: Wednesday 21 April 


Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS)


With public policy expertise in economic and social issues, civil society, social justice and human rights, Cassandra has represented the interests of people who are disadvantaged, and civil society generally, in major national and international processes as well as in grassroots communities. Prior to joining ACOSS, Cassandra held senior roles in both the NFP and public sectors, including with the Australian Human Rights Commission. Cassandra serves on the UNSW Law Advisory Committee, the Australian Climate Roundtable, the Pinnacle Foundation Board and the Energy Charter Independent Accountability Panel.

Claire Brolan, Research Fellow Centre for Policy Futures, University of Queensland

Dr Claire Brolan completed her PhD and Post-doctoral studies on the formulation and implementation of the SDG 2030 Agenda through a global health and rights lens. Claire is a leading Australian researcher and thinker on SDG policy and planning at The University of Queensland’s Centre for Policy Futures (UQ). Claire was previously a member of the Global Council on Financing the SDGs (hosted by the Government of United Arab Emirates) and is an Honorary Advisor and Thematic Expert for SDG 3 on the Legal and Economic Empowerment Global Network’s (LEEG-NET) high-level, multidisciplinary human rights and SDG advisory board to the UN.

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Kylie Porter, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Australia

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Kylie is the Executive Director of the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA); the Australian Local Network of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact. As a sustainability expert and business leader, holding particular expertise in delivering responsible business and corporate responsibility strategies, guiding businesses on reputation risk management for environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and policy development and implementation across thematic areas such as the climate change, modern slavery, human rights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Leanne Smith, Director, The Whitlam Institute

Leanne is an international human rights lawyer by training, with a Masters in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. Leanne has worked in the Australian judicial system, for the Australian Human Rights Commission, in the international NGO sector, regional human rights organisations, as an Australian diplomat (DFAT) and in various roles for the United Nations in New York and in the field, most recently as Chief of Policy and Best Practices for UN Peacekeeping Operations.  She is a visiting fellow at the ANU Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and the UNSW Australian Human Rights Centre, a member of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law Advisory Committee.



Dr Alexei Trundle, Research Fellow in Sustainable Urban Development, Connected Cities Lab and Future Cities Coordinator, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute


Alexei’s current research focuses on the way that cities are contributing to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as urban climate resilience and adaptation planning in Pacific Small Island Developing States. Alexei is a Scientific Advisor to the UN-Habitat Cities and Climate Change Initiative in the Pacific region and was previously a Visiting Scientist at the United Nations University in Bonn, Germany.

Dr Cathy Oke, Melbourne Enterprise Senior Fellow in Informed Cities at the Connected Cities Lab, Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning

Dr Cathy Oke is Melbourne Enterprise Senior Fellow in Informed Cities at the Connected Cities Lab, Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning. She has considerable international and local expertise in sustainable, resilient and liveable cities, including as a Councillor at the City of Melbourne 2008-2020.  Cathy's research interests focus on the interaction between urban research, policy and practice for greater impact in cities. She is project leader of the SDGs Cities Challenge, and Senior Advisor to the Innovate4Cities program of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. 



Graham Hunter, Former CEO, Greening Australia (Victoria)


Graham, an environmental specialist, worked for the OECD in France and the USA before taking up senior positions with the Environment Protection Authority and Victorian Government Departments responsible for the management of natural resources and the environment.

Graham, the inaugural CEO of Greening Australia (Victoria), led UNAA delegations to the UN Climate Conferences in Copenhagen (2009) and Paris (2015) and to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

Rachel Lowry, Chief Conservation Officer, WWF Australia

Rachel leads a team at WWF Australia focused on delivering transformational conservation results across Healthy Land and Seascapes, Threatened Species, Climate and Food Security. Rachel has been an advisor to Australia’s Threatened Species Commissioner for the past five years and currently sits on Advisory Boards for both Parks Victoria and the University of Melbourne. Rachel’s current focus at WWF Is to lead an innovative, solution-focussed team working to secure a New Deal for People and Nature.

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Sally Sherwen, Director of Wildlife Conservation and Science, Zoos Victoria

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Sally leads a dynamic team of scientists and specialists that develop and deliver strategic programs in conservation, animal welfare, education and environmental sustainability. Sally has a PhD in Animal Welfare Science and is a member of the Victorian Government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, providing advice on Animal Welfare issues relating to Victorian wildlife, agriculture, pets and zoos.

Trent Clews-De Castella, Co-Founder, Phoria

Breaking away from the gaming sector, PHORIA uses the storytelling power of immersive technologies, like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, to raise awareness for social impact causes aligned with the In SDGs. In 2019, REWILD Our Planet used social Augmented Reality experiences to encourage people to restore balance to the natural world. Developed in partnership with Netflix, WWF, Google, and the ArtScience Museum, this installation highlighted how extensively human activity has damaged wildlife and wild places. In 2020, PHORIA launched ecosphere, an award-winning VR nature series that transports viewers into the wildest places on earth. ecosphere has generated more than 1 million views, demonstrating the ability to reach a wide international audience through Virtual Reality.

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Janine Dureau, Kimberley Service Development Manager

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Janine is a proud Nyginka woman who was born and raised in Derby. Now based in Broome, she consults to Aboriginal corporations and communities throughout the Kimberley and around Australia.

Janine’s professional experience includes almost 30 years’ working in Aboriginal Business Affairs (State and Commonwealth governments and Aboriginal organisations).

She is passionate about building the capacity of Aboriginal communities and organisations. Working at the strategic level, Janine facilitates collaborative engagement and focuses on planning, leadership and governance development.

June Oscar AO, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

June Oscar AO is a proud Bunuba woman from the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and has worked tirelessly to reduce Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

June has held a raft of influential positions including Deputy Director of the Kimberley Land Council, chair of the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and the Kimberley Interpreting Service and Chief Investigator with WA’s Lililwan Project addressing FASD

June began her five-year term as Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on April 3, 2017.


Taryn Lee, Director, Melbourne, PwC's Indigenous Consulting

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Taryn is a proud Yawuru woman from Broome. Taryn has extensive experience and leadership in social policy and justice reform. She is currently a Director at PwC Indigenous Consulting. Taryn has also held executive roles in the public sector leading the design and development of social policy and programs that have been central to positioning Aboriginal self-determination to improve outcomes for Aboriginal peoples. The focus of Taryn's working career has been dedicated to working in social policy and justice, predominantly in the public sector, to ensure that the voice and experience of Aboriginal people is central to policy development.


David Manne, Executive Director, Refugee Legal

David Manne is a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Refugee Legal. He has worked in various capacities assisting refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years. Since 2001 he has lead Refugee Legal’s legal teams in successfully arguing 10 out of 10 landmark High Court challenges. David has been appointed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Advisory Board of Eminent Persons. He is regularly invited to present at the UN High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges.


Erika Feller, UNAA Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees


Erika is the former Assistant High Commissioner (Protection), one of the four top management positions with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. This was the culmination of a 26-year long career with UNHCR and had been preceded by 14 years’ service as an Australian diplomat, in Canberra and overseas. She is broadly respected as a refugee law advocate who has been widely published.

Lorna Deng, Co-Founder, DivTal

Lorna is the co-founder of DivTal, an online job platform that connects employers with culturally diverse talent. Having graduated from Monash University in 2013, Lorna started her career in Corporate Responsibility and then moved into Human Resources. Lorna is regularly invited to speak about leadership, purpose, diversity & inclusion and the future of work. She is a member of various diversity and inclusion committees and networks where she champions cultural diversity and is a mentor to young migrants in Melbourne.

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Paul Power, CEO, Refugee Council of Australia

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Paul leads this national umbrella body’s policy development and public education on refugee issues and its advocacy with the Australian Government, international networks and UNHCR. Since 2012, he has served in leadership roles with the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, currently being a board member and chair of its Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Working Group.
Under Paul’s leadership, RCOA has been strongly committed to creating opportunities for people who have been refugees to take more prominent roles in national and international discussions on refugee policy. In 2018, RCOA helped to support the first Asia-Pacific Summit of Refugees and the first Global Summit of Refugees and now works closely with the independent refugee-led networks formed from those meetings.


Freya Dinshaw, Senior Lawyer, Human Rights Legal Centre

Freya joined the HRLC as a Senior Lawyer in 2018, where she specialises in business and human rights. Freya’s work focuses on exploring opportunities for deploying advocacy, strategic litigation and international mechanisms to challenge the treatment of vulnerable communities by governments, companies and other actors.
Freya was the 2016 International Bar Association’s Human Rights Scholar and served as Head of Advocacy for the United Nations Association of Australia (Victoria) Young Professionals Network. She also holds a community fellowship at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne, focusing on modern slavery research.

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Grace Forrest, Founding Director, Walk Free, UNAA Goodwill Ambassador for Modern Slavery


Since its inception in 2011, Walk Free has become one of world’s leading anti-slavery organisations, responsible for publishing the Global Slavery Index (GSI). The GSI is the world’s leading data set on measuring and understanding modern slavery, informing international law, legislation, and prevalence indicators. A crucial part of Walk Free’s work is highlighting the need for greater transparency in global supply chains to identify modern slavery.

Grace is the youngest ever United Nations Association Goodwill Ambassador for Anti-Slavery. She is on the board for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, a director of the Minderoo Foundation and a founding member for the Asia Gender Network.

In 2018, Grace was awarded Nomi Network’s Abolitionist award for her work to end modern slavery and currently sits on the Board of Directors for The Freedom Fund, a leader in the global movement to end modern slavery.  Grace is the 2021 Young West Australian of the Year.

Professor James Cockayne, Visiting Fellow, UN University Centre for Policy Research

James is Head of the Secretariat for the Finance Against Slavery & Trafficking (FAST), a member of the Secretariat for the Investors Against Slavery and Trafficking Asia Pacific (IAST APAC) and a Professor of Global Politics & Anti-Slavery, University of Nottingham. James is also Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on Human Trafficking and Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Futures Council on Equity & Social Justice.

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Vanessa Zimmerman, CEO, Pillar Two and Chair, Human Rights, Global Compact Network Australia

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Vanessa is a recognised global corporate sustainability expert. Originally an anti-trust lawyer, she was a Legal Advisor to the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. This included being part of the core team drafting the internationally recognised UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Vanessa has also advised other key global business and human rights initiatives and worked with businesses from multiple sectors. From 2011 – 2018 Vanessa managed implementation of Rio Tinto’s human rights programme. In 2018 she founded Pillar Two, a boutique advisory firm helping business to manage their human rights risks.

Vanessa holds various expert advisory roles including as Board Member of the Global Compact Network Australia and Chair of its Human Rights workstream and Modern Slavery Community of Practice. She has been appointed to several Australian government advisory groups including Australian Border Force’s Modern Slavery Expert Advisory Group and the Governance and Advisory Board to the Australian National Contact under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.


Imogen Wait, Creative Producer, UN Youth Australia

Imogen is a third-year Media and Communications at Swinburne University of Technology. In 2019 she interned for the United Nations Association of Australia (Victoria Division) and is currently the Creative Producer of UN Youth Australia’s For the Future podcast. She strongly believes in the media’s power to shape a more inclusive and sustainable future for all. 

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Lucy Stronach, 2021 Australian Youth Representative to the UN


Lucy Stronach is the current Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations.

Throughout 2021, Lucy is touring Australia to identify the concerns, needs and experiences of diverse and underrepresented young people before reporting to the Australian Government and United Nations General Assembly.

A graduate of studies in Criminology, Law, and Security, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism, Lucy is a passionate advocate for youth justice in both the domestic and international spheres.

Her work has taken her to the streets of Mumbai to fight for the empowerment of sex workers, to juvenile prisons in San Diego to aid young offenders, and to the UNDP in Bangkok to work with youth leaders in the promotion of human rights and justice.

Manisha, Child Rights Advocate, India

Manisha, a member of the Indian National Inclusive Children’s Parliament, has been an active Child Rights advocate for several years. Along with other members of the Children’s Parliament, Manisha stopped a child marriage in her community and convinced the elders to send each child to school. In 2020, Manisha was named Pro Activist of Earth. Manisha was one of the main speakers at the Global Climate

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Tim Lo Surdo, Founder and National Director of Democracy in Colour


Deeply passionate about people-powered change, Tim has spent the past eight years creating opportunities for everyday people to take collective action. Before starting Democracy in Colour, he helped low-paid workers set up Hospo Voice – a new union in hospitality. Previously, Tim was the Head of Campaigns at Oaktree (largest youth-led anti-poverty organisation with over 200,000 members), a senior adviser to two federal Senators, the Campaigns Director at Jhatkaa (a movement of 1.9 million people taking action for a fairer India), the National Communications Director at UN Youth Australia, and co-founded Open Sky (one of India’s most well-known performance art communities).

VISHAL, Child Rights Activist, PRATYeK

Vishal is an 18-year-old youth advocate with PRATYeK, an Indian NGO which provides children with opportunities to be trained as child advocates and to take part in active and meaningful children’s parliaments. Vishan’s training has led to him organising several rallies in his local community and street plays to raise awareness on issues such as Education, Menstrual Hygiene, Clean Water and Sanitation and Climate Action. Vishan was also involved in organising climate strikes to ask the Indian Government to declare a climate emergency.

“We are bringing young people to the table now, not as a token but to help us shape and to take that baton, to take up the gauntlet and move forward” (UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, Nations United).

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Professor John Thwaites AO, Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific

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John is Co-Chair of the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) launched by the UN Secretary General to provide expert advice and support to the development and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. He is also a Professorial Fellow, Monash University, and Chair of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, ClimateWorks Australia and Melbourne Water.

Dr Gillian Sparkes, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Victoria

Dr Sparkes is Victoria’s (Australia) Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, an independent statutory role that reports and advises government and the community on the environment. She is pioneering the implementation of the UN SDGs into environmental reporting for Victoria and is leading reforms in environmental monitoring, evaluation, assessment and reporting, in particular working to maximise the value and potential of spatial data to review and report on the condition of Victoria’s environment. Initially an industrial chemist, Dr Sparkes’ career spans four decades across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

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Andrew Gray, Director ESG and Stewardship, AustralianSuper 

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Andrew has around 30 years’ experience in the investment industry beginning with an investment research role at JBWere/Goldman Sachs which evolved to include research on ESG issues as they relate to investment. Andrew joined AustralianSuper in 2011 and since that time has been responsible for developing Australian Super’s ESG and Stewardship approach in its investment portfolio. As part of this role, Andrew considers issues such as board effectiveness, remuneration, climate change, work force and diversity and how they impact on AustralianSuper’s investments. Andrew also oversees AustralianSuper’s voting on its listed equity holdings and engagement program with company boards. 

Dr Shirin Malekpour, Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Monash Sustainable Development Institute

In 2020, Dr Malekpour was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as one of the 15 members of the Independent Group of Scientists, who will shape the next quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report. As a social scientist, Dr Malekour’s research explores how transformative change towards sustainable development could be unlocked through long-term strategic planning and governance processes. She has been Chief Investigator in multiple transdisciplinary action research programs, focusing on transformative adaptation, futures thinking, scenario planning, and collaborative governance under conditions of deep uncertainty.



Carlisle Richardson, Special Advisor, ICLEI Oceania

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Carlisle Richardson is a former Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations, and a former Economic Affairs Officer of the United Nations. As Ambassador, he worked on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the preparations for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. As Economic Affairs Officer at the United Nations, he was one of the organisers of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. He is currently Special Advisor to ICLEI Oceania on Small Island Developing States, and is leading the inaugural UNAA Study Tours to the UN Offices in Geneva and New York. He is also author of the Book, “Island Journeys: The Impact of the Island Way of Life at Home and Abroad.”