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Speakers – Building Surveyors Conference 2023

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Host – Bronwyn Weir, Director, Weir Legal & Consulting

Bronwyn Weir specialises in advising government regulators and is best known for her expertise in building regulation. In 2017 she co-authored the Building Confidence Report, which was commissioned by Australia’s nine Building Ministers. Since this time, Bronwyn has advised the Victorian, NSW, Queensland and WA governments and the Department of Defence on building regulatory matters. Bronwyn speaks regularly at industry events and conferences.


The Hon. Sonya Kilkenny MP, Minister for Planning

The Hon. Sonya Kilkenny MP was sworn in as the Minister for Planning on 5 December 2022. Ms Kilkenny is also Minister for Outdoor Recreation and has previously held the positions of Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education, Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Cabinet Secretary. Ms Kilkenny is a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Carrum.


Steve Sammartino, Futurist

Steve Sammartino wrote his first lines of computer code at age 10 and is one of Australia’s most respected futurists and business technologists. After completing studies in Economics and Finance at university he worked in multiple Fortune 500 companies, culminating in positions at director level. He has had multiple tech startups and he launched one of the first ‘Sharing Economy’ startups, before Uber or Airbnb. He now invests in emerging technologies and has multiple advisory board positions.

A media commentator, Steve is the technology reporter for ABC Radio National and the in-house futurist for 3AW, where he provides expert assessment on the rapidly evolving technology sector.

He is the author of two bestselling books on the technology revolution, his latest - The Lessons School Forgot - is a manifesto on how to future proof your life and thrive in the technology era.

Anna Cronin 

Anna Cronin, Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Building Authority

Anna Cronin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Building Authority in June 2023.

Anna has considerable and practical experience in regulatory issues across many policy areas, at national and state levels, including in agricultural and mining regulatory and approvals frameworks. She has also held a number of board positions in the government and not for profit sectors. In recognition of her time as CEO of the National Farmers’ Federation, Anna was awarded the Centenary of Federation Medal for services to rural leadership.

Anna was Victoria's first Commissioner for Better Regulation, appointed by the Victorian Government in 2015.  As Commissioner for Better Regulation, Anna was responsible for Victoria’s regulatory scrutiny system for nine years and she also chaired the Expert Panel on Building Reform for the Victorian Government.

She was given the additional role of Red Tape Commissioner in 2018. Anna has worked in economist, executive and leadership roles in Commonwealth and State governments.


Andrew Cialini, State Building Surveyor, Victorian Building Authority

As the State Building Surveyor, Andrew Cialini is an industry advocate for building surveyors and building practitioners across Victoria. He brings a wealth of knowledge to this important role, with more than 30 years' industry experience as a building surveyor as well as roles in the private sector as a structural design engineer and as an adviser to the Government of South Australia.

Andrew is passionate about the industry and its future. He has led the creation and implementation of the Code of Conduct for Building Surveyors to improve standards, trust and oversight in the building industry and help keep Victorians safe. Andrew is also driving new career pathways to address the critical shortage of building surveyors.

Active participation with industry is fundamental to Andrew's role and he chairs several state government committees and engages regularly with industry associations, forums and working groups.


Prof Rebecca Bentley, Director, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Housing

Prof Rebecca Bentley (BBSc (Hons) PhD) is a Social Epidemiologist based at the University of Melbourne. She is Director of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre for Research Excellence in Healthy Housing and lead of the Victorian Community of Practice of the NHMRC Healthy Environments and Lives Network.

Professor Bentley is an internationally recognised researcher working at the intersection of housing, the built environment, health, and epidemiology. Her work has culminated in the establishment of Australia’s first healthy housing-focused research centre to develop new methods and conceptual approaches to reduce Australia’s burden of disease attributed to unhealthy housing.


Dr Nicole Johnston, Founder and Director, Strata Knowledge

Dr Nicole Johnston is the Founder and Director of Strata Knowledge, an independent research and consulting firm specialising in strata and community title law and governance. As a socio-legal researcher, Nicole is focused on translating applied research into practice by collaborating with industry to ensure impactful and beneficial outcomes.

Nicole started her professional life as a commercial lawyer but for the past 15 years, she has worked as an academic at Australian Universities. Nicole has led a number of research projects on topics including, building defects, strata insurance, strata law reform, fire safety, conflicts of interest, and developer governance responsibilities. She is a regular presenter at industry conferences, consults with governments, and has chaired numerous international forums.

Nicole holds degrees in psychology, criminology, law and has a PhD in strata and community title law and governance.


Dr Tim Law, Technical Lead - Building Sciences, Restoration Industry Consultants

Dr Tim Law is an architectural scientist, and Technical Lead for Building Sciences at Restoration Industry Consultants. His research over recent years has been into the occurrence of condensation in new code-compliant buildings in Victoria and Tasmania, and the study of mould and its impact on occupant health. He thrives on solving difficult interdisciplinary problems.


Dan O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer, Cladding Safety Victoria

Dan O’Brien has extensive experience across the public and private sector and is the current Chief Executive Officer of Cladding Safety Victoria.

Dan was previously the Chief Executive of Incolink – delivering services to Victoria’s building and construction industry.

He has also held key executive roles at the National Australia Bank and Medibank Private, and senior roles in both the Victorian and Federal governments – including Chief Executive of Regional Development Victoria and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Regional Development, Arts and Sports (Federal).

Dan was previously the Chief of Staff to former Victorian Premier John Brumby.

Dan is currently a Director on the board of VicTrack.


Todd Bentley, Chief Risk Officer, Victorian Building Authority

Dr. Todd Bentley is VBA’s Chief Risk Officer. Commencing with the VBA in March 2021, Todd’s primary role as Chief Risk Officer has been to develop and enhance VBA’s approach to risk management and overall assurance program. In addition to this, his team has responsibility for the VBA’s strategy development and integration of change activities across the VBA, embedding of the harms-based approach to regulation, VBA research activities, and the Building Appeals Board facilitation. Prior to joining the VBA, Todd was a senior executive and industry leader in the Australian rail industry in the areas of assurance, governance, safety, and systems design and thinking.

Todd has a PhD in Human Factors, holds an appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor at La Trobe University, a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is a Certified Professional Ergonomist.

Steve Baxas 

Steven Baxas, Municipal Building Surveyor, City of Melbourne

Steven Baxas is the Municipal Building Surveyor at the City of Melbourne, a role he has undertaken for six years. Boasting 30 years of local government experience, Steven was formerly the Municipal Building Surveyor at the City of Port Phillip for 11 years and worked at the City of Monash for 15 years. He has formal qualifications in Building Surveying and Fire Engineering.

Steven is passionate about Fire Safety in buildings and is a member of the Fire Protection Association of Australia, Society of Fire Safety at Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors. Additionally, Steven is Vice President of the Victorian Municipal Building Surveyors Group and a current serving member of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee, as appointed by the Minister for Planning.


Claire Noone, Principal, Nous Group

Claire Noone is a Principal and Head of Regulatory Practice at Nous Group, an international management consultancy with more than 750 people. Prior to joining Nous in 2015, Claire had more than 25 years’ senior executive and leadership experience across both federal and state government. Her experience extends across policy and legislation, regulatory theory and practice, strategic planning, corporate services, and service delivery across a number of portfolios.

Claire has worked in several different regulatory environments including as the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, WorkSafe Victoria and the ACCC. Claire has been instrumental in leading major change in regulatory environments both in regulatory design and regulatory practice. Claire has partnered with departments and industry in the building sector, providing expert advice and leading reviews on licensing and registration, policy and legislation, and regulatory systems in Victoria.

Wayne Liddy 

Wayne Liddy, Vice President and Board Director Victoria, AIBS

Wayne has over 25 years’ experience as a practitioner and is considered one of Victoria’s experts in building control and is often called upon by media outlets for comment. Wayne is a Director of the Gardner Group Pty Ltd, a multi-skilled building surveying and consultancy company, and a Fellow, Vice President and Board Director of the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS).

He is a former Chair of the AIBS National Technical Committee and also served as a member of the AIBS National Education Committee. Wayne has served on the Building Practitioners Board, Victoria the Building Advisory Council and the Building Regulations Advisory Committee.

Wayne has also tutored at Melbourne University ‘Construction Regulation A’- Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

He has overseen the AIBS response to the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, including the preparation of the position paper and witness statement for the Bushfire Royal Commission.

More recently Wayne played a key role in the development of the AIBS submission to the inquiry by the Senate into Non-Conforming Products External Wall Cladding and represented AIBS on the Victorian Cladding Taskforce.

Having worked and consulted in both the private and public sector, Wayne has broad ranging skills and experiences, both in the construction industry and specifically in relation to the area of building control.

He has strengths in domestic and commercial construction, legislation interpretation, building and practitioner auditing, problem solving, mentoring and having been engaged on many significant projects over the years, a practical approach to project implementation.

Significantly, Wayne championed the application and implementation of The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors Professional Standards Scheme that commenced on 01 July 2021 across all states and territories, except for Victoria where it commenced on 01 September 2021.

Wayne is registered in Victoria as a Building Surveyor- Unlimited, in Western Australia as a Building Surveying Practitioner Level 1, in South Australia as an Accredited Professional – Building Level 1 and an AIBS Accredited Level 1 Building Surveyor.


Chris Webb, Executive Leader, Regulatory Advisory Services

Chris Webb is the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Resources Victoria (RV). Prior to joining RV to work with the Earth Resources Regulator, Chris led the Victorian Department of Health’s Compliance and Enforcement division during the COVID-19 response. He has held a range of operational and transformational roles at WorkSafe Victoria and EPA Victoria and was the architect of the Environment Protection Act 2017. An innovator and change agent in the regulatory profession, Chris draws on broad experience in other fields including risk, safety and environmental management in the oil industry, and in major events such as the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. He has a passion for building and working with high-performing teams, and a values alignment with being a regulator providing a public good.


Andrew Grear, Executive Director Building, DTP

Andrew Grear RPIA (Fellow) is the Executive Director of Building Division for the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP). The role is within the Planning Group of DTP with the Division leading and contributing to national and state building policy, strongly focusing on all aspects of the building system and the Australian Building Codes Board.


Nicholas Oats, Manager, Building Policy and Regulation, Department of Transport and Planning

As one of three policy managers in DTP’s Building Regulation and Reform branch, Nick leads a team delivering projects related to practitioner registration and a broad range of other matters, including the introduction of a building manual. A relative newcomer to the building sector, he draws on over a decade of government policy and program experience working on infrastructure, budget development, international engagement, recycling reform and more. While navigating the many complexities of our building system, Nick is enjoying the challenges and opportunities of supporting improvements and reforms to ensure Victorians have a trusted system that delivers safe and quality buildings for consumers.