Additional speakers coming soon...

Keynote Speakers

  • Alastair McEwin

    Alastair McEwin
    Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner

    Alastair McEwin is Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner. He commenced in this role in August 2016.

    Alastair’s educational background is in arts, law and business administration. Following his undergraduate studies in Adelaide, he spent time in Vancouver, Canada, pursuing postgraduate studies. Prior to moving to Sydney to commence as a consultant with Accenture, a global management and IT consulting company, he worked as Associate to the Hon. Justice John von Doussa at the Federal Court. Alastair has a strong background in working with non-profit organisations. He was the Executive Director of Community Legal Centres NSW, the peak body for Community Legal Centres in NSW. Other roles include CEO of People with Disability Australia and Manager of the Australian Centre for Disability Law.

    Prior to commencing in his current role, he was the Chairperson of the NSW Disability Council, the official advisory board to the NSW Government on disability issues. He was also the President of the Deaf Society of NSW and Chairperson of the Australian Theatre of the Deaf. He has also been the coordinator of the World Federation of the Deaf Expert Group on Human Rights and an adjunct lecturer for the Masters of Community Management degree at the University of Technology Sydney.

  • Matthew Ames

    Matthew Ames
    Inspirational Speaker

    Matthew Ames was 39 years old when what started as a sore throat resulted in the loss of all four of his limbs. He had contracted a streptococcal infection resulting in toxic shock and was never expected to survive. Matthew suffered kidney failure, a detached retina, and permanent hearing loss in addition to the loss of his arms and legs. He was in a coma for three weeks, and spent almost two months in intensive care.

    Matthew came home in the first half of 2013, and is a continuing outpatient at the Mater Private Rehabilitation Centre in Brisbane. Now two years later Matthew has beaten the odds, spurred on by the fact that he is the father of four young children aged between four and 11 and husband of a very dedicated wife determined to grow old with him.

    Matthew has made a recovery that has amazed everyone who has shared his journey, powered by a positive attitude and focus on what he can do, rather than what he can't. He has started to share his stories with others in the hope that it inspires self-reflection, motivation to be positive about circumstances that arise, and new attitudes toward disability. His family's story has been captured in a recent book, 'Will to Live'. Matthew has been a Queensland state finalist in the 2013 Australian Father of the Year awards, and the recipient of the 2013 Queensland Pride of Australia (Courage) Award.

    Matthew has recently completed a series of surgeries associated with a procedure called osseointegration that will enable prosthetics to directly attach to his bones. He will be the first person in the world to have this done on all four limbs. Much of Matthew’s time is currently spent focusing on rehabilitation.

    Prior to his illness, Matthew was an executive in the energy and resources sector, an industry in which he had worked for almost 20 years as an environmental engineer and safety professional. His most recent position was as Group Manager, Health Safety & Environment at Origin Energy.


  • Maha Sinnathamby

    Maha Sinnathamby
    Chairman, Springfield Land Corporation

    Maha Sinnathamby is one of Queensland’s modern-day success stories. From incredibly humble beginnings in a small war-torn Malay village, Maha is now better known as the visionary developer behind Greater Springfield, a master-planned community (the 2010 World's Best Master Planned Community as awarded by the International Real Estate Federation) on the edge of Brisbane that will one day rival the size of Darwin.

    While the range of obstacles he has overcome on his way to the top are many and varied, the principles for his success have always remained the same. These principles are much more than a how-to guide for business success – these incredibly personal messages of positivity and self-belief are perfect for anybody wanting to discover how to achieve their own goals.

    Maha's story is one of failures, success and failures and success and how to persevere against great odds. Maha is an inspirational and engaging speaker who is surprisingly thankful for the challenges that his simple upbringing and life’s challenges have presented him. He is a firm believer that adversity and hardship has ingrained in him a resilience and mental toughness to face every hurdle that life presents; without which he may well be quite a different person.

    As Chairman of the Springfield Land Corporation, Maha's goal is make a difference in society by creating a master-planned community where people can live, learn, work and play in a city fully supported by high quality infrastructure, commercially viable development and sustainable development. Springfield is founded on the cornerstones of health, education and technology. Education at all levels is the cornerstone of his strong commitment to fostering social justice and social progress through adding value to individuals and increasing their potential as people.

    Springfield is presently 15% developed and, at completion, the CBD of Springfield will be twice the size of Brisbane’s CBD. To date, Springfield has directly and indirectly experienced a $9.6 billion expenditure and is moving at a rapid pace.

    Maha holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of New South Wales and has worked for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. He is also directly involved as the major shareholder in more than $15 billion worth of projects throughout Australia.

    Though never the goal, Maha has been recognised with many accolades, including: an honorary doctorate from the University of Southern Queensland; a Centenary Medal for contribution to Regional Development; the 2003 Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year (Northern Region); the Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International; Australian Institute of Management Medal for Management Innovation; and the Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin International Renowned Entrepreneur Excellence Award.

    Maha was also named in BRW's list of wealthiest individuals with a net personal wealth of $820 million. But it has never been the acquisition of wealth that drives Maha. His mantra is “chase success and money will follow” as he firmly believes that chasing money will not grow a person. He is very heavily committed to uplift society.

    If he didn't seem busy enough, Maha also holds many leadership and committee roles outside of the property development industry. He has released a book 'Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached' in which he shares his 10 principles for fearless success.


Plenary session speakers

  • Richard Coulson

    Richard Coulson
    Director, Cox Architecture

    Richard Coulson graduated from University of Queensland in 1992. He joined Cox Architecture in 2001 and is one of three Queensland Directors of the National practice. During his time with Cox, Richard has undertaken a diverse portfolio of projects across a wide range of sectors from public/cultural buildings through to large scale commercial projects, complex education buildings and major sporting facilities. Recent sports projects include the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Anna Meares Velodrome for the for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the North Queensland Stadium. Specific complex access projects have included the suite of Youngcare facilities built in Queensland. Richard is the Cox Queensland leader for urban projects including transport and connections.

  • Glenn Hay

    Glenn Hay
    Associate, Landscape Architect, Lat27

    Glenn has worked across all scales of landscape architecture. From small and large scale private residential projects through to commercial, industrial and community facilities; as well as large scale urban developments, multi-unit residential projects, environmental rehabilitation and wetland landscapes. 

  • Soren Luckins

    Soren Luckins
    Founder, Büro North

    Soren Luckins is the founder of Büro North, an Australian based but globally connected user-experience, place-making and wayfinding design studio.

    Under his direction Büro North has built an impressive portfolio of awards, publicity and clients locally and internationally. Soren leads a team of talented, lateral-thinking designers and oversees every stage; from research and client consultation to implementation and project delivery. Working with clients across Australia, New Zealand, the UAE, the United Kingdom and South-East Asia the team brings vast experience to resolving complex travel, retail, healthcare and education wayfinding and user-experience challenges globally.

    Soren has a Bachelor of Design and Honours degree in Industrial Design from Swinburne University as well as a combined diploma from Germany’s Facchoschule Hildesheim University. Among many other awards, Soren has received the prestigious ‘Young Guns’ award from the Advertising and Design Club of New York.

  • Stephen Minning

    Stephen Minning
    Director, BrandCulture and Pam Wayfinding

    Stephen Minning is a branding and wayfinding specialist with over 20 years' international experience working with blue-chip companies and public-sector organisations.

    He leads a team of wayfinding experts who design immersive, engaging navigation experiences for clients such as Transport for NSW (TfNSW), Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and leading architects, property developers, and interior designers.
    Stephen is an influential member of the design community and a board member of the Society for Experiential Graphic Design.

    In 2016, Stephen launched Pam Wayfinding, a cloud-based platform for managing signs to create smart spaces that are easy to navigate and encourage exploration.

  • Nick Morris

    Nick Morris
    Director, Morris Access Consulting Pty Ltd

    Nick holds a degree in Human Movement and Education and is an accredited accessibility consultant with the ACAA.  In 1996 as part of the Aussie Rollers, he won a Paralympic Gold medal in Atlanta. In 1997 Nick was awarded an Order of Australia medal for his services to sport. After the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics, Nick was invited to be the expert accessibility advisor for the International Paralympic Committee which he did from 2004 – 2012. This required him to mentor organisers of Summer and Winter Olympic / and Paralympic Games, Commonwealth, Asian and Pan American Games as to how to create accessibility within their cities, tourist attractions and events. Nick has also been on ABC TV program “New Inventors” as a Judge and is currently a judge for the Australian Event Awards.

  • Michael Small

    Michael Small
    Director, Michael Small Consulting

    Michael Small works with people with disability, businesses, government and the building sector to assist in making buildings and services more accessible.

    From 1993 to 2011 Michael worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission developing guidelines and standards to improve access to public transport, education, banking and the built environment.

    Michael was closely involved in drafted the Premises Standards and produced a number of resources to assist building professionals implement access requirements.

    Michael convenes the ACAA committee working on the review of the Premises Standards and in 2016 was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study access compliance overseas.

  • Damian Thompson

    Damian Thompson
    Director, Registered Landscape Architect, Lat27

    Damian has enjoyed designing public and private environments along Australia’s eastern coastline, including stints in the UK and Asia, for over two decades. His work bridges urban design and landscape architecture and he has enjoyed a long association guest lecturing and tutoring at QUT.

    He has led and contributed to multi-disciplinary teams that deliver award-winning projects ranging from intimate laneways through to major public parklands and urban renewal projects. Damian is passionate about site-specific, community driven design outcomes and is one of the founding members of Lat27.

  • Bryce Tolliday

    Bryce Tolliday
    Managing Director, Wayfinding Australia Pty Ltd

    Bryce Tolliday is an access consultant with over 15 years’ experience developing accessible wayfinding solutions for major public building projects within Australia including the Gold Coast University Hospital, the QEII Jubilee Courts and the Queensland Cultural Centre Precinct.

    Bryce is a member of the AS1428.4.2 Design for access and mobility – Wayfinding committee and has been involved in a number of wayfinding research projects. He is also a professional member of the Society for Experiential Graphic Design and an accredited member of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia.

    Bryce is a passionate advocate for the delivery of accessible wayfinding solutions and believes that Wayfinding is an experience which everyone has a right to experience on the same terms.

Concurrent session speakers

  • Jane Bringolf

    Jane Bringolf
    Founding Director, Centre for Universal Design Australia

    Jane Bringolf has a background in community services spanning more than thirty years. A recipient of a Churchill Fellowship in 2004, Jane travelled overseas to investigate organisations pursuing universal design, accessible environments and assistive technology. She later completed a PhD in urban studies focusing on housing. Jane's nine years as Executive Director with the Independent Living Centre NSW, and more recently as Liveable Communities Project Manager with Council on the Ageing NSW, adds to her experience of working in the aged and disability sectors.  As a founding director of the newly established Centre for Universal Design Australia, she hopes to make designing universally an everyday activity. Jane also holds a Bachelor of Social Science and a Masters of Business Administration.

  • John-Ross Barresi

    John-Ross Barresi
    Project & Innovation Coordinator, Senior O&M Specialist, Guide Dogs Victoria

    After graduating from LaTrobe University in 2001 as an Orientation & Mobility Specialist, John-Ross worked at Vision Australia providing O&M training to those who are blind or vision impaired. In 2004 he moved to Guide Dogs Victoria where he is currently employed.

    John-Ross had an early interest in adaptive technology and how it can assist his clients to enhance their independent mobility. In his current role of Innovation & Project Coordinator/Senior O&M Specialist, he manages projects that design and implement new technologies that aim to provide greater independence for his clients.

  • Allen Kong

    Allen Kong
    Architect, Director Allen Kong Architect Pty Ltd
    • Fellow Australian Institute of Architects (FRAIA)
    • Member Association of Consultants in Access Australia (ACAA)
    • Member of Building Appeals Board, Victoria (BAB)
    • Member of International Union of Architects, Architecture for All, Region IV work group.
    • Member AIA National Access Work Group
    • Chair of AIA Victoria Access Committee

    Allen has built an award winning international reputation for designing sustainable social architecture.

    Early work includes disaster relief reconstruction in Afghanistan, followed by research and design work for Australian Antarctic bases. Recent work has been affordable accommodation for homeless aged people; people with dementia and other disabilities. 

  • Lindsay Perry

    Lindsay Perry
    Accredited Access Consultant

    Lindsay has over fifteen years’ experience as an access consultant and has provided access consultancy services at both the national and international levels.

    Having worked on a wide range of projects throughout her career, Lindsay is committed to ensuring that accessible environments are created that will improve the quality of life for the community as a whole and considers a wide range of disabilities in her work.

    She is an accredited access consultant, registered architect and has recently completed a Master of Disability Studies with Distinction.  Lindsay currently holds the position of Treasurer on the ACAA Management Committee.

  • Ali Yousif

    Ali Yousif
    Director and Owner, Sirius Wayfinding Pty Ltd

     An experienced wayfinding specialist and guest lecturer with a demonstrated history of working in the creative design industry, including public transport, urban planning and architectural design firms.
    Skilled in Wayfinding, Human-Centred Design and Environmental Design Solutions, Ali has created systems addressing wayfinding with intelligence and lateral thinking without relying on precedent, for several significant projects in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

    With a fascination for logic and mathematics as well as art, interior design and creativity, Ali founded Sirius Wayfinding in 2012 after extensive experience in civil engineering and graphic design, which gave him the necessary foundation for a unique career in wayfinding. 
    Ali is currently authoring an upcoming book - "Intelligent Wayfinding" - addressing wayfinding with intelligence and lateral thinking, without relying on precedent.
    An influencer with his unique wayfinding theory, Ali's best practice ideas have been successfully adopted by students, designers, architects and companies specialising in wayfinding, in Australian and international projects.