2023 Perth Airport WA Regional Tourism Conference - Speakers

The 2023 Perth Airport WA Regional Tourism Conference will take place in Kalgoorlie-Boulder on May 15 - 17, 2023.


Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Federal Minister for Tourism

Don Farrell was elected to the Senate in 2008, and served as Minister for Science and Research, Minister for Sport, Minister Assisting on Tourism, and Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water during his six-year term in the Rudd and Gillard governments.

Following his first term in the Senate, Don spent time tending his small vineyard in South Australia's Clare Valley wine region and knows firsthand the daily challenges faced by local growers and primary producers.

Following the election of the Albanese Government in 2022, Senator Farrell was appointed Minister for Trade and Tourism, Special Minister of State and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.



Hon Roger Cook MLA

Deputy Premier & Minister for Tourism

With oversight of the key portfolios of State Development, Jobs and Trade; Hydrogen Industry; Tourism; and Science, Roger Cook has been a member of the Legislative Assembly since 2008, representing the seat of Kwinana.

Roger is passionate about Aboriginal issues and served as the Chief Executive Officer of a number of Aboriginal Land Councils, along with a communications role assisting industry and government to reach agreement with Aboriginal Native Title groups. He was previously the National President of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation.

Roger is a strong advocate for health and fitness, competing in regular triathlons, marathons and rides for muscular dystrophy along with the walk for diabetes. He is an avid supporter of the Western Force and Fremantle Dockers.



International Keynote

John Barrett

Chairman & Founder, Kapiti Island Nature Tours & Nature Lodge

John has 40+ years of management and governance experience in a range of private and public organisations and enterprises, including NZ Tourism Industry Transformation Program, Leadership Council of WINTA,Tourism NZ, NZ Maori Tourism Council & Wellington Conservation Board.

Kapiti Island Nature Tours & Nature Lodge is strongly focused on developing whanau (family) hapu and Iwi (tribal group) members into tourism work that is financially, culturally, environmentally and socially meaningful.



John Bowler Headshot

Mayor John Bowler

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder








Bede Fennell

Bede Fennell

EGM Corporate Affairs, Tourism Australia 

Bede joined Tourism Australia in November 2019 to lead the Corporate Affairs team, which looks after Government, Communication, Industry, Experiences, Sustainability and Indigenous affairs. He has over 25 years of corporate affairs experience in Australia and internationally.

He has worked in politics at a Federal and State level, and for more than half of his career has worked for large corporates across a range of industries from manufacturing, to mining services and to infrastructure.





Carolyn Turnbull

Managing Director, Tourism WA

With over 20 years of international leadership experience, Carolyn Turnbull is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Tourism WA, including the promotion of WA as an incredible tourism destination, working with industry & government to improve access, accommodation & tourism experiences & delivering a world-class events calendar.

Carolyn is a graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration Advanced Management Programme & holds an Executive MBA in Hospitality Management through Nanyang Business School, Singapore. She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.




Simon Brown

Principal, RSM Australia

Simon is a Chartered Accountant with a wide range of experience in providing advice on taxation and business matters for Tourism businesses. He manages a diverse range of business assignments and is responsible for providing clients with high level strategic and business advice.

He works closely with his clients to deliver results and outcomes that make a real difference to their business and personal goals. As well as assisting clients with compliance matters Simon is able to analyse the financial performance of clients. Simon looks for ways that technology can be used to provide better and more cost-effective business solutions. 




Alec Coles

Chief Executive Officer, Western Australian Museum

Alec Coles is CEO of the Western Australian Museum which has branches in Perth, Fremantle, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Albany, and Carnarvon, and also works in communities throughout WA. He led the development of the WA Museum Boola Bardip; a $400 million project, completed in November 2020. Coles is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Western Australia.

He has held many non-executive positions and is the current Chair of the Partners’ Council of the Western Australian Biodiversity Sciences Institute. He is also the Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee of the International Council of Museums and a former Chair of ICOM Australia. Coles was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2010. In 2021, he was named Western Australian of the Year in the Arts & Culture category.


Sue Hanson Headshot

Sue Hanson

Chief Executive Officer, Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre

Sue Hanson is the CEO and Senior Linguist of the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre Aboriginal Corporation. Her background is 40 years in remote Aboriginal communities and organisations using language as a means for connecting people, places and story.








Kirsten Holmes Headshot

Professor Kirsten Holmes

Curtin University

Kirsten Holmes is Professor of Tourism at Curtin University and has worked in Australia and the UK. Kirsten seeks to build collaborations between industry, government and researchers to build a more resilient tourism sector.

Her recent projects include Post-mining land use and opportunity for tourism for the Transformations in Mining Economics CRC; Mapping the event management skills and knowledge legacy from the Olympic Games 1988-2000 for the International Olympic Committee; and Event hiatus, resilience and innovation in the time of COVID-19 working with Edinburgh Festivals.

Her latest book is the Routledge Handbook of Volunteering in Events, Sport and Tourism (2021). Kirsten is an elected Fellow and the Immediate Past Chair of CAUTHE - the Australasian Council for Tourism and Hospitality Education.



Matt Lang 

Chief Operations Officer, G'day Group

With more two decades’ experience in senior finance, commercial and operations roles across a variety of industries including defence, aviation and tourism, Matt is a highly credentialed executive with a breadth of experience leading high performing teams in large and complex business environments.

Matt joined G’day Group in 2017, as Chief Financial Officer, and assumed a dual Executive portfolio in mid-2020. He has been responsible for leading the company’s multi-disciplinary Finance and Operations teams during a period of significant business growth that has seen the Group emerge as a billion-dollar business and Australia’s undisputed leader in regional travel experiences.



Tim Moore Headshot

Tim Moore 

Local History and Archives Officer, City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder