The 2018 Comcare National Conference Program provided delegates:
Fit for the future: Collaborate | Innovate | Achieve
The Conference theme explored how we can drive the changes that are happening in our sector right now and be at the forefront of harnessing innovation and technology to improve services. The Comcare National Conference brought together people with a passion for work health and safety to share best practice, hear the latest research, be challenged by presentations and build valuable networks.
Tim Dunlop is a best-selling author, an in-demand public speaker, and a regular contributor to The Guardian Australia and other magazines and newspapers. He speaks and writes on matters to do with media, politics, and technology and the future of work. He is also a subject coordinator at the postgraduate Centre for Advancing Journalism at the University of Melbourne.
Tim has a background in business and a PhD in Communications/Political Philosophy. Tim will be presenting The Future is Workless injecting a fresh, future-focused perspective into the Conference program.
Stefan is a senior principal scientist at CSIRO working in the field of strategic foresight and director of the Data61 Insight Team. Stefan leads the Data61 Insight Team which is a group of researchers and consultants helping organizations navigate digital disruption. Stefan is a world leading scholar in the field of decision theory and has published seminal works on the use multi-objective decision support. Stefan is widely published in the international research literature and his most recent book titled “Global Megatrends” is available through CSIRO Publishing.
Stefan will be presenting in our Fit for the Future session on The Future of Work.
Mitchell Johnson is a once-in-a-generation Australian cricketer; a devastating left-arm fast bowler who became a household name following his epic performance in the 2013-14 Ashes series and the subsequent Test series against South Africa. But, behind the cult image and fearsome pace bowling is an unforgettable story of and persistence and strength.
In 2011, when faced with a lengthy rehabilitation following toe surgery, Mitchell even questioned whether he had the ability or desire to return to international cricket. With the support of family and help from his old mentor and a war hero, he took his fitness to a whole new level and channelled his strength and renewed confidence back into his bowling.
Barely three years later he was the most feared fast bowler, claiming the 2014 Allan Border Medal. Mitchell’s closing keynote presentation will deliver an inspiring message of resilience, perseverance, and strength, and will inform delegates how they can be mentally and physically fit for your future.
Blythe is a People and Culture Expert, and founder of training organisation Human Incite. Blythe is widely recognised for her passion, energy and her ability to shake things up. Blythe is brilliant at revving up productivity and performance in individuals and organisations and has expertise in people leadership and neuroleadership. Blythe is the author of the book Bullies, Blamers and Bludgers and she is on a mission to rid our workplaces of toxic behaviours, build meaningful relationships and create workplaces worth belonging to.
Blythe will be presenting on building a culture of safety, whether physical or psychological and how safety is everyone's business.
Dr Stephen Duckett is Director of the Health Program at the Melbourne-based think tank, Grattan Institute. He has held top operational and policy leadership positions in health care in Australia and Canada including as Secretary of what is now the Commonwealth Department of Health. He has a reputation for creativity, evidence-based innovation and reform in areas ranging from the introduction of activity-based funding for hospitals, to new systems of accountability for the safety of hospital care. An economist, he is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. Stephen will be presenting on Health and the Economy.
Diane Smith-Gander is non-Executive director AGL Energy, Wesfarmers Limited, Chair of Safe Work Australia, Asbestos Safety & Eradication Council, a board member of Keystart Loans, CEDA, member of the NRFA Partnership Council and immediate past President of Chief Executive Women, Australia’s pre-eminent women’s advocacy group.
Diane has held a wide range of non-executive roles in the past including Chairman of Broadspectrum, Deputy Chairperson of NBNCo, non-executive director of the CBH Group, commissioner of Tourism WA and board member of the Committee for Perth.
Diane’s last executive role was Group Executive at Westpac; a member of the leadership team of the corporation, responsible for all Information Technology, back office operations, global vendor management and property. Diane was a General Manager at Westpac for 10 years in the 1990s responsible for back office functions, retail networks and support functions.
Prior to re-joining Westpac Diane was a partner at McKinsey & Company in Washington and New Jersey serving clients in diverse industries globally. Diane became a senior advisor to McKinsey in Australia in 2016.
Diane has been active in sports administration and is a past Chairman of both Basketball Australia Limited, the sport’s peak body, and the Australian Sports Drug Agency, the government agency responsible for deterring the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Mr David Thodey is Chairman of Australia’s national scientific research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The CSIRO is Australia’s innovation catalyst, collaborating to boost Australia’s innovation performance. As set out in its Strategy 2020, the CSIRO creates benefit for Australia through impactful science and innovation.
He is also Chair of Jobs for NSW and on the Advisory Boards of SquarePeg Capital and UHG.
Mr Thodey was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director of Telstra from May 2009, until he formally retired from the CEO position on 30 April 2015. He joined Telstra in April 2001 as Group Managing Director of Telstra Mobiles and in 2002 was appointed Group Managing Director Telstra Enterprise and Government. In this role, he was responsible for the company's corporate, government and large business customers in Australia and internationally.
In 2017, Mr Thodey was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to business, notably to the telecommunications and information technology sectors, to the promotion of ethical leadership and workplace diversity, and to basketball.
Margo Lydon is the Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary of SuperFriend – Industry Funds’ Mental Health Initiative. SuperFriend delivers targeted workplace programs, initiatives, resources and insights to improve the mental health and wellbeing of ‘all profit to member’ superannuation fund members. Actively supported by the Partner Group Insurers and Superannuation Funds, Margo’s work intersects with the Mental Health, Superannuation and Life Insurance sectors.
Margo has 17 years’ experience in mental health.
She also has an extensive background in leadership, business management and marketing. She has been instrumental in driving the strategic growth of SuperFriend. Margo’s energy and dedication to her role is underpinned by her strong belief that SuperFriend’s unique and innovative business model provides unprecedented opportunities to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the millions of Australians who belong to all profit to member superannuation funds.
Margo represents SuperFriend on a number of strategic collaborations including; the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, Victorian Workplace Mental Wellbeing Collaboration, Leading Well Queensland Collaboration, Positive Psychology Institute of Australia Advisory Panel, and Roses in the Ocean Advisory Panel. Margo is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Beta Gamma Sigma.
Mohammed I. Ranavaya, MD, JD, MS, FRCPI, FFOM, CIME, is a Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Marshall University School of Medicine in West Virginia and currently serves as the Director of the Appalachian Institute of Occupational & Environmental Medicine in West Virginia. He is a consulting physician and American board certified in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Prof. Ranavaya is also trained in Law and earned his Juris Doctor (JD) degree from School of Law in Virginia.
As a practicing consultant physician Prof. Ranavaya advises the US Federal Government Department of Labor as well as several states, including Ohio and California, on work place injury issues and disability management. He has served as consultant to many multinational insurance companies and businesses, advising them on injury management, rehabilitation, and return to work issues. Multiple national and international governmental departments and agencies, including Worker's Comp and Motor Accident compensation systems from Australia, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and North America have consulted with Prof. Ranavaya and have retained his services to advise and train the personnel in impairment and disability assessment as well as strategies in return to work.
Lorimer is a clinical and research physiotherapist with a special interest in pain science, education and clinical care. He has authored 5 books and over 300 papers and given over 50 keynote lectures in 26 countries. His passion for translating pain science discoveries to changes in clinical care has led to innovations such as the Pain Revolution, PRISM (Pain Recovery through Informed Self Management) and PRIME (Pain Reconceptualisation-Informed Medical Education). His work is cited in best practice guidelines worldwide and his contribution to the pain field has been recognised by honours or prizes from 12 countries, including being the first non-American to win the prestigious American Pain Society’s Prize for Public Service. He is an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health & Medical Science.
Dr Katrina Sanders is the Chief Medical Officer, Australian Federal Police (AFP), with over ten years clinical and leadership experience in operational organisations. She is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners with a Masters Degree in Public Health specialising in the health of operational forces.
Prior to the AFP Dr Sanders worked as a company doctor consulting to private and government agencies including an international automotive manufacturing firm, state level gas water electrical infrastructure and supplier, and territory wide major public transportation network. She consulted on the pre and post health requirements for the deploying teams in support of the Australian Government response to the Sierra Leone Ebola crisis.
As Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sanders provides strategic health advice and protection to domestic and international operations for the AFP. She is responsible for holistic health services including occupational health, operational health support and psychological services. Extensive occupational experience makes Dr Sanders current, innovative and challenging in her approach to the health needs of operationally focused organisations.
John has been with MATES in Construction Queensland since 2008 and helped develop the national award winning “Mates in Construction” program in suicide prevention. John strongly believes that suicide is a preventable problem particularly if we can get Mates helping Mates. The effectiveness of this approach has also seen the creation of MATES in Energy and MATES in Mining.
John holds a Master’s in leadership, Bachelor of Education as well as undertaking considerable post graduate study in organisational psychology, theology, biblical anthropology and suicidology.
John comes from a diverse work background having spent 20 years as a catholic school principal and supervisor of schools; owned a wine company, a leadership and management consultancy and has spent many years coaching young men in sport. John also spends 4 - 6 weeks a year in central Africa conducting collaborative leadership programs and establishing micro economic projects in poor communities.
Comcare is delighted to welcome Virginia Trioli back as Conference Facilitator. Two-time Walkley Award winner, Virginia Trioli, is one of Australia’s best-known journalists, with a formidable reputation as a television anchor, radio presenter, writer and commentator. She is much sought-after as a speaker and MC, and combines a rigorous interviewing style with an often wicked sense of humour.
Virginia, is an honours graduate in Fine Arts from the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, and in 1996 published Generation F, her celebrated response to Helen Garner’s ‘First Stone’. In 1995 she won Australian journalism's highest honour, the Walkley Award for her business reporting, and in 2001 Virginia won a second Walkley for her landmark interview with the former Defence Minister, Peter Reith, over the notorious Children Overboard issue. In 1999 Virginia won the Melbourne Press Club's Best Columnist award, The Quill. In 2006 she won Broadcaster of the Year at the ABC Local Radio Awards.
Virginia has held senior positions at the Age newspaper and the Bulletin magazine. For eight years she hosted the Drive Program on 774 ABC Melbourne, and the Morning Program on 702 ABC Sydney. She has been the host of ABC TV's premiere news and current affairs program, Lateline, also Artscape and Sunday Arts. She is a regular fill-in host on Q and A. Virginia currently anchors ABC News Breakfast on ABC 1 and ABC News 24.
Official Conference Open and Welcome – Virginia Trioli, Conference Facilitator
Welcome – Jennifer Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Comcare
Welcome to Country address – Wurundjeri Tribe
David Thodey will explore some of the key technological advances that are driving organisations to transform their operations – redefining the nature of work and the structure of the workforce. He will also outline some key principles of how we can respond to these changes and drive value for employees and organisations.
The ever-increasing pace of technological change, the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and home brought about by flexible work, the extraordinary rise of the gig economy, and the rising issue of workplace stress and mental health – all these factors combine to disrupt and transform work and the way we do it.
These are the key issues currently facing policymakers and regulators and it’s clear that we stand at a new frontier of work health and safety.
But it’s just as critical to remember that the most important thing has not changed at all: every worker deserves to go home healthy, to live a working life free from harm.
Diane will address these challenges, and consider what might need to change to ensure the human workers remain front and centre of our thinking.
Why do we still have baristas? We not only have them; according to the Australian Government Job Outlook the population of Australian Baristas (and bar attendants) has grown from 70,000 in 2007 to over 100,000 today and is forecast to approach 120,000 in a few years. According to our models baristas fit the description of a structured, repetitive and rules based job. Coffee, water, milk, coffee, water, milk … Easy right? It should be, and can already be, automated with machines. But everyone knows the barista coffee queue is always longer than the machine coffee queue.
The artificial intelligence and automation revolution of the workforce is more nuanced than we thought. Artificial intelligence will transform the workforce changing both the jobs we do and how we do them. There is an enormous opportunity for increased safety, enjoyment and work satisfaction. There is also an opportunity to boost wages and increase leisure time. But not all is going as planned. Workplace stress and anxiety are at the highest levels ever. Australians are continuing to increase hours worked per week. There is a trend of declining working-age male participation in the labour market. This presentation will look into the geopolitical, economic, environmental, social and technological drivers of change reshaping the labour market. Stefan will explore ways we can shift the dial and get better outcomes for both employers and employees.
Much of the discussion of recent technological change has been reduced to a single, misleading question: Will a robot take my job? The problem with this question is that it hides more than it reveals. What’s more, the answer to the question is quite straightforward: yes, a robot—or some form of technology—is very likely to take your job, and in fact, the range of tasks that various forms of technology can perform is only increasing. The real question, then, is: how do we respond?
The challenge for societies is less technological than it is political. For while the technology has the potential to liberate us from repetitive, mundane tasks, it also has the potential to enslave us to routines of surveillance, to increase insecurity, not just in the area of work but in our ability to trust the information that is presented to us. The new technologies also tend to concentrate wealth rather than distribute it, leading not just to economic inequality but political disenfranchisement. Only with a radical re-examination of the core issues of ownership and democratic participation will we avoid the dystopia of the disappearing middle (class). We will need more worker ownership of firms, other ways of distributing wealth, such as a universal basic income, and ultimately, a transformation of our parliaments so that ordinary citizens have more of a say in the way they are governed.
David Thodey, Diane Smith-Gander, Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, Tim Dunlop
We operate in a VUCA world. A world that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. This can create a real challenge for leaders and organisations in terms of the impact on their employees brain and consequently their behaviour and wellbeing.
In this keynote, Blythe will highlight some of the potential unproductive behaviours plaguing our workplaces, including bullying, and reveal current statistics on how this is impacting health and wellbeing at a macro and micro level. It’s frightening. She will suggest that unless there is a culture of safety, all quests for creativity, collaboration and high performance are simply futile. A safe environment, especially creating a psychologically safe environment, is the foundation to optimise performance and wellbeing and this keynote will share some simple tips on how you can achieve this.
Enjoy an evening of networking at the ‘Taste of Melbourne’ Welcome Reception. Experience gourmet canapes, interactive food stations, local wines and an array of entertainment while you catch up and connect with the key decision makers in the industry.
Join us for the 2018 Comcare Work Health and Safety Awards presentation to recognise those excelling within the jurisdiction.
Celebrate the success of the award winners and finalists, and continue networking back in the Exhibition Hall with post-ceremony drinks and dessert.
Networking Breakfast, facilitated by Allianz
The networking breakfast is a complimentary session, allowing delegates an added opportunity to network over a stand-up breakfast and take part in ‘speed talks’ from Comcare and Allianz. The speed talks will be six x 6-minute presentations on current Comcare programs and initiatives, as well as a presentation from Allianz.
Plenary session three
Virginia Trioli, Conference Facilitator
Sponsor address – Allianz
If we look forward 30 years, will we recognise the health system of 2048? What might look the same, and what might change? Should we worry about health care sustainability? Dr Stephen Duckett will explore these questions and more in his plenary presentation.
In Professor Moseley’s keynote presentation Pain Revolution: Why we need one and why you can be part of it he will discuss key areas including:
Stand and stretch with Moray & Agnew
The high-risk nature of the operational work undertaken by AFP employees and first responders more broadly carries an inherent risk of psychological harm and/or injury. Greater awareness of this risk has been recognised by agencies, the medical profession and the public as the mental health of first responders gains greater media attention. There are many barriers, both individual and organisationally, to first responders seeking help and accessing treatment. Dr Sanders will explore the AFP mental health journey and discuss strategic level initiatives needed to protect the health of first responders into the future.
MATES in Construction Mining & Energy is an industry based, workplace focused, community development program including workforce training and support. Using a bottom up approach the program empower workers to support each other and be an active part of preventing suicide and creating a mentally healthier workplace from their perspective.
The MATES program has expanded Nationally, into new industries and work is underway to expand internationally. The risk when expanding is that core program values can be diluted, or important cultural differences being missed in the application. This presentation will take you through the process applied in program translation between communities, ensuring continual evaluation and testing with people who have lived experience both in terms of suicide but also in terms of belonging to the industry.
Our program is built from the ground up on the lived experience of people working in a specific industry. Always informed by and adding to the collective evidence base.
This presentation shows how utilising an industry owned and led approach to workplace suicide prevention not only delivers the levels of buy in and penetration needed to deliver sustainable improvements in Mental Health and reduced incidences of suicide, but also facilitates the successful expansion of the program into new industries and geographies. We will also explore the potential for the successful expansion of the program into new industries and show that it is predicated on genuine cultural fit and understanding.
We know that interventions that are built from the community they are serving, and informed by best available evidence are likely to succeed and grow. And that is key to the successful roll out of a workplace based mental health and suicide prevention initiative.
Employers across Australia are becoming more aware of the benefits of good mental wellbeing within their organisation. By promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, all Australian workers are supported to thrive at work, whether they are experiencing mental health issues or not. Encouraging positive mental health is good for both the employee and the organisation.
SuperFriend has just completed its 2018 Indicators of a Thriving Workplace Survey which measures the current state of workplace mental health and wellbeing against the desired state of a mentally healthy workplace. This year, a new set of 40 validated indicators have been included in the survey to define the desired state of a mentally healthy workplace across the domains of Leadership, Connectedness, Policy, Capability and Culture. New questions included in the survey also provide greater insights about workplace mental health and wellbeing in Australia.
This research defines a compelling case for why employers need to put mental health and wellbeing at the top of their priority list. Results show that in their current role, one in four workers are experiencing high levels of stress and bullying and around one in five workers report having suffered from work-related insomnia. Despite this, workers reported that the main benefits they experience when working in a mentally healthy workplace include feelings of being valued (61%), a greater ability to bring your best self to work (56%) and an increased willingness to contribute more (54%). Interestingly, only one in ten respondents strongly agreed that they were optimistic that the state of mental health and wellbeing in their workplace would improve in the foreseeable future.
In this presentation, Lydon will provide a snapshot of the current state of workplace mental health and wellbeing across Australia before sharing the characteristics of the best organisations and strategies that can be undertaken by employers to promote the wellbeing of their workers.
Join Dr Katrina Sanders, John Brady and Margo Lydon for a Q&A following their presentations on Mental Health in the Workplace.
Sponsor address – Gallagher Bassett
Mitchell Johnson is a once-in-a-generation Australian cricketer; a devastating left-arm fast bowler who became a household name following his epic performance in the 2013-14 Ashes series and the subsequent Test series against South Africa. Through life Mitchell has faced many roadblocks and trauma and his presentation will outline how he dealt with these on and off the field including managing forms of depression. He will highlight his resilience and deliver an inspiring message on to be mentally and physically fit for your future.
Virginia Trioli, Conference Facilitator