Advisory Board

Quest Events would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the official event advisory panel who contributed their valuable time and expertise to ensure the agenda for this event is timely and relevant for all stakeholders working in the energy sector.


  • Michael Brear
    Director, Melbourne Energy Institute

    Professor Michael Brear is the Director of the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne. He guides the Institute’s research on the technical, economic, environmental and social impacts of energy systems. Much of his own research is collaborative with industry and government on:

    • The technical, economic and environmental analysis of transport and energy systems;
    • Systems featuring reciprocating engines and gas turbines;
    • Combustion of conventional and alternative fuels 

    Michael is a Fellow of Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Energy and he previously established the University’s Master of Energy Systems. Prior to commencing at the University, he undertook graduate studies at Cambridge University and post-doctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Gavin Dufty
    Manager Energy Policy and Research, St Vincent de Paul Society

    Gavin is currently employed as the manager of policy and research at St Vincent de Paul Society, Victoria. Gavin’s has worked in the community welfare sector for over 18 years. During this time he has produced a number or reports focusing on the cost of living with a particular focus on energy. Gavin is a representative of a number of industry and government committees associated with energy policy including: Member Victorian government ministerial advisory committee on smart meters,  AGL’s national customer council, Citipower / Powercor customer consultative committee, Past member of the Australian Energy Market Commission, Reliability Panel, Independent assessment panel for the Australian Government's Smart Grid, Smart City program.

  • Hugh Gleeson
    Non-Executive Director, Energy Queensland

    Hugh Gleeson has been CEO of United Energy (UE) and Multinet Gas (MG) since 2003.

    UE and Multinet are both unlisted Victorian energy distribution companies. UE distributes electricity to approximately 640,000 customers and is owned by Diversified Utility and Energy Trusts (DUET) and SGSP (Australia) Assets. MG distributes gas to approximately 660,000 customers and is wholly owned by DUET.

    Hugh has over 25 years experience in the utility sector and prior to his current role held various general management positions including regulation, distribution and utility operations.

    Since its formation in 2003 Hugh has been a member on the Board of the Energy Network Association, previously holding the positions of Deputy Chairman and Chairman.

  • Samantha Hepburn
    Director, Centre for Energy and Natural Resources, Deakin University

    Professor Samantha Hepburn is the Director of the Centre for Energy and Natural Resources Law at Deakin University.  Samantha researches and publishes in regulatory and policy issues relevant to onshore energy production.  She is particularly interested in examining emergent regulatory issues relevant to transitional resource sectors including: unconventional gas development, carbon capture sequestration and renewable energy, particularly wind energy.  

    Samantha has been commissioned to prepare Parliamentary papers for the Victorian government and the Victorian Auditor-General, has been involved in multiple Senate submissions and conference presentations including a presentation to the Harvard Law Environmental Policy Unit last year.  Samantha's book, Mining and Energy Law was published in 2015 by Cambridge University Press and her most recent research examines the changing nature of community engagement protocols within a transitioning energy framework.

  • Tim Nelson
    Chief Economist and General Manager Sustainability, AGL Energy

    Tim is the Chief Economist and General Manager, Sustainability at AGL Energy Ltd. At AGL, Tim leads the company's public policy advocacy and AGL’s sustainability strategy. In 2015/16, Tim has led the development AGL's Affordability Initiative, AGL's revised Greenhouse Gas Policy and Strategy and the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF) concept. He is a member of the Westpac Stakeholder Advisory Council and the Grattan Institute Energy Reference Group.

    Tim is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Griffith University and has had around thirty papers published in Australian and international peer-reviewed journals. He has presented at conferences in Australia and throughout Asia and Europe. He holds a PhD in economics for which he earned a Chancellors Doctoral Research Medal and a first class honours degree in economics. Tim is also a qualified Chartered Secretary (AGIA and ACIS).

  • Keith Orchison
    Director, Coolibah Pty Ltd

    Keith has been involved in Australian resources and industry policy issues management and communications for 37 years. He has been a communicator for 58 years, starting as a journalist in South Africa in 1959 and emigrating to Australia in 1970.

    He served for four years in the 1970s as public affairs manager of Associated Pulp & Paper Mills Limited and for three years as head of public relations at La Trobe University, Melbourne.

    He was chief executive of what is now APPEA for 11 years and of the Electricity Supply Association of Australia for 12 years.

    From 2003 to 2007 he chaired the energy committee of the Critical Infrastructure Advisory Council for the Howard government.

    He has also been chairman of the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network and of the CSIRO Energy Technology Advisory Committee.

    Today he runs his own energy advisory business as Coolibah Pty Ltd and is publisher of the blog “This is Power” and of the Coolibah monthly newsletter.

    Keith is also engaged in the organisation and chairing of a series of energy outlook conferences.

    He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2004 and in 2012 was recipient of AusIMM’s Sir Willis Connolly Memorial Medal for outstanding communication about the mining and resources sectors.

  • Rosemary Sinclair
    Chief Executive Officer, Energy Consumers Australia

    Rosemary Sinclair is the CEO of Energy Consumers Australia, established by the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council to enhance consumer advocacy on national energy market matters of strategic importance and material consequence for energy consumers, in particular household and small business consumers. ECA focuses on the long-term interests of consumers of energy with respect to the price, quality, safety, reliability and security of supply of energy services.

    Rosemary is a Member (part-time) of the Australian Communications and Media Authority and a Director of the Wests Tigers Rugby League Football Club and Chairs the Audit and Risk Committee.

    Previously Rosemary was CEO of Immediate Solutions, a boutique consultancy practice focused on strategy development, digital technology transformation, stakeholder engagement, governance and government relations; Director, External Relations at the Australian School of Business (ASB), University of New South Wales (UNSW); Managing Director, Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG).

    Rosemary has many years of senior large-scale operations, communications and strategy experience in business and government across telecommunications, media and education.

    Rosemary was Chair of the Federal Government’s Regional Telecommunications Inquiry Review Committee from July 2011-2013.

    Rosemary has held a number of Directorships on unlisted company and not-for-profit Boards.

    Rosemary has degrees in Arts, Law and Business and a Masters of Commerce from UNSW. Rosemary is a qualified CPA and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

  • Mike Swanston
    Principal, the Customer Advocate, and Member, AER Customer Challenge Panel

    Mike is a professional engineer with over thirty years of experience in the Australian electricity industry, specialising in distribution network planning, capital investment and field operations.

    With a passion for energy sustainability and a fair deal for energy customers, Mike’s mission is to further the empowerment of residential and small business energy customers in today’s changing energy markets.

    Goals include supporting the development of transparent and engaging electricity markets with intelligent and fair energy tariffs, the application of innovative technology and most importantly through effective and honest communication – all with a focus on sensible, simple and efficient service to the energy customer.

    Mike is principal consultant of his business The Customer Advocate, is a member of the Consumer Challenge Panel with the Australian Energy Regulator and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia.