D. Heatley

Don Heatley OAM – Chair, ACIAR Commission

Master of Ceremony

Mr Don Heatley OAM is a North Queensland cattle farmer who produces beef for highly specialised export markets including Korea, Japan and the United States, giving him a strong understanding of the livestock export industry and international agribusiness value chains. Mr Heatley is the Chair of the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Commission, and has held previous roles on state livestock councils, the Cattle Council of Australia and as Chair of Meat and Livestock Australia. Mr Heatley has taken a strong personal interest in provision of research and development support to domestic beef industries throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

C Chilcott

Dr Chris Chilcott BSc (Hons) PhD – Research and Site Leader for the Northern Territory, CSIRO – Land and Water

Dr Chilcott has served as the CSIRO Land and Water Research Leader for the Northern Territory since late 2015. Dr Chilcott has over 20 years of experience in the agricultural sector and his research career has included ecology and animal industries, pastoral production and rangeland management. Prior to joining the CSIRO he served as the Director of Animal Industries at the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Chris is the lead researcher and will be discussing the findings and implications of the LEP funded project: ‘Capacity constraints and inefficiencies in the livestock export supply process’.


Steve Coleman – CEO, RSPCA New South Wales

Mr Steven Coleman, Graduate Diploma of Investigations Management, MBA, is the Chief Executive Officer of RSPCA NSW and the Society Secretary. He joined RSPCA NSW as an Inspector in 1991, and contributes to animal welfare in many ways. He has held many positions within RSPCA NSW including, Inspector, Deputy Chief Inspector, Chief Inspector, Deputy CEO and now CEO. He continues to serve on many committees including the Animal Welfare Advisory Council, Companion Animals Taskforce, Responsible Pet Ownership Reference Group, Taronga Zoo welfare committee and more recently on the NSW State Governments Greyhound Reform Panel, reporting direct to NSW Government Ministers.


Kimbal Curtis – Director, Livestock Dynamics

Kimbal Curtis joined the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia in 1983.

Early in his career he was involved in running and analysing on-farm sheep grazing experiments monitoring wool production and quality, and measuring pasture growth. Off farm, his focus was on analysing the wool supply chain from farm to mill, and looking at the relationships between wool quality measurements, supply and price.

His knowledge of Australian wool supply and quality led to his involvement in a CSIRO project benchmarking spinning in Indian wool processing mills and refining their wool buying specifications.

In 2001, Kimbal undertook a short-term AUSAID consultancy modelling climate risk on pasture and crop production in northern China. So apart from hot and dusty summers in WA sheep yards, and cold frosty winter mornings tagging lambs, Kimbal has experienced the extremes of mid-winter in Inner Mongolia to the pre-Monsoon heat and humidity of Central India.

As wool production and sheep numbers declined, his focus shifted to analysing and interpreting sheep demographic data, and developing and maintaining flock models of the Australian and Western Australian sheep industries. To support these models, Kimbal commissioned over two dozen producer surveys. These collected quantitative information on farm flocks and how they were being managed.

These forecasting models and their supporting data informed his participation in national wool and lamb forecasting committees.

Since he retired from the Department of Agriculture in 2015, Kimbal has maintained his interest in the sheep industry through his Livestock Dynamics consulting business.

K. Stilt

Dr Kristen Stilt – Professor of Law, Harvard University

Kristen Stilt is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.  She also serves as Faculty Director of the Animal Law & Policy Program, Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change, and is a Deputy Dean.  Stilt was named a Carnegie Scholar for her work on Constitutional Islam, and in 2013 she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.  She has also received awards from Fulbright and Fulbright-Hays.  She received a JD from The University of Texas School of Law, where she was an associate editor of the Texas Law Review and co-editor-in-chief of the Texas Journal of Women in the Law. She also has a PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. 

Her research focuses on animal law, and in particular the intersection of animal law and religious law; Islamic law and society; and comparative constitutional law.  Publications include Islamic Law in Action (Oxford University Press, 2011); “Constitutional Innovation and Animal Protection in Egypt,” Law & Social Inquiry (forthcoming); “Contextualizing Constitutional Islam: The Malaysian Experience,” International Journal of Constitutional Law (2005); “Animals,” in the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press, 2017), with Jessica Eisen; and “Animals,” in The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Law, eds. Anver Emon and Rumee Ahmed (Oxford University Press, 2017).  She is currently working on a new book project entitled Halal Animals.

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Dr Tomas Norton – Professor, Harper Adams University

Tomas Norton is a tenure-track professor in Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) in the group of M3-BIORES (Measure, Model, Manage  Bio-responses), Division of Animal and Human Health Engineering at the KU Leuven. He holds a PhD in Biosystems Engineering from University College Dublin (Ireland). He previously held academic positions at Harper Adams University (UK),  University College Dublin (Ireland), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and was a research assistant at Teagasc Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Ireland). His current research focus is on PLF applications, focussing on real-time modelling and control of animal bio-responses. Since January 2016 Tomas was a daily coordinator of the EU-PLF project (2012-2016) and currently coordinates Ph.D. students and Masters students in PLF at M3-BIORES. He is also a member of the lecturing team at KU Leuven for courses on Measuring, Modelling and Managing Bio-responses and Sustainable PLF. He collaborates with colleagues across the world, and has given a number of invited keynotes and currently represents M3-BIORES as vice-president for the EAAP commission for Precision Livestock Farming.

D. Slaney

Dick Slaney – Indonesia-Australia Commercial Cattle Breeding Program

Richard (Dick) Slaney is currently the General Manager and President Director of PT. Elders Indonesia and has held this role since mid 2003. Dick is based in Jakarta after having served time in West Java as Manager Feedlots with Elders from early 2002. Dick came to Indonesia initially as a saleman of beef in the role of Beef Marketing Manager for Janet Homes a Court and the Heytesbury Group in 1995.

Previous experience in Asia saw Dick marketing diary and beef genetics across South Asia based in India and the Philippines with extensive work on herd improvement programs with Nestle in India and Pakistan. Having grown up in the industry on a beef cattle property in North Queensland Australia, the school of hard knocks continued by way of the stock camps of the Gulf Country and Kimberley region and cowboying in Arizona, BC and Venezuela. As a mature age student he gained a Diploma in Farm Management from Orange Ag College and has one son who lives with him in Jakarta.

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Dr Sarah Hyland – General Manager Industry Services, Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology

Sarah is passionate about  trends, innovations and what our relationship with food tells us about our society.

She has lived and breathed the food business since working at a North Melbourne flour mill at the tender age of 18. Her experience includes roles in R&D, innovation, brand and category development.

A brief 15 year segue in consumer market research saw her work across every grocery aisle, the bottle shop and Quick Service Restaurants.

Through her role at AIFST, Sarah is energised by establishing connections with all kinds of food, beverages and people.

David Kerr

David commenced his working life in 1971 as an accountant for the largest lamb meat exporter in the UK. In 1975 he became the General Manager of abattoir operations for the processing facility. In 1981 he moved to Australia to take on a livestock management role in the booming live export industry. David was promoted to the role of Livestock Manager in 1984, a position he held until 2008. During that time David was directly responsible for the procurement, preparation and processing for export in excess of 30 million sheep from Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay and Romania.

In 2002 David was the recipient of the inaugural award for Special Achievements in the Lve Export Industry in recognition of his significant contribution to reopening the live sheep trade to Saudi Arabia. From 2004 to 2009 he was a Director of Wellard Rural Exports.

In 2008 David moved to a specialist consultant role in the welfare and management of livestock, providing ongoing operational and technical support to production animal enterprises in the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia.

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Catherine Marriott – CEO, Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association

Catherine has always worked in agriculture and is inspired by this industries potential. She uses her Rural Science Degree to understand the technical aspects of agriculture, whilst improving policy, research relevance and market access through her role as the CEO for the Kimberley Pilbara Cattleman’s Association, a representative body working towards maximising the value of the northern beef industry.

Throughout her career, she has developed skills in communication, project management, stakeholder engagement, entrepreneurship, corporate governance and community development. These skills have helped Catherine build national and international relationships through on the ground project delivery. She is passionate about living and learning and sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.

Catherine uses her understanding of strategy, leadership, policy direction and business to create influence, not only here in Australian agriculture, but agriculture globally.

Catherine is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was the 2012 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award Recipient and the National Runner-up. 


Colin Bettles – Canberra Bureau Chief, Fairfax Agricultural Media

Colin Bettles has been the Canberra bureau chief for Fairfax Agricultural Media at Parliament House in Canberra since October 2010. Colin is also the President of the National Rural Press Club. He originates from a dairy farming background in Western Australia and was the grains writer at Farm Weekly before moving to the nation’s capital.

From 1999, he worked at the WA Cricket Association (WACA) in media management and country cricket/game development and was editor of Cricket Week newspaper, before starting with Farm Weekly in April 2006. He remains an enthusiastic sports reporter on occasion but is also extremely passionate about reporting on political issues concerning Australian farmers, agriculture and the rural sector. He rates his career highlights as scoring 201 not out for the London Theatres Cricket Club in 1992, winning the Fairfax Agricultural Media’s Editorial Person Of The Year in 2012 and most recently the 2017 Australain Council of Agricultural Journalists Star Prize for Rural Writing for his story entitled: Tony Burke rejects links to Indonesian ban live exports plot. 

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Tim Ryan – Global Market Analyst, Meat and Livestock Australia

Ben Giblett – Export Operations Manager, Wellard Rural Exports

Ben has worked with Wellard for 10 years, in the company’s rural exports division. During this time he has worked across all aspects of the supply chain, from logistics and Pre export Quarantine to on-board vessels and in-market, for more than 5 years.

He began with Wellard in the company’s sheep feedlot at Baldivis in 2005 as a sheep stockman, and sailed on his first vessel in 2008, the world’s largest livestock vessel, the MV Ocean Shearer. Since then he has sailed on over 50 voyages (both long and short haul) transporting sheep, buffalo, dairy and beef cattle. These voyages have collectively transported over 1,000,000 sheep, cattle and Buffalo to destinations including Russia, Turkey, the Middle East, China and South East Asia.

Career highlights include loading 19,600 cattle on the MV Ocean Drover in 19.5 hours, acting as the head stockman for the MV Ocean Shearer in November 2011 when 25,817 head cattle were loaded to break the world record for the number of cattle loaded onto a single vessel, and his first 100% success rate voyage to Indonesia.

David Carter – Austral Fisheries


Greg Sheridan – Foreign Affairs Editor, The Australian

Jennifer Wainwright – CEO and Managing Director, Aux Venture

Cameron Morse – Managing Director, FTI Consulting

Dr Kev Sullivan – Bell Veterinary Services

Kat Giles – CEO, Sheepmeat Council of Australia