Speakers

Hon Ben Wyatt MLA

Treasurer; Minister For Finance; Energy; Aboriginal Affairs

Ben Wyatt is Australia’s first Indigenous Australian treasurer and was appointed in March 2017.

Testament to his capability, capacity and strong work ethic, Mr Wyatt also holds the position as Minister for Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs.

Mr Wyatt’s priority as a leader of the state is to focus on his pronounced Ministerial portfolio, his obligation to his constituents and to make a difference to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the state and the nation. Mr Wyatt is deeply committed to the principles of closing the gap in Australia.

Elected to the Legislative Assembly in a by-election, held in March 2006, Mr Wyatt was fast-tracked to fill the vacancy created when the Hon Dr Geoff Gallop resigned and has been serving the State for more than 10 years.

Prior to his appointment as a senior Minister in the current Government, Mr Wyatt held the positions of Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Federal State Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, Native Title and Government Accountability.

Mr Wyatt holds a Masters Degree with distinction from the London School of Economics,  Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia and has also served on the National Board of Indigenous Business Australia as an officer in the Australian Army –  following his graduation from the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

In 2001, Mr Wyatt was awarded Young Australian of the Year in the Town of Victoria Park. Other accolades include a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship from the Rotary Club of Victoria Park for 2001 to 2002 and receiving the Australian Defence Medal in 2008.

Mr Wyatt’s career in earnest began in Western Australia as a barrister and solicitor where he served as counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

 

Colin BeckettColin Beckett

Board Chair
Western Power

Western Power’s vast transmission and distribution network connects Western Australians to a wide range of both traditional and renewable energy sources to power a vibrant modern lifestyle. Western Power builds, maintains and operates the network in the south west corner of Western Australia.

As a Director and Board Chair since April 2015, Colin Beckett has been providing steady guidance and support across the leadership and governance of the State Government owned corporation. Prior to joining Western Power, Mr Beckett was a senior executive at Chevron Australia Pty Ltd, responsible for the development of the Gorgon LNG and domestic gas project on Barrow Island, Western Australia. Mr Beckett was previously employed at Mobil in Australia and at BP in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Mr Beckett is a past Chair and director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), past Chair of the CSIRO Energy and Transportation Sector Advisory Board, a past member of the WA Technology and Industry Advisory Council and a past member of the UWA Oceans Institute.

Mr Beckett has a Master of Arts in Engineering from Cambridge University.  He is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK), a fellow of the Australian Institute of Engineers and a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

 

Matt CheneyMatt Cheney

Head of Grid Transformation
Western Power

Matt Cheney leads the Grid Transformation function at Western Power, with responsibility for the future network strategy and for the development and prioritising of network plans to maintain service and performance standards.

Western Power is a Western Australian Government owned corporation that transmits and distributes electricity to more than one million customers across 254,920 km2. The network incorporates more than 102,000 kms of wires, along with more than 860,000 poles and towers.

Matt’s team is accountable for pilot projects including stand-alone power systems, microgrids and a utility scale battery energy storage solution. The objective being to provide the WA community with solutions to deliver power in new, efficient and innovative ways to meet their changing needs.

With 20 years’ experience in a diverse range of roles and industries Matt has established himself as a versatile asset manager and business leader. He previously formed part of the leadership team that implemented improved asset management practices across the business, focusing on maintaining the integrity of in-service assets.

Matt also held primary accountability for the strategic asset management of conductors across the network, in addition to the implementation of Smart Grid technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace Avionics), and is a member of the Asset Management Council of Australia.

 

Prof Ross Garnaut
Prof Ross Garnaut

Professorial Research Fellow in Economics
University of Melbourne

Professor Garnaut is a Professorial Research Fellow in Economics at the University of Melbourne. He is the author of numerous publications in scholarly journals on international economics, public finance and economic development, particularly in relation to East Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Recent books include The Great Crash of 2008 (with David Llewellyn-Smith, 2009) and Dog Days: Australia After the Boom (2013).

Professor Garnaut has had longstanding and successful roles as policy advisor, diplomat and businessman. He was the senior economic policy official in Papua New Guinea’s Department of Finance in the years straddling Independence in 1975, principal economic adviser to Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke 1983-1985, and Australian Ambassador to China 1985-1988.

He is the author of a number of influential reports to the Australian Government, including Australia and the Northeast Asian Ascendancy, The Garnaut Climate Change Review, and The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia and the Global Response to Climate Change.

Professor Garnaut has chaired the boards of major Australian and International companies since 1988, including Lihir Gold Ltd (1995 – 2010); Bank of Western Australia Ltd (1988 – 1995); Primary Industry Bank of Australia Ltd (1989 – 1994); Papua New Guinea Sustainable Development Limited Pty Ltd (2002 – 2012) and its subsidiary OK Tedi Mining Ltd; Lonely Planet Pty Ltd; and aluminium Smelters of Victoria Ltd and the Energy Transition Hub. In 2015 he became the Chairman of ZEN Energy Technologies Pty Ltd. In September 2017, ZEN Energy formed a strategic partnership with global company GFG Alliance and SIMEC ZEN energy was founded. Professor Garnaut remains as President of SIMEC ZEN Energy.


Richard HarrisRichard Harris

Chairperson
WA Independent Power Association

Richard has more than 30 years’ experience in the public and private sectors in the energy industry in WA.
Richard has been a Director of West Australian-based renewable energy development company WestGen since February 2010. WestGen is developer of the 30MW Byford Solar Farm, which will be begin commercial operations in the first half of 2018.

Richard’s previous roles include General Manager Commercial for Aviva Corporation, developer of the Coolimba Power Project, Project Director for the development of NewGen’s Neerabup Power Station, and WA Director for NewGen Power and ERM Power.

Prior to taking up his private sector roles, Richard had a long career in Government, serving both Coalition and Labor Governments as a Director in the Office of Energy, with responsibilities for the early stages of deregulation of the gas and electricity markets.

Richard is also Special Counsel at the communications firm Cannings Purple.

Richard holds a BA (Honours) and an MA degree from the University of Western Australia.

 

Cameron ParrotteCameron Parrotte

Executive General Manager
Western Australia, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

In January 2016, Cameron was seconded to the AEMO focusing on the transfer of System Management out of Western Power to the AEMO. From April 2016 he began acting in the AEMO Executive General Manager Western Australia role and was formally appointed in July 2016. In this role Cameron provides leadership to the WA market operations, implementation of Electricity Market Review initiatives and accountability for system management.

Cameron joined Western Power (then the State Energy Commission of Western Australia) in 1992 as a cadet engineer and left in July 2016 as the Executive Manager Network Planning and Operations role. Cameron held numerous senior management and senior engineering positions covering technical, field and system operational aspects of electricity networks and markets.

Cameron has a Bachelor of Engineering (First Class Honours), a Bachelor of Commerce (Management major) and a Masters of Technology. He is a Chartered Professional Engineer, on the National Professional Engineers Register and is a member of the Institute of Engineers Australia."  

 

Donna Pidduck

Chief Marketing Officer
Origin

Donna Pidduck joined Origin in March 2017 as Chief Marketing Officer within the retail business responsible for Origin’s residential and SME customers.
Donna brings a new perspective to the energy space, having grown up in financial services. For the last 20 years her marketing roles have focussed on commercial growth, customer and leading engaged marketing teams. As the ‘newbie’ at Origin, Donna believes that asking ‘why’ or ‘why not’ is absolutely critical to drive change.

So why energy and why now? Donna is passionate about energy sector’s transformation to true customer centricity.  It’s a great time to join a sector where disruption is real, and where winners and losers will be borne from their ability to build trust with customers, anticipate and deliver on new energy experiences which are meaningful, empowering and super simple.
Prior to joining Origin, Donna spent 18 years with GE Capital in both Australia and Europe (Zurich), in a range of senior marketing positions across brand development, credit card segment marketing, personal lending and commercial lending.

Following the sale of GE Capital’s consumer business in Australia to a private equity consortium, Donna led the brand re-positioning and launch of challenger brand Latitude Financial Services.  The ‘You can do better’ consumer campaign featuring Alec Baldwin was a strong commercial success and took out an MFA bronze award.

Donna holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She lives in Melbourne, is married with one daughter and a very scrappy dog.

 

Tony WoodTony Wood AM

Energy Program Director
Grattan Institut
e

Tony Wood has led the Grattan Institute’s Energy Program since mid-2011. Since then he and his team have delivered sixteen major reports on energy and climate change and he has developed a strong profile with governments and industry, and is a regular contributor in major media on key energy issues.  From 2009 until mid-2014, he also had a role as Program Director of Clean Energy Projects at the Clinton Foundation, advising governments in the Asia-Pacific region on effective deployment of large-scale, low-emission energy technologies such as solar and CCS.

Prior to these roles, he spent 14 years working at Origin Energy in senior executive roles covering retail and LPG line management and corporate affairs. In 2008, he was seconded to provide an industry perspective to the first Garnaut review.

In January, 2018 Tony was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his significant service to conservation and the environment, particularly in the areas of energy policy, climate change and sustainability.