Program and Speakers

The WorkCover WA Conference 2019 will delivers an inspiring and interactive program of local and interstate speakers.


The program explores current themes and trends in injury management and workers' compensation, providing delegates with an opportunity to learn about developments in workers' compensation and discover how to adapt to the inevitable change of tomorrow. Over two days, delegates will have the opportunity to choose from a range of sessions across two streams, catering for specific areas of interest.

Keynote speakers

Michael Crossland
Mr Michael Crossland

Mr Crossland is an inspirational speaker who has presented to over 270,000 people worldwide in the past 12 months.

Despite spending nearly a quarter of his life in hospital, Mr Crossland has forged a highly successful career in the corporate world, represented Australia in his chosen sport and been presented with the Australia Day Ambassador role for seven consecutive years. Mr Crossland will use his personal story to discuss the importance and power of courage, resilience, optimism and determination in achieving the impossible.

Niki Ellis
Professor Niki Ellis

Professor Ellis co-developed and presented Stressbuster, a four-part series for ABC Television that focused on stress in the workplace.

An expert in occupational health Professor Ellis advises companies large and small on how to address stress in the workplace. She was appointed as the Deputy CEO of the Australian Institute of Health Workforce Innovation at the University of Queensland and Visiting Professor London South Bank University.

Professor Ellis has also been appointed occupational health and safety expert commissioner on the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.

She will be presenting about occupational health with regards to changing the way work is organised and people are managed.

Nick Haslam
Professor Nick Haslam

Professor Haslam is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Melbourne. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 and taught at the New School for Social Research in New York City before returning to Australia in 2002.

His research interests are in the fields of personality, social psychology and psychiatric classification, and he has published 9 books and more than 200 articles and book chapters in these and related areas. In addition to his academic writing, Professor Haslam contributes regularly to The Conversation and Australian Book Review, and has also written for Time, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Monthly, and two Best Australian Science Writing anthologies.

Professor Haslam is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and of several professional organisations. He is currently a co-director of the Mental Health PhD program at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Haslam will be presenting on generation motivators in the workplace.

Mark McCrindle
Mr Mark McCrindle

Mr McCrindle is an award winning social researcher, TEDx speaker and principal of advisory, communications and research company McCrindle Research.

He is recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends, and has appeared across many television networks and other media.

Mr McCrindle is also the author of three books on emerging trends and social change, and has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Arts.

He will be presenting on changing times and emerging trends.

Theo Venter
Mr Theo Venter

Mr Venter is an inspirational speaker who has shared his story throughout Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

He suffered horrific injuries in a workplace accident whilst working as an electrical lines man, and endured a long physical and mental battle to survive and recover.

Mr Venter’s story is one of courage, determination and honesty, and his presentation will provide a worker's perspective about workplace injuries and the road to recovery.

Program speakers

Rika Asaoka
Ms Rika Asaoka

Ms Asaoka is a cultural expert, having lived and worked in Japan, Malaysia and Australia for over 30 years.

Since returning to Australia, she has established Language and Culture, an organisation that provides services in cultural awareness, cross cultural mentoring and specific language development for businesses.

Ms Asaoka will be presenting about intercultural competency and communication, the importance of cultural awareness, and how to manage challenges they present.

Petrina Barrett
Ms Petrina Barrett

Ms Barrett is a member of QBE's Behavioural Insights team, where she uses behavioural economics on a country-wide scale to help people injured at work and in motor vehicle accidents recover from their injuries.

She has experience in dispute resolution as a Registered Agent at WorkCover WA on behalf of QBE, and as a Technical Services Officer at QBE. Prior to that, Ms Barrett worked in exercise physiology in the Pilbara region.

Ms Barrett will be co-presenting with Ms Renae Harris from QBE, and examine the application of behavioural insights to workers' compensation.

Tim Blake
Mr Tim Blake

Mr Blake is the Managing Director of Semantic Consulting, a consulting firm focused on leading digital change in healthcare. In this role, Mr Blake helps organisations with digital health strategy, and advises digital health start-ups in Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a focus on personalised medicine.

Mr Blake has previously held roles as Chief Information Officer for the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services, Director of Rural eHealth Strategy at New South Wales Health, and Strategic Advisor at Australia’s National eHealth Transition Authority and the Commonwealth Department of Health.

His presentation will focus on healthcare reformation, and how physiotherapy can harness digital health to deliver better outcomes for patients.

David Colvin
Mr David Colvin

Mr Colvin is an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in shoulder and knee surgery. He practices at Western Orthopaedic Clinic and St John of God Hospital, Subiaco.

Mr Colvin is also an Approved Medical Specialist with WorkCover WA and has previously served on WorkCover WA's Medical Advisory Committee. He has nearly 20 years of experience treating workers' compensation shoulder and knee injuries.

Mr Colvin will be presenting about degenerative injuries in the workplace and the challenges they present to parties involved in a workers' compensation claim.

Sue Freeman
Ms Sue Freeman

Ms Freeman is a Senior Consultant at Finity Actuarial and Insurance Consultants with over 25 years’ experience working in personal injury claims practice and policy.

She has a background in psychology and rehabilitation, and has worked for providers, insurers and scheme regulators.

Ms Freeman was a co-author of the Green Paper on Mental Health and Insurance published by the Actuaries Institute in October 2017, and has a particular interest in improving the assessment and management of mental health claims.

Ms Freeman's work has included:

  • strategic reviews of claims operations, including injury management and dispute resolution models
  • claim leakage reviews
  • benchmarking against best practice principles
  • targeted reviews of high cost workers' compensation claims, and
  • psychological injury claims.

She will be presenting on common causes of poor claim outcomes and how to prevent them.

Andrew Fronsko
Dr Andrew Fronsko

Dr Fronsko is the Director of the ADIIS Group, which provides consulting services to organisations involved in the personal injury and disability insurance sectors. He has over 20 years of experience in executive management roles within injury compensation schemes across Australia in areas including accident prevention, underwriting, claims administration, risk management and business intelligence.

Prior to establishing the ADIIS Group, Dr Fronsko was the General Manager of the Northern Territory Motor Accidents Compensation Scheme, and he has previously overseen the Victorian workers’ compensation scheme through the Department of Treasury and Finance. He was also instrumental in the conceptual design of Australia's National Injury and Disability Insurance Schemes (NIIS and NDIS).

Dr Fronsko will be presenting about the evolution of the Western Australian workers' compensation scheme, current and future challenges.

Renae Harris
Ms Renae Harris

Ms Harris is the Team Leader of QBE's Behavioural Insights Team, which blends behavioural economics and health sciences to empower customers to make better decisions and influence positive change. Under Ms Harris' leadership, the team has successfully partnered with Monash University's BehaviourWorks Australia to analyse how to best help people recover from injury.

She has previously worked in workers' compensation case management, service management, learning development and leadership development coaching at QBE.

Ms Harris will be co-presenting with Ms Petrina Barrett from QBE, and examine the application of behavioural insights to workers' compensation.

Joanna Horton
Ms Joanna Horton

Ms Horton is a Research Analyst for the Data61 Insight Team at CSIRO, and has a background in social science and a specialisation in anthropology. She has a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago, and has conducted and contributed to anthropological research projects in Chile, Australia and the US.

Ms Horton will be presenting about her most recent work with CSIRO published earlier this year, which focuses on the future of work health and safety and workers' compensation in Australia over the coming 20 years.

Kim McClean
Ms Kim McClean

Ms McClean is the Work Health and Safety Manager for the WA Country Health Service.

She is also currently completing a PhD examining the manual handling risks to nursing staff who manage obese patients.

Ms McClean will present about obesity and the risk management challenges it presents in the workplace.

Tim Mitchell
Dr Tim Mitchell

Dr Mitchell is a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and Director at Pain Options, which is a physiotherapy clinic focused on complex pain and complicated problems. He is also a Senior Lecturer at Curtin University, where he is involved in clinical teaching and research.

Dr Mitchell's clinical work includes the ongoing care of patients, as well as provision of second opinions on more complicated cases.

He has completed a PhD in lower back pain, and has a special interest in the translation of logical reasoning into clinical practice.

Dr Mitchell will be presenting on research into the uptake of clinical practice guidelines in the workers' compensation sector.

Rodney Powell
Mr Rodney Powell

Mr Powell is a Senior Inspector and Senior Scientific Officer within the WorkSafe Division of the Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety with a specialty in human factors and ergonomics.

He has worked in the occupational safety and health industry for more than 30 years, and dealt with general occupational safety and health issues, civil construction, musculoskeletal disorders, violence and aggression, and stress and bullying.

Mr Powell will present on the future of risk management and the changing concept of hazards in the workplace.

More speaker announcements to come. Keep an eye on this page.