“Rethinking Crises – Achieving Resilience in a Post-COVID world”

IPAA Queensland Challenger Seminar Series 2022



Crises and disasters have punctuated the work of public service and public purpose organisations, particularly in the past few years.

Events such as the bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and recent floods across Queensland and New South Wales, have required adaptive responses from governments at all levels, and have at times required unprecedented policy decisions.

Public purpose organisations have stretched their capacities beyond previous bounds to serve their customers and communities across Queensland (indeed the world) and have continued to see their resilience and compliance tested.

With these and world events in mind, this thought leadership event asks us to consider:

  • What have we learned from governments’ abilities to respond to frequent and concurrent crises?
  • What does this mean for how we collaborate, coordinate, and integrate services within and across sectors, jurisdictions, regions and more broadly?
  • Are ‘multi’ crises or ‘poly’ crises just the new normal? What is the future of crisis management?
  • Is there a new key capability for all public purpose leaders and organisations?

This event will promote critical reflection with experts who have been on the frontline and are engaged in local and global discussion about the experience of frequent and severe crises and the intersection with economic, health, security, and other threats. It will ask – what is the capacity for our institutions, systems, networks, and relationships to cope? Does a new conversation need to be had with the community about preparedness given the deep uncertainly that characterises the post-pandemic world?


IPAA Queensland is delighted to host a diverse panel of experts who will bring a wealth of experience and perspectives to this challenging conversation.

  • Alistair Dawson, Inspector-General of Emergency Management (IGEM)
  • Professor Cheryl Desha, Queensland Disaster Management Research Alliance, Griffith University
  • Collin Sivalingum, State Emergency Services Manager, Red Cross
  • Associate Professor Alastair Stark, School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland

This event will be moderated by Dr Anne Tiernan, Constellation Impact Advisory & Griffith University.

This is a must-attend for those seeking to embed the lessons of recent experience and the latest research in strengthening and enhancing crisis capability for organisations and communities.


Date:  Wednesday 14 September 2022
Time:  10am -11.30am followed by networking lunch
Place: Level 41, 1 William Street, Brisbane
Price: Free for individual members
$40 Organisational Members
$65 Non-members


‘The Inspector-General’ – Alistair Dawson
On 6 February 2020, Alistair was appointed Queensland’s Inspector-General of Emergency Management. Alistair has a keen passion for disaster management, working with our key partners to drive continuous improvement in Queensland’s disaster preparedness, planning, response and recovery. He brings over 40 years’ policing experience in both London and Queensland to the role as Inspector-General. More than 38 years of Alistair’s career in police and emergency management, has been spent right here in Queensland.

Alistair started as a general duties police officer in Brisbane in 1982 and went on to become one Queensland’s most senior police officers, serving as an Inspector in the CHOGM group, Chief Superintendent at the G20 Group, Police Commander for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He was appointed Assistant Commissioner for the Operations Support Command in 2013, Assistant Commissioner for the Central Region in 2015 and Assistant Commissioner for People Capability Command in 2018. As a former Chair of the State Disaster Coordination Group, Alistair has played a lead role in coordinating the whole of government response to several complex disaster events across the State.

Alistair holds a Master of Business Administration, an Executive Master Public Administration, a Graduate Diploma of Executive Leadership and a Diploma of Public Safety (Police Search and Rescue Coordination). Alistair is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a graduate of the Leadership in Counter Terrorism (LinCT) Program. In 2010, he was awarded the Australian Police Medal, Alistair also has been awarded the National Emergency Medal for Queensland 2010-2011 and a bar for TC Debbie 2017.

In 2021, Alistair was appointed as an Adjunct Professor within the Centre for Environment and Population Health, School of Medicine and Dentistry at Griffith University.

As Queensland’s Inspector-General of Emergency Management, Alistair is committed to working with the disaster management sector to ensure ongoing co-design, collaboration and cooperation between local, state, interstate and federal agencies.

‘The Engineer’ – Professor Cheryl Desha
Cheryl Desha is Professor and Theme Leader for the Cities Research Institute’s ‘Digital Earth and Resilient Infrastructure’ research agenda (12 academics, 13 PhD candidates), and Engagement Director (Industry) for the School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith University. She also co-leads Queensland’s Disaster Management Research Alliance of seven universities. Cheryl was awarded Engineers Australia’s Queensland’s Professional Engineer of the Year in 2021 and in 2020 was awarded the Queensland Government’s Individual Champion of Change Award by the Inspector General Emergency Management.

With the reality that “everything is connected and ‘where’ is critical to thriving, now and into the future”, Cheryl is working towards resilient and regenerative cities through enabling evidence-based decision-making that is locally relevant. This involves industry and government partnerships to deliver right-time and right-place decision support, within the context of disaster management.

Cheryl’s research journey has been inspired by the Cynefin Framework approach to decision making (by David Snowden), and Socio-technical Transition Theory (by Frank Geels). She also draws upon her technical training in nature-inspired (biomimetic), nature-loving (biophilic) and place-based (digital-spatial) design.

Cheryl is a Fellow and Chartered Member of Engineers Australia (FIEAust CPEng NER EngExec), and is a member of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI). She is a Council member of the International Society of Digital Earth (ISDE) where she co-leads Working Group 2 ‘Industry Partnerships’. She is an Advisory Board member of the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM), where she sits on the Disasters and Private Sector Network working groups.

‘The Communities Professional’ – Collin Sivalingum
Collin Sivalingum is State Emergency Services Manager, Red Cross Queensland. He is a trained member of the International Federation of Red Cross – Field Assessment Coordinating Team, responsible for field assessment to determine response and recovery strategy after a disaster. He is also a Preparedness for Effective Response facilitator for the International Federation of Red Cross.

Collin has extensive management consultancy and project management experience and has worked in most countries in Africa and all countries in Sub-Sahara Africa and parts of Europe including humanitarian and aid work with highly displaced communities. Colin is an Incident Commander for Red Cross Emergency Operations, as well as a Board Member for CASSI – a disability support organisation that supports clients in Queensland and New South Wales; is a founding member and President of Woodlands Community Inc; and is Chair of the National Taskforce for Creative Recovery.

‘The Political Scientist’ – Associate Professor Alastair Stark
Alastair Stark is an Associate Professor in Public Policy at the University of Queensland and the Director of the School of Political Science’s Graduate Centre. Alastair specialises in the study of crisis and disaster management. He is the author of two books – Risk and Crisis Management in the Public Sector and Public Inquiries, Policy Learning and the Threat of Future Crises and has published over 30 articles on a variety of issues including the role of parliaments during crises, pre-crisis planning, crisis coordination, resilience, community participation and lesson learning. Alastair’s current research projects include an Australian Research Council project examining institutional amnesia in the public services of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and a Queensland specific project exploring blockages to lesson learning in the disaster management space.


Dr Anne Tiernan is one of Australia’s leading political scientists. Her research focuses on the work of governing. Dr Tiernan has published extensively in Australia and internationally, including most recently The Oxford Handbook of Australian Politics (co-edited with Professor Jenny Lewis, 2021).

Anne’s career at the interface of strategy, research, appointments policy and practice has been devoted to improving public policy and public purpose outcomes. Now Managing Director of mission-led consultancy firm Constellation Impact Advisory, Anne consults regularly to organisations committed to purpose and positive impact. An Adjunct Professor with Griffith University, and previously a member of the University’s senior leadership team, Anne served as inaugural Dean (Engagement) of the Griffith Business School,

Anne is a National Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia, and a Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and has held a range of Board appointments.


This event is made possible with the support of our sponsor