NSW/ACT Regional Council

Annette Stafford - Councillor

Annette has approximately 30 years' experience as a Recreation Planner in Local Government at Blacktown and Fairfield City Councils. She has experience in community consultation, planning for playground, sporting fields and shared path developments, funding programs and advocacy for healthy communities.

She recently retired from Blacktown City Council and has remained on the NSW/ACT Regional Committee to stay in touch with an industry she is passionate about. Annette's qualifications include a BA in Social Science and Certificates in Travel and Tourism.

Phone 0407273322

John Siemon - Councillor

Botanic Gardens Greater Sydney

John is a Horticultural Scientist who has worked for CSIRO, the University of Sydney. He has undertaken research in areas of plant physiology, plant breeding, tissue culture and germplasm conservation. John's focus has varied across different horticultural and agricultural crops from tomatoes to rice, macadamia and threatened species and ecological communities. For the last 19 years John has worked for the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. From 2014 to 2019 John was the Curator Manager of the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan where he was instrumental in building the Australian PlantBank. In 2020 John was appointed Director of Horticulture for Botanic Gardens Greater Sydney leading Horticultural operations across 750 hectares of greenspace including the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, The Domain, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah and the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

Phone 0409 771 422

Ian McAlister - Councillor

Dubbo Regional Council

Ian has worked in the local government sphere for the past 30 years and currently holds the position of Manager Recreation and Open Space at Dubbo Regional Council. This position crosses a number of disciplines including asset management of parks, sporting facilities and natural resource management, strategic planning to meet the changing needs of the community, management of aquatic leisure centres, street tree management and project management.

As a strong advocate for the need of a connected park network to promote human health and well-being Ian has consistently pushed the discussion on the need for long term planning for the integration of Green and Grey Infrastructure to achieve intergeneration benefits to the Dubbo community.

Phone 02 6801 4000

Mark Taylor - Councillor

Liverpool City Council

Mark is a recreation manager, landscape architect and recreation planner with over 25 years working in community and park management at a senior level in local and State Government. Mark has been a long term advocate for regional planning and partnerships between the community, Councils and the State Government to deliver better recreation services and facilities.

I first attended the National Parks & Leisure Australia, Conference in Sydney 2001, knowing little of the organisation; I found it complemented my views of what the leisure industry should represent. It sparked my interest in recreation planning and a holistic approach to park management.

Being involved with Parks & Leisure Australia, Mark has seen the professionalism of the sector grow and mature. Mark was the NSW State President of Parks & Leisure Australia NSW Region from 2005 to 2008 and during this time established the model for the NSW State Conference Program. The industry and PLA has grown immensely in this time.

Currently Mark is the Community Planning Policy Officer Social Infrastructure at Liverpool City Council.

Phone 02 8757 9866

Simon James - Councillor

City of Ryde

Simon James has over 20 years' experience as a Sport Administrator, working in State and Local Government organisations and including a stint in the University Sector. Working for the Sydney Olympic Organising Committee and at the Australian Masters Games, Simon has experience in managing the use of recreation facilities for all levels of sport. Simon has also been a committee member in a number of community sporting organisations and has developed a strong understanding of the competing demands and pressures across the industry in relation to the use of sports facilities. His experience in developing and managing community facilities, and a knowledge of the objectives of policy makers gives him a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities there are for organisations to align their agenda's and achieve better outcomes.

Phone 02 99528092

Katrien Pickles - Councillor

Katrien is a doctoral candidate at the University of Newcastle and has over 10 years of experience in family support and community development roles. She has also been an AUSTSWIM licensed swim teacher since 2009. Through her work with families in Sydney, Newcastle and Wagga Wagga, she became aware of how valuable public spaces for play are to the well-being of families. Her doctoral research contributes to a gap in our understanding of how children and adult caregivers influence and adapt their environments to suit their developmental needs. The findings from her research align with the recently released PLA Health and Well-being position paper and offer a complimentary perspective on family well-being that can be incorporated into playground and built environment strategies.

Phone 0478 280 342

Heather Nesbitt - Councillor

Thought Leader, Strategic Planning Advisor and Social Innovation Consultant

Heather's most recent role was as Social Commissioner, Greater Sydney Commission where she drove an agenda to deliver inclusive, connected and equitable communities through innovative urban planning processes, collaborations and partnerships across Greater Sydney.

Her areas of expertise are social infrastructure; public open space/recreation; stakeholder engagement; arts/creative industries; smart city strategies; health and active living; skills/education and social housing. With over 30 years experience nationally working with government, private sector, non-profits and local communities, Heather is a Fellow Planning Institute of Australia, Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors and Non-Executive Director Wentworth HealthCare.

Heather is keen to contribute towards the further growth and development of PLA NSW/ACT particularly in its partnerships with government, private sector and broad community. She is also keen to advocate for greater recognition of the benefits of high quality public recreation/social infrastructure to the health and quality of life of all.

Phone 0457 504 147

Fiona Tucker - Councillor

Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Fiona has over 20 years experience in the development and delivery of natural and cultural heritage focused visitor experiences. In her role as Manager Visitor Programs for Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Fiona leads a strongly customer service focused team of Park Rangers and Interpretive Program Officers.

In creating and delivering visitor experiences, Fiona places emphasis on not only exceeding customers expectations, but also on ensuring each connection includes an opportunity to provoke thought about the heritage and conservation values of the Park.

Fiona has experience in leading volunteers who facilitate youth leadership programs for girls and young women though her volunteer role of District Manager with Guides NSW & ACT.

Fiona's qualifications include Bachelor of Science, Graduate Diploma of Education and Certificates in Assessment and Workplace Training and Graphic Design and Flatwater Kayaking Instruction!

Phone 02 9714 7918

Debbie Sibbick - Councillor

Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council

Debbie has worked in the Parks and Recreation sector of local government for over 20 years, being heavily involved in recreational infrastructure planning and project management, community consultation, and heritage places management. She is known for her services to community engagement, working with the community to achieve outstanding recreational infrastructure. Numerous awards for projects that Debbie has been involved with include the multi-award winning Queen Elizabeth Park Queanbeyan, Sensory Gardens at Roy Morton Park Queanbeyan, and the All Abilities Playground Apex Park Queanbeyan. Debbie strives to engage with the community and to provide positive outcomes for all but in particular, providing outlets for recreational pursuits for the lesser advantaged in the community.

Her passion is healthy living and encouraging the community to engage with the great outdoors. Debbie is also passionate about heritage and management of heritage items and places. Debbie also has a number of years' experience working with the National Trust of Australia (NSW) managing a heritage property in Goulburn, using local resources and volunteers to transform a hidden gem into a thriving and prosperous heritage item.

Debbie has tertiary qualifications in Parks, Recreation and Heritage, and Business and People Management, providing her with skills and knowledge to complement her years of experience in property and land management. Debbie is keen to be part of the management of open spaces, for use by future generations.

Phone: 02 6285 6145

Ben Chan - Councillor

ActiveXchange/Generate Network (AUS)

Ben comes with a wide-range of experiences from a football coach, to a consultant, to a digital project manager - the right mix of involvement in the sport and leisure sector along with the digital and data background to provide the necessary voice and insights to the industry.

Ben is currently the project manager and client success manager at ActiveXchange, leading the data and analytics push for the Sport and Leisure industry to create a more informed and connected sector. Ben sees huge potential for the industry to continue to grow with the data that's available that will allow organisations to make better decisions, to find the right investments at the right time, with the right people and the right message.

Ben is also an executive committee member of the PLA Generate Network that focuses on providing a launch pad for young professionals and emerging leaders within the industry. This will open up the industry, help engage and educate the next generation, allow them to have a voice, network and opportunities to develop their careers and overall, continue to help build a stronger and more connected industry.

Phone: 0426768273

Les Munn - Immediate Past President

Les Munn has been a member of PLA since its inception in 1998. Prior to that , he was a member of The Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation for 16 years. Currently on the NSW/ACT Regional Council , Les is the immediate past president having served 7 years in that role . He also is a member of the National Board of PLA and has held the position of National Vice President for the past 3 years.

Les worked in the horticulture/recreation industry for over 35 years and was employed in Local Government serving terms with five separate councils across Sydney as a Parks and Recreation Manager. During his career, Les managed major venues such as Brookvale Oval and North Sydney Oval and Project Managed the construction of numerous major playground facilities, skate parks, synthetic playing fields and community centres.

He has qualifications in Design, Horticulture, Arboriculture, Management and Project Management.

He is a strong supporter of commercial use of public open space as a means of providing the necessary funding assistance for ongoing maintenance and improvement works, as well as improving the recreational experiences for the community.

Phone 0419013950

Fiona MacColl - President

Office of Sport

Fiona is a long-time member of PLA with several decades working in the industry, having been employed by private industry, Federal, State and Local Government. Fiona is currently the Principal Advisor, Facilities, Strategy and Planning at the NSW Office of Sport. Her passion is developing evidence based planning for public open spaces and sports facilities for current and future generations from grass roots through to elite sports. Fiona's qualifications include: Bachelor in Landscape Architecture, Advanced Certificate Horticulture, Masters in Management, and a Masters in Planning.

Phone 0400 121396

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