University events


Resilience in built environments is important now more than ever.

The climate crisis and global pandemic asks us not only how we can overcome chaos, but how can we plan for and design a more resilient society through sustainable development.

The University’s leadership within our communities was clear throughout our management of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic raged across the globe yet, at a local level, disaster management had been the response setting for Australia since October 2019 as bushfires ravaged our country. It is against this backdrop that our regions’ capabilities to manage and lead through unforeseen and rapid change has helped us respond and adapt to the needs of all communities.

Join Resilience NSW Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who has lead NSW through some of its darkest times. Together with City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Cr Nuatali Nelmes and a panel of experts, Commissioner Fitzsimmons will lead the discussion on sustainable development issues, disaster response, built design and policy directions both within our direct communities and in our neighbouring regions - locally and globally.

This event is co-presented with City of Newcastle and forms part of the University of Newcastle's School of Architecture and Built Environment Annual Building Resilience Exhibition.

  • Date: Wednesday 21 April 2021
  • Time: 7pm-8.30pm
  • Location: City of Newcastle Concert Hall (limited spaces) and online

Register to attend

Keynote speaker

Shane Fitzsimmons

Shane Fitzsimmons

Commissioner for Resilience NSW

Commissioner Fitzsimmons was appointed Resilience NSW's inaugural Commissioner and Deputy Secretary Emergency Management in May of 2020. He chairs the State Emergency Management Committee, the State Recovery Committee and National Emergency Medal Committee. The appointment to Resilience NSW follows a distinguished career with the NSW Rural Fire Service as well as council and director roles across state and national emergency management authorities.

Commissioner Fitzsimmons' career has been acknowledged with the NSW Rural Fire Service Long-Service Medal, recognising 30 years of service; the National Medal, recognising more than 35 years of service; and the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM). He is also a Paul Harris Fellow and holds a Paul Harris Fellow Sapphire through the Rotary Clubs of Berowra and Sydney.

MC and Panel Convenor

Cr Nuatali Nelmes

Cr Nuatali Nelmes

Lord Mayor of Newcastle

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes has served the City of Newcastle for six years. Previously, the Lord Mayor served as a Councillor for six years from 2008. During her time as Councillor she also worked on community climate adaptions programs with the United Workers Union. Nuatali has continued to build on her first term success that delivered progressive financial sustainability while protecting local jobs and services, creating momentum for positive change through consistent hard work, stability and collaboration.

Nuatali holds a Bachelor of Business with a double major in Industrial Relations/ Human Resource Management and Marketing from the University of Newcastle and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Harvard Bloomberg Leadership Initiative. She worked in small business and recruitment before being elected to Council in 2008.

Panel members

Willow Forsyth

Willow Forsyth

PhD Scholar
School of Architecture and Built Environment, College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Willow Forsyth is currently a scholarship PhD candidate in the School of Architecture and Built Environment. Her research looks into factors motivating household flood preparedness and focuses on improving the information available to emergency managers to tailor education approaches. She is an experienced consultant and technical writer for strategic reviews of resilience infrastructure.

Associate Professor Thayaparan Gajendran

School of Architecture and Built Environment, College of Engineering, Science and Environment Construction Management

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.