Minister for Transport & Planning

For Hon. Rita Saffioti BBus MLA was elected to State Parliament in 2008, and joined Mark McGowan’s Shadow Cabinet team in 2013. Following the Labor election victory in March 2017, she was appointed the Minister for Transport; Planning; Lands, giving her the opportunity to deliver to a more integrated approach to transport and land use planning, and responsibility for delivering important commitments including the METRONET project and planning for the future Outer Harbour. 

Speaker Topic: Conference opener.


Nutri-Tech Solutions

Author/Educator, Graeme Sait, is the co-founder of QLD Company, Nutri-Tech Solutions (NTS), a recognised world leader in sustainable agriculture/horticulture. Author of hundreds of articles and the popular book, ‘Nutrition Rules!’. Graeme travels the world educating and inspiring growers and often consults at a government level. In 2013 Graeme Sait was speaker at TEDxNoosa and talked about “Humus – the essential ingredient”. Watch TEDx Noosa Talk 

Speaker Topic: Introducing the topic of the Anthropocene, consequences and possible horticultural solutions and addressing food security in the 21st Century


Sundrop Farms

Managing Director Steve Marafiote of Sundrop Farms, a 20-hectare site at Port Augusta with a state-of-the-art greenhouse facility using renewable resources in production to create “a benefit for the environment and restoring ecosystems, rather than depleting them”. Steve Marafiote is a multi-award winner and former Director and CEO of multinational businesses in the produce and food industries.

Speaker Topic: The future of food growing.


Tucker Bush Plants

Mark has over 30 years’ experience in the horticultural industry; he founded Tucker Bush to promote a cultural shift towards a sustainable ecosystem, a secure and diverse food supply and happier, healthier humans. The Tucker Bush Schools Program gives young Australians the opportunity to grow and learn about native edible species that thrive in our soils and climate, helping them develop ‘nature smarts’ from an early age alongside their peers, and fostering an interest and passion for their food and environment.

Speaker Topic: Tucker Bush and Bindi Bindi Dreaming – a new partnership linking traditional foods.


University of Western Australia

Lyn Abbott is a researcher, author and educator in Perth, WA. Lyn is Emeritus Professor and Senior Honorary Research Fellow at University of Western Australia and has spent more than 30 years researching soil science and plant nutrition with an interest in soil organisms and their roles in natural ecosystems, as well as in agriculture/horticulture and disturbed environments such as minesites. She has held several senior positions in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, and written a book entitled “Soils Are Alive” a complete soil health reference for farmers, consultants and researchers.

Speaker Topic: New discoveries and understandings in soil science and what this means for humanity.


Curtin University

Peter Newman AO is an environmental scientist, author and educator in Perth, WA. Peter is Professor of Sustainability at Curtin University and has spent more than 40 years advocating for sustainability. He has held several senior positions in sustainability strategy, and also advising government on planning and transport issues. He has written a number of books about urbanism and sustainability, and was in 2018 awarded ‘Scientist of the Year’ in the 2018 Premier’s Science Awards. In 2014 he was awarded an Order of Australia for his contributions to urban design and sustainable transport, particularly related to the saving and rebuilding of Perth’s rail system.

Speaker Topic: Why humans need a daily dose of Biophilia and how we can get it through good urban design and horticulture.


University of Western Australia

Stephen Hopper a researcher, author and educator in Perth, WA. Stephen is a botanist, specialising in conservation biology and vascular plants. He has written eight books, and over 200 publications, and is the former CEO of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority in Perth. In 2012 he was awarded the highest civic honour in Australia as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Professor Hopper was made a Companion in the Order of Australia (AC), which is awarded for eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or humanity. In 2012 he was inducted into the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame as ‘an internationally acclaimed plant conservation biologist who has made an outstanding contribution to biodiversity preservation in Western Australia’.

Speaker Topic: New perspectives on revegetation of local area native plants in old infertile landscapes.


Benara Nurseries WA

Carole Fudge is the sales and marketing manager of Benara Nurseries in WA and panellist in the Hort Innovation Nursery Strategic Investment Advisory Panel. Benara Nurseries has been supplying top quality plants and trees to our gardens and urban environment for over 50 years. Working directly with local government, developers, landscape architects and the broader green industry Benara Nurseries is proud to be associated with making our cities more livable for future generations. We support the 202020 vision because parks and gardens are critical to our health and well-being, in our increasingly high density city living. It is vital that green spaces are available for city dwellers to reconnect with nature. 

Speaker Topic: Updates about the 202020 vision program on the eve of the year 2020 and information about the future program that is being mapped out now.


Curtin University

Professor Forrest is highly regarded across Perth and Western Australia for his commitment to Aboriginal education and advancement. In 2018 he was awarded the 2018 NAIDOC Perth Male Elder of the Year. Simon Forrest was born and raised in Whadjuk country (Perth). He has connections to country at Goomalling (Balardong), Swan Valley (Whadjuk), Mt Magnet (Badimaya) and Leonora (Wongutha). He trained as a primary school teacher and worked in schools in Aboriginal communities and rural towns. He has also worked in the public sector in senior managerial positions in education and curriculum and Indigenous affairs policy and implementation. Simon is WA’s longest serving Aboriginal academic having taught undergraduate and postgraduate students since 1983 at Edith Cowan University, The University of Western Australia, Curtin University and Michigan State University.

Speaker Topic: Welcome to Country.


Perth Natural Resource Management

Graham has worked in the agriculture food supply chain since 1980 assisting various sectors of the industry to manage risk; retain / improve market access; interpret and deal with regulation plus supply chain integration and education. He is a sessional lecturer in food safety, HACCP and systems risk management in Agribusiness programs with Curtin University in Western Australia. He has contributed to the development of the more practical Freshcare program for Horticulture since 2002, and delivered training for the Freshcare food safety and Freshcare environmental certification programs since they were developed. 


National Parks Board of Singapore

Jason Wright is the Director (Ag) of Design at the National Parks Board of Singapore, with more than 15 years of experience in landscape architecture and multi-disciplinary design practice. Jason has been involved in many inter-agency master plans and designs for parks, gardens, infrastructure and town planning. His recent work has included developing a therapeutic garden network, master planning a 14th century hill park in the Civic District of Singapore, and designing Singapore’s garden at the World Horticulture Expo in Beijing, China. 

His design approach is to extract the essence of a landscape and overlay these qualities with visitor’s aspirations and natural processes to transform regular spaces into desirable and liveable places. He holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from The University of Gloucestershire, and is an Accredited Landscape Architect in both the UK and Singapore.