Meet Our Speakers

Cath Bellchambers

Our Conference MC

With over 30 years in the Hospitality, Tourism, Training & Development industries, including 15 years mentoring and training in our Industry, our MC for this event knows and understands what it is to be a Queensland caravan park operator.

Bringing with her, plenty of enthusiasm and excitement, it is our pleasure to have Cath as our conference MC.

Adam Stephen

Adam Stephen is an Industry Workforce Advisor at QTIC, leveraging his extensive experience in tourism, hospitality, and events. With a background in small, medium, and large enterprises globally, Adam has held supervisory and management roles and has expertise in corporate recruitment, HR change management, and vocational education and training. He has successfully delivered regional and organisational workforce projects, utilising his skills in project coordination and management. As the Industry Workforce Advisor at QTIC, Adam shares his experiential learnings to support business operators in addressing workforce challenges and achieving their planning objectives, providing valuable insights and guidance to the industry.

Adam will also be hosting a not to be missed breakout session on The Future of Workforce Retention: Trends, Innovations, and Emerging Best Practice.

Adele Garnett

Adele is a Senior Associate in HopgoodGanim Lawyers' Workplace and Employment practice, specialising in healthcare and government sectors. With extensive experience in workplace investigations, award interpretation, enterprise agreement negotiation, policy and legislative interpretation, and more, Adele provides expert guidance to clients. She also handles employee misconduct, discrimination, sexual harassment, grievance and complaint management, performance management, and Modern Slavery statements and reporting. In 2022, Adele was recognised as a Doyle's Guide 'Employment and WHS Law Rising Star' in Queensland, acknowledging her as a future leading lawyer in employment, industrial relations, and workplace health and safety matters in the region.

Amy Gash

Amy Gash was born and raised on the Gold Coast. Her family are the current lease holders and custodians of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort and owner operators of Gold Coast based Air Charter company Seair Pacific. Since graduating from the University of Queensland with a degree in Hotel & Tourism Management, she has worked in all facets of the business building a solid foundation of knowledge to run and operator a remote island resort, notably obtaining her pilots license in 2019.  In 2022, Amy was awarded the Young Achiever Award for outstanding contribution to the Queensland Tourism Industry. Currently working as the General Manager Brand & Strategy, Amy hopes to encourage and motivate young people to pursue a career in tourism and continue to share the island’s conservation efforts with the world.

Angus Strachan

Angus Strachan is a Partner at BDO with over 15 years'experience in accountancy practice, specialising in the tourist park market.Known for his never-give-in attitude, technical expertise, and dedication toclients, Angus provides business improvement, structuring, financial modelling,and tax advisory services. He has a unique understanding of the Australiantourist park industry and is often sought after for media comment on theperformance of the industry. Angus is recognised for his work in statistical-basedresearch, benchmarking, and data analysis to inform industry decisions.

Ben Jones-Wilson

Ben Jones-Wilson is an Operations Manager for Ingenia Holidays and currently looks after all tourism properties from FNQ down to Northern NSW. Ben is the first point of contact for all the park managers within this region and assists the high-end strategic planning, marketing, and daily operations across all parts of the business. Acquisitions, due diligence, and group procurement are also parts of Ben’s role which he has been enjoying for the past 3.5 years. Ben is a passionate customer experience advocate with an extensive 35-year career across hospitality including mass catering, events, stadiums, theme parks, hotels, student accommodation, and casinos both in Australia and abroad.

Gayle O’Brien

Gayle is a highly experienced professional and the leader of the Tourism Division in the Queensland Department of Tourism, Innovation & Sport, overseeing the delivery of Towards Tourism 2032, Queensland's tourism industry strategy. As the champion for the industry, Gayle works closely with industry leaders, government agencies, and other stakeholders to bring the strategy to life and drive long-term growth and success for Queensland tourism. Gayle has led the development and implementation of various government strategies and programs, including COVID-19 recovery efforts, and has been instrumental in delivering support packages and initiatives to future-proof the tourism industry, totalling over $150 million.

James Sturges

James is a highly respected community leader in Ipswich with a strong background in leadership, technology, and community engagement skills. Currently, he is working on regional initiatives to develop community energy zones in collaboration with Planet Ark Power and other community leaders. James has held previous positions as General Manager of Llewellyn Motors Group and Chief Executive of the Ipswich Hospital Foundation. He currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Ipswich Girls Grammar School and is the Founder and Chair of Advancing Communities Australia, a health promotion charity. James is also a board member of Ipswich Arts Foundation Trust and participates in several other committees in Ipswich, including Regional Development Australia. With his reputation for implementing innovation across many sectors, James is harnessing his leadership, technology, and community engagement skills to decarbonize the grid, which is the basis of his role at Planet Ark Power.

John Christie

ModnPods was founded in 2015 by John Christie, a former elite Search and Rescue operator in the US Navy, where his responsibilities encompassed multiple strategic and tactical missions, and leading high-performance teams. John left the US Navy in 2014 to pursue his long-held vision to start his own business, which led him to Australia to complete his MBA and Master of Finance at Bond University on the Gold Coast. Driven by his sense of purpose and service-oriented vision, it was during this time that John founded ModnPods.  Originally formulated on a container model, ModnPods evolved into the architecturally designed, sustainability focused, prefabricated modular pods range that is attracting substantial interest from clientele throughout the holiday park and tourism industry.

Lachlan Farquharson

Lachlan Farquharson is a seasoned business leader with a strong focus on enhancing active living experiences for his customers. Over the past 20 years, he has successfully obtained over $500,000 in government grants to support his ventures. Currently, as the owner of Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park in the picturesque Atherton Tablelands, Lachlan has overseen a multimillion-dollar renovation of the park, including the addition of new villas, accessible amenities, and a splash pad. His dedication to creating memorable experiences for guests and contributing to the local tourism industry is unwavering.

Mark Halverson

Mark Halverson commenced as an operational Firefighter in 1986 before transitioning into functional roles in building fire safety within Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in 2012. He has been in his current position as Executive Manager, Fire Safety Section since June 2020.

Melissa James

Melissa James is the founder of Inclusive Tourism, a consultancy with a social purpose focused on advocating for accessibility in the tourism industry. With a decade of experience as a qualified access consultant, Melissa has worked with tourism operators, Destination Management organisations, and Councils on projects to implement change and increase accessibility in communities. She has developed and delivered educational programs and keynote addresses, raising awareness about the practical, economic, and social benefits of accessibility in the tourism sector. Melissa's personal experiences and expertise drive her crusade for inclusive tourism practices.

Dr Natasha Montesalvo

Dr. Natasha Montesalvo is a Principal Consultant at EarthCheck, a leading scientific benchmarking, certification, and advisory group for travel and tourism. She specialises in destinations, strategy, and insight, working with governments, regional tourism bodies, not-for-profits, and tourism businesses to promote sustainable development in the tourism industry. Natasha has been instrumental in leading EarthCheck's risk and resilience projects, helping businesses and governments understand the role of tourism in disaster management and empowering operators to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from disaster situations. Her expertise in strategy, insight, and risk management contributes to sustainable tourism practices worldwide.

Peter Clay

Peter is a tourism and research expert with over 25 years’ experience working across a range of sectors and organisations including the UNWTO, cruise, aviation, and destination development.  Working as General Manager for Insights at Caravan Industry Association of Australia, Peter also lectures at Monash University, is a PhD candidate, and currently sits on the THRIVE 2030 Industry Data and Expert Analysis Working Group.

Rob Comiskey

Robert Comiskey is a co-founder and Director of the Comiskey Group and a dad himself, among other things. With an Advanced Diploma of Architecture, Rob began his career in construction management for well-known franchise Subway. Rob joined his dad in 2004 to form the Comiskey Group; together, along with brother David, they have built numerous shopping and commercial centres, subdivisions, hotels and restaurants, residential dwellings and even expanded into childcare at one time. The Comiskey Group are Queensland’s most awarded hospitality group, well-known for being the name behind hugely successful entertainment venues, Eatons Hill Hotel and Sandstone Point Hotel, as well as the very popular, BIG4 Sandstone Point Holiday Resort. Most recently the group added The Doonan to their growing portfolio of hotel’s, just 8 minutes from Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. The Comiskey Group’s collection of businesses continues to grow and over the next couple of years the group’s portfolio will double in size with the opening of Aura Hotel, Strathpine Hotel, Dakabin Hotel and the activation of their brand new 150-hectare festival site on the Sunshine Coast, Coochin Fields. Rob takes the reigns on all things top-level management and is the leader of the day to day operations at the hotels and resorts. When Rob's not hard at work, he's taking his wife Carla and four kids to a new pub or resort, under the disguise of a holiday.

Robyn Mercer

Robyn has been leading the Noosa Holiday Parks program since September 2019. She has successfully managed capital works, business growth, branding development, contract evolution, facility management programs, sustainability initiatives, and strategic planning. Robyn is an active member of CPAQ, actively participating in Divisional Meetings, and Council Forum Meetings and making herself available to provide insight on industry issues.

Roger Walker

Roger Walker is Client Solutions Director at HFM, engineering division of the global organisation, BGIS. He has extensive experience in the commercial property, development, infrastructure and more recently energy and electrification industries, he has a known track record of strategic planning, operational improvement and environmental excellence, driving improved commercial outcomes.

His experience includes roles across all facets of operations, procurement, renewable energy, grid connections, grid supporting batteries , commercial management and project management for corporate clients inclusive of QIC, IKEA, Sydney Opera House, Qld Government, Westpac, GE Capital Real Estate, Rio Tinto, Local Government Super and many others, he recently worked with the National Caravan Industry Association on the electrification and energy submission to Treasury. Roger is the lead for the strategic partnership between HFM and the National Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

Meet our Naming Rights Sponsor

Bunnings Trade

Bunnings Trade are excited to announce for the third year to be both Preferred Suppliers and Naming Rights Sponsors at the upcoming Caravan Parks Association of Queensland Conference 2023.

We are proud of this mutually beneficial partnership with CPAQ and look forward to continuing this great relationship over the next financial year.

This year take the opportunity to engage with new commercial suppliers being showcased at the Bunnings Trade display, talk to a Bunnings representative about credit or account queries or lock in a time to discuss upcoming projects or take advantage of offers exclusive to the CPAQ Conference.

We look forward to attending the conference; spending time with the Caravanning & Holiday Park members and discussing further the ongoing benefits of the Bunnings Trade offer.

Contact Us

Questions about the CPAQ Conference?

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We look forward to welcoming you to RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast in May for the 2023 CPAQ Conference, proudly brought to you by Bunnings Trade!

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