Program subject to change

Sunday 12 September 2021


Welcome Reception - Novotel Hotel

Monday 13 September 2021


Registration Open - Sydney Showground Foyer


Official Open

Paul Jane - President, Parks & Leisure Australia


Keynote Session:

Jade Hameister OAM - Polar Explorer

9.30 am-10.15am

Keynote Session:

Curiosity distilled the strategy

Katherine Howard - Senior Consultant - Xyst


Morning Tea and Expo


  • Physical

    Applying GIS-based Methodology to Explore Spatial Behaviour Patterns of Adult Park Users in Suburban Neighbourhood Parks.

    Urmee Chowdhury- PhD Candidate,
    Tracy Washington, Lecturer and
    Debra Cushing, Associate Professor - Queensland University.

  • Health

    Optimal park (re)design for maximising adolescents' visitation, physical activity and social interaction in parks.

    Elise Rivera
    , PhD Candidate - Deakin University.

  • Socio-environmental

    Managing for biodiversity in an urban green space - mixing citizen science with adaptive management.

    Jennifer O'Meara - Parklands Ecologist, Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

  • Economic Benefits

    Health, Social and Economic Benefits of the National Aquatic Industry.

    RJ Houston, National Manager - Aquatics - Royal Life Saving - Australia,.


  • Physical

    Inherent Occupancy - Social Outcomes from Recreation Infrastructure.

    Neal Ames, Sport & Recreation Project Manager - Glenorchy City Council.

  • Health

    Healthy Parks - fantasy or necessity?

    Mark Bowater, Head of Parks Services, Auckland Council.

  • Socio-environmental

    Community Insights From The 2021 Australian Liveability Census.

    Maxime Boutaghou, Urban Research Associate, Place Score.

  • Economic Benefits

    Assets Issues and Opportunities - what have we learnt over the last 40 years?

    Denis Pontin, Managing Director - RMP & Associates.


  • Physical

    From golf course to nature reserve: Elsternwick Nature Reserve.

    Joel Dalberger, Senior Environmental Engineer and
    Miranda Wilkinson, Associate Director and Melbourne Co-Studio Leader, McGregor Coxall

  • Health

    Not Just a Bench… A Smart Social Space.

    Nancy Marshall, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Sydney.

  • Socio-environmental

    Implementation of Reconciliation Action Plan for the NSW Office of Sport.

    Karen Jones, Chief Executive - Office of Sport.

  • Economic Benefits

    Where community meets the Outdoors.

    Lori Modde, CEO, Outdoors NSW & ACT


Lunch and Expo


PLA Annual General Meeting


  • Physical

    Leadership - A Challenge during Uncertain Times.

    Simon Harrison, Manager Open Space Maintenance - Blacktown City Council.

    Ben Gibson, Managing Director - The Toolbox Team.

  • Health

    Mental Health eLearning Program: evidence-based, free, accessible and successful mental health program.

    Jeff Walkley, CEO/National Disability & Diversity Manager - Belgravia Foundation/Belgravia Leisure.

  • Socio-environmental

    Skyrail and the Underline; the maturing of Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project and Linear Park.

    Kirsten Bauer, Director and
    Adam Kiekebosch, Infrastructure Director - ASPECT Studios.

  • Economic Benefits

    Parkour - Reconnection Redefined.

    Mitchell Robinson, Vice President and
    Liam Richer, President - Australian Parkour Association.


  • Physical

    Investing in green spaces to create new and revitalised local parks across Melbourne.

    Damien Taylor, Manager - Local Parks Program - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

  • Health

    The ENJOY project: research outcomes and associated recommendations for improving the environment to promote physical activity for older people.

    Pazit Levinger, Senior Researcher - National Ageing Research Institute.

  • Socio-environmental

    Gum Trees - are they really 'widow makers'?

    Mark Corea, Unit Manager, Open Space Maintenance - Moreland City Council.

  • Economic Benefits

    Australia's First Dedicated UV-Smart, Cool Playground.

    Sebastian Pfautsch, Associate Professor for Urban Studies - Western Sydney University.


  • Physical

    Creating, Developing, Implementing and evaluating an 'Active' program, including through COVID.

    Rick Morris, Recreation Participation Officer - Maribyrnong City.

  • Health

    Pump Tracks and connecting communities through passive recreation.

    Liam Cole, Open Space Planner and
    David Wilcox, Director of Common Ground Trails - Wellington Shire Council.

  • Socio-environmental

    Growing a Healthier Future.

    Katie Denoon, Canopy Co-ordinator - Sutherland Shire Council.

  • Economic Benefits

    The Public Art Playground 2: A Case Study on Art Reconnecting Community.

    Mike Hewson, Designer - Mike Hewson.


Afternoon Tea and Expo


  • Physical

    Play in our Smart City Future

    Ryan Longford - Sales Manager, Lark Industries and
    Ieuan Hook, Director - Hook Consulting.

  • Health

    Inspirations Play Environments that provide Wow, Stay and Develop.

    Tobias Volbert - Landscape Architect / Play Consultant / Co-Founder, Urban Play / 7 Senses.

  • Socio-environmental

    Sydney's (park)lands and (wet)lands are becoming more multicultural receptive.

    Swapan Paul, Lead, Sydney Wetland Institute - Sydney Olympic Park Authority.

  • Economic Benefits

    What Type of Natural Turf Sports Ground Design & Construction Do I Need?.

    Grant Greenway, Director - Senior Turf Consultant, Endeavour Turf Professionals Pty Ltd (ETP Turf).


Keynote Session:

My New Normal

Andrew Leslie - Chief Executive, Recreation Aotearoa


Keynote Session:

Overcome Every Obstacle

Kurt Fearnley AO - Paralympic Gold Medallist


Happy Hour - Exhibition Area

Tuesday 14 September 2021


Registration Open - Sydney Showground Foyer


Morning Welcome


Q & A Keynote Session:

Cathy Freeman OAM, Olympic Gold Medallist


Keynote Session:

Sally Hamilton, Director, Environment and Planning - Sydney Olympic Park Authority


Keynote Session:

Robert Dalton, CEO of Sport Australia


Morning Tea and Expo


  • Physical

    Southland Regional Spaces and Places Strategy.

    Ben Bainbridge, Associate / PLA Advisory Group.

  • Health

    Proportionate universalism and systems thinking: Reducing health inequalities of communities.

    David Burns, CEO Collective Leisure, Director David Burns Consulting, Collective Leisure.

  • Socio-environmental

    The State of Local Government Urban Forestry Management.

    Belinda Bean, Collective Impact Strategist, Greener Spaces Better Places.

  • Economic Benefits

    Staying Connected with Communities and Staff: The key to economic sustainability post-COVID-19.

    Alex Simmons, State Manager - Sales and Customer Experience, Belgravia Leisure.


  • Physical

    PLA Advisory Workshop - How can PLA support members in responding to COVID-19 impacts and challenges.

    Ben Bainbridge, Associate / PLA Advisory Group, Otium Planning Group.

  • Health

    Blue - Green (Living) Infrastructure. Quantifying Plant and Soil Health in City of Hume.

    Matthew Daniel, CEO, Global Urban Forest.

  • Socio-environmental

    HOMIFY - Engagement led activation of local parks and public spaces in Sydney Olympic Park for social outcomes.

    Mantej Singh, Manager Community Engagement and Social Outcomes and
    Tony Nesbitt, Senior Manager, Place Activation and Strategy - Sydney Olympic Park.

  • Economic Benefits

    Assessing outcomes from community leisure experiences.

    John Tower, Honorary Research Fellow, Victoria University.


Lunch and Expo


  • Physical

    Guiding, Empowering and Supporting Sports Clubs Post COVID-19.

    Steve Pallas, CEO & Founder - Sports Community.

  • Health

    How can global Third Place Thinking be applied locally to the design of our sports and community facilities, and act to better reconnect our communities, tomorrow?

    Dion Gosling, Design Director, Sport + Recreation - dwp | Design Worldwide Partnership.

  • Socio-environmental

    Dog Off-Leash Areas - The Policy and Planning Imperative.

    Lesley Humphreys, Director, Paws4Play/LMHConsulting

  • Economic Benefits

    Increasing Sportsfield Durability while Achieving More with Less.

    Michael deLuca, Business Development Manager ANZ - Turf & Landscape - Syngenta Australia Pty LTD


  • Physical

    Activating the inactive through quality outdoor fitness spaces.

    Mark Chatman, Sales Manager - KOMPAN

  • Health

    Getting kids more active.

    Rob Walton, Managing Director - Accelerate Play Australia

  • Socio-environmental

    Green Adelaide.

    Kim Krebs, Manager Community Partnerships - Green Adelaide (Dept Environment & Water)

  • Economic Benefits

    A 'tug of war' between more parks or better greenspace: The dilemma of meeting 'community expectations' with limited resources.

    Chris Boulton, Founder & Managing Director - The CityGreen Lab Pty Ltd


Afternoon Tea and Expo


Keynote Session:

Honourable David Speirs, Minister for Environment and Water


Q & A Keynote Session:

Costa Georgiadis - Landscape Architect & Television Presenter


2022 Conference Announcement & Closure


Pre Dinner Drinks

Waterview Function Centre

6.30pm late

Awards of Excellence Gala Dinner

Waterview Function Centre

Wednesday 15 September

10.00am- 3.00pm

Technical Tours

Tour 1 - Murama, Wangal Walk and Newington Nature Reserve
Visit the Murama Healing Space where Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal understandings of place and connections to Country are shared and celebrated.

Tour 2 - Newington Armory & Newington Nature Reserve Woodlands and Brickpit
This heritage-focused experience will provide participants with a fascinating insight into the history, management and adaptive re-use of key heritage precincts across the park.

Tour 3 - Sydney Olympic Park Sporting Venues and Sports
Sydney Olympic Park offers a unique case study of successful urban development at a post Olympic site. The Park hosted over ten million visitors and 5000 events each year before the 2021 pandemic.

Tour 4 - Parklands & Playgrounds
This tour will explore the 640 hectares of Sydney Olympic Park on offer for our residents and visitors. With 3 major parklands precincts to visit this tour will take in the wide range of play spaces and community recreation facilities.

Tour 5 - Sustainability and Environment Management
The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was the catalyst for the largest land remediation project in the southern hemisphere. Today Sydney Olympic Park is a showpiece of ecologically sustainable development. Visit a number of case study sites across the park from the stadia precinct, new residential developments, through to the extensive parklands and wetlands.

More info

Key Dates

Registration flat fee

Until 8 September

Program Launch

Mid June

PLA 2021

12-15 September

Registration & Booking

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