Thought leaders unite to kick off Victoria Summit 2021

Prosperity, capability, and liveability are some of the themes at the centre of the Victoria Summit 2021, which officially kicks off today with the first meeting of a reference group of some of our state’s best and brightest minds, spanning business, the community, unions, educational institutions and government.

Together, the reference group will look forward and lay the foundations of the Summit, which will map out the state’s future following a year of devastating social and economic disruption.

The Summit will operate from March to November, highlighted by a Vision Day and Pathways Day, featuring keynote speakers and working groups, culminating in a final report to be launched in December. The events will be held in-person (subject to COVID-19 restrictions) and will be open to the public with virtual engagement options. Places will be limited due to capacity constraints.

Chaired by Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra, the Victoria Summit 2021 Reference Group will provide overarching strategic advice on scope, planning, implementation, engagement and activity. The invitation-only working groups will develop and refine the Summit’s vision, pathways and actions using data and insights from Summit days and online public engagement.

Facilitated by the Victorian Chamber, participants will take part in ongoing in-person and online engagement throughout the year, via website discussion boards, surveys and email forms.

The collaboration with all sectors will define a bold vision for the state for the next 10, 20 and 30 years, and a pathway that ensures Victoria is the best place to live, work and do business​.


To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive & Chair of the Victoria Summit 2021 Reference Group, Paul Guerra:

“This will not be a talkfest. We will run Victoria Summit 2021 in a disciplined and highly organised manner to drive real, tangible outcomes and policy for the state. 

“We can all play a role in the growth and prosperity of Victoria. We are confident that by bringing together thought leaders from business, the community, unions, educational institutions and government, that we can define a bold vision for the state and its recovery, and a plan that ensures Victoria remains the best place in the Asia Pacific to live, work and operate a business.

“In facilitating the Victoria Summit 2021, the Chamber is dedicated to ensuring it is as inclusive as possible and that it is accessible for all businesses across the state – from our suburbs, regions and the CBD.

“We are excited about this agenda-shaping summit and can’t wait to see the outcomes.”


To be attributed to Victoria Summit 2021 Reference Group members: 

Sidekicker Chief Executive Officer, Tom Amos

“As a passionate Victorian I am pleased to play a very small part in helping shape the long-term vision for Victoria. Having worked directly with the Victorian Government during COVID-19 to help connect thousands of displaced workers with business, I have seen firsthand what can be achieved when the private and public sectors work together.”

Australian Football League Executive General Manager – Finance, Broadcasting and Clubs, Travis Auld

“Victoria is arguably the country’s sporting and entertainment heartbeat, with incredible hospitality options from the CBD to the regions. And it’s home.”

Port of Melbourne Chief Executive Officer, Brendan Bourke

“The Victorian economy and employment levels need to grow over time and my participation in the Victoria Summit Reference Group can help to align how port investment and growth can enhance economic performance.”

The Brotherhood of St Laurence Acting Executive Director, Dr Lucia Boxelaar

“BSL’s focus is to ensure that Victoria’s social and economic recovery is inclusive of addressing the inequalities that COVID-19 has exposed, so that people from disadvantaged backgrounds are not left behind. Contributing to the design of the Victoria Summit through the Reference Group provides a great opportunity to ensure these issues are front of mind and that we use levers at hand to level the uneven playing field.”

Wine Victoria Chair, Angie Bradbury

“The development of a prosperous, long-term future for Victoria will require collaboration and involvement from all aspects of society and I am proud to be adding the wine sector’s voice to this initiative.”

Delaware North Managing Director, Gary Brown

“I’m thrilled to be involved in the Victoria Summit, because now more than ever, it’s imperative we all band together to secure a strong future for Victoria as we rebound from the pandemic.”

Youth Affairs Council of Victoria Chief Executive Officer, Katherine Ellis

“Victoria is an incredibly dynamic, progressive place to live and work, and I’m excited to play a role in the Victoria Summit 2021 to make sure young people’s unique perspectives are included and heard in the vision for an even better future.”

Dreamtime Art & Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Board – Director, Matt Everitt

“This summit is a platform to converse and invest into an equitable future based on shared experiences with the goal to advance Aboriginal economic and employment development.”

Holmesglen Institute Chief Executive, Mary Faraone
“I am pleased to be part of the Victoria Summit Reference Group to discuss strategies and initiatives that will support the recovery and rebuilding of the Victorian economy, in particular the role of education and training in strengthening social inclusion and social cohesion in our communities.”

University of Melbourne and Monash Professor of Law and Economics, Allan Fels AO

“I am especially passionate about the Victorian future of mental health and wellbeing in Victoria in light of the report of the Royal Commission into Mental Health.”

Sustainability Victoria Chief Executive Officer, Claire Ferres Miles

“A partnership between the public and private sectors is critical to deliver a decade of action – to achieve an economically prosperity, socially justice transition towards zero net emissions for all Victorians.”

Peter Doherty Institute Executive Officer, Andrea Fischer

“I am excited to be involved in the Victoria Summit, representing two sectors, biomedical research and public health, which I believe are critical to the growth and prosperity of Victoria.”

Herald and Weekly Times Chairman, Penny Fowler 

“There is no doubt the past twelve months have tested all Victorians in ways we never thought possible. For me, I learned with every challenge comes an opportunity to reflect on what is most important. The Victoria Summit is our opportunity to work together and boldly redefine what it means to be Victorian, who we want to become and the pathways to achieve our vision.”    

Bastion Reputation Management Chief Executive Officer, Clare Gleghorn

“I genuinely feel we have a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring together business, government, the community, and workers to shape our city and our state and become a global destination of choice.”

Epworth HealthCare Group Chief Executive, Dr Lachlan Henderson

“It’s an exciting and challenging time for health services in Victoria. The close collaboration between the public and private sector during the pandemic should be a blueprint for future


Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary, Luke Hilakari 

“As we recover from the global pandemic, workers and their families must be front and centre to ensure we create a fairer, more equitable Victoria for all.”

Dow Chemical Operations Director, Justin Jones

“I’m excited to be part of the Victoria Summit 2021 Reference Group as it provides a great opportunity to help develop a more broad and sustainable economy for the long-term benefit of all Victorians and Australia.”

Sussex Taps Director, Vanessa Katsanevakis

“I believe the future resilience of our state relies on the actions we take today, which is why I’m thrilled to join the Victoria Summit 2021 Reference Group to explore how we can help businesses embrace the opportunity to be both sustainable and profitable.”

Stanton and Killeen Wines Chief Executive Officer, Wendy Killeen

“I am excited to be a part of the Victoria Summit 2021 as I believe I am able to share issues facing our regional business communities and work through solutions.”

Victorian Council of Social Service Chief Executive Officer, Emma King

“I’m excited because Victoria has the capacity to be stronger and fairer, and regarded as the national capital of wellbeing; a place where everybody is supported to thrive.”

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Chief Executive, Peter King

“I see the MCEC as a major agent to fast track economic and employment activity back into the state and the Melbourne CBD. We can play a big part in the reinvigoration of the visitor economy in particular, and provide the place where the community can gather to learn, network and be entertained.”

Environment Victoria Chief Executive, Jonathan La Nauze

“Victoria is one of the most liveable, loveable places on the planet and in the face of accelerating climate change we must pull together to ensure that remains the case.”

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Iain Martin

“Ensuring that Victoria emerges from the pandemic as strongly as possible is critical for all of us: we want to not only regain what has been lost but ensure we learn from the last 12 months to make us stronger and more resilient.” 

Westpac Vic/Tas – State General Manager & Bank of Melbourne – Chief Executive, Mark Melvin 

“Westpac and Bank of Melbourne have a shared mission with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to support business within our Victorian communities, now and into the future. It is this common ground that has brought us together to help recover and rebuild following a difficult landscape for our state.”

Aware Super Chief of Staff, Debra Mika
“With over 400,000 Aware Super members in the Victorian Health, Education and Public sectors, we are keenly aware of the economic and social impacts of the pandemic particularly in Victoria, and this is a great opportunity to contribute to a pathway for Victoria’s recovery, the future success of our economy and the wellbeing of our communities.”

KPMG Victorian Chairman, Carmel Mortell
“KPMG is proud to be an official partner of the Victoria Summit 2021 and look forward to working with VCCI to bring businesses, unions, researchers and innovators, thought leaders, community representatives and parliamentarians together throughout 2021 to create a long-term vision for Victoria.”

Australian Hotels Association Chief Executive Officer, Paddy O’Sullivan
“Victoria’s pubs and hotels play a vital role in the economic and social fabric of their local communities and combined they are a major driver for the state’s visitor economy, and for these reasons their survival and sustainability post-COVID-19 is critical for the future of Victoria.”

Australian Industry Group Victorian Head, Tim Piper
“We live in one of the best places in the world and we need to keep it that way by encouraging business activity and social cohesion, allowing business to grow and enabling everybody to share in our prosperity.”

Swinburne University of Technology Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pascale Quester
“The time is right for Victoria to be playing more on the global stage, with our unique resources and focus on technology and innovation. The collective work of those on the Reference Group will be instrumental in setting Victoria up for future success.”

Sovereign Hill Chief Executive Officer, Sara Quon
“Never has collaboration across industry been more important than in the wake of the pandemic. The Victoria Summit 2021 provides an excellent platform for this.”

KordaMentha Executive Director, James Wagg
“Having had the privilege of being raised in the world’s most liveable city, I am passionate about ensuring future generations share the same opportunities that have shaped the person I am today.”

Australian Football League Executive General Manager – Corporate Affairs, Government and Communications, Brian Walsh
“We have been lucky because so many Victorians have given their time, energy and ideas to ensuring this is a great place to live. I think we all need to give back and look at ideas to ensure it remains the great place to live for the next generations.”

KM Property Fund Chairman, Jim Walsh

“I am a proud Victorian, raised and educated in regional Victoria. I have spent my working life of over 40 years helping Victorian based businesses grow and prosper for the benefit of investors, employees and the communities in which they operate. This Summit presents an opportunity to relaunch Victoria in the post-COVID-19 environment.”


CSIRO Executive Director: Growth, Nigel Warren

“CSIRO, as Australia’s national science agency, uses innovative science and technology to solve our greatest challenges – it is vital for us to collaborate with every university, every area of government and across Australian industry to help the nation grow through these challenging times. Our relationship and investment in Victoria is critical to our future.”


Global Victoria