Judging panel

Judging is conducted by an independent panel of industry peers and business professionals.

Each judge is selected for their knowledge and experience and their willingness to volunteer and commit time to the non paid role of judge of the Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Award.

The selection process ensures that a broad range of industry is represented and that skills and expertise are complementary. The judging panel is reviewed each year and operates independently of Tourism NT.

2018 Judging Panel:


2018 Brolga Awards Judging Panel


Chair of Judges: Fay Miller

Mayor Fay Miller was elected Mayor of Katherine in March 2012.   Fay arrived in the Northern Territory and Katherine late 1989 and entered the business arena with Red Gum Tourist Park in 1994 until 2006. She has been involved in the community in a wide range of areas including a long term interest and involvement in the tourist industry which is still current. Fay has a strong desire and ongoing commitment to developing Katherine further.

Her community involvements have included Member for Katherine for 5 years in the NT Legislative Assembly and Deputy Leader of the Opposition with 7 Shadow portfolios including Tourism.  Some of her current commitments include - Chairperson Katherine Region Economic Development Committee; Katherine Accommodation Action Group; Board member Savannah Way Ltd; Board member of Nitmiluk Tours

Deputy Chair of Judges: Dino Magris

Dino Magris grew up and worked in the tourism and hospitality industry in Venice (Italy) before coming to Australia in 1968.

He holds a Bachelor of Business (Transport Economics) degree.  His 44-year career in touring operations in Australia has seen him hold the executive positions of Victorian and Tasmanian State Manager for Ansett Pioneer, General Manager – Australian Tourism for Australian Pacific Touring and also Executive Director of APT.

Dino is passionate about Australian tourism and is proud to be identified with the introduction and establishment of several of today's iconic touring products and experiences in the Northern territory, in the Kimberley and in Victoria.

He retired in 2012 after 31 years with APT and over 50 years in the tourism industry.

Dino will take over as Chair of Judges in 2019.

Auditor: Suzanne Archbold

Suzanne Archbold born, educated, employed and now raising her own young family in Darwin, Suzanne has experienced first-hand the ever changing dynamics of Darwin.  Suzanne's 20 years with chartered accounting firm Deloitte, where she is now a Partner, has given her the opportunity to provide business advisory and taxation services to local businesses that span a broad range of industries including the tourism and hospitality sector.  Amongst her may clients can be found a variety of hotels, tour operators, restaurants, cafes and indigenous businesses.

Suzanne has been the auditor of the Brolga Awards since 2014.

Dr Aggie Wegner PhD, BSc (Hons)

Dr Aggie Wegner's exceptional ability to positively connect and engage with people, combined with her 'can do' attitude, has contributed to her career to date.  Seeking to combine her professional strengths of research, leadership, governance, management and strategic thinking, with a passion for working collaboratively with colleagues and stakeholders to provide excellent support and achieve outputs, guides her approach and aptitude on a daily basis.

One of Dr Wegner's key strengths is her ability to link, liaise and relate across different stakeholders and interest groups based on her multidisciplinary background and extensive experience in industry and academia.  Aggie successfully works collaboratively with other academics, government agencies, community groups, non-governmental organisations and industry partners.

Dr Wegner's background is in research governance and policy, environmental science and management and social policy.

Andrew Bridges

Andrew Bridges spent over 35 years working for the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory, including as CEO from 2012 to 2016.

During his career Andrew had a strong commitment to nature based tourism, and the role it plays in the Territory economy. He spent six years as the Northern Territory representative on the Tourism and Protected Areas Forum, and seven years as an Executive Committee member with Tourism Central Australia.

Now retired from full-time employment Andrew enjoys a bit more time to spend in the Territory outdoors with his camera.

Anthony Hill

Anthony Hill was appointed AANT Chief Executive Officer in October 2017 relocating to the Northern Territory with his family from South Australia. Anthony has extensive senior management experience and expertise in the motoring industry and involvement on a number of boards and committees.

Anthony is a director of Kidsafe NT and a member of various automotive associated entities. Anthony has accreditations in Business and his expertise includes strategic planning, business process improvement, change management and operational management.

Anthony joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Allan Sommerville

Allan Sommerville currently holds the position of Airport Manager, Qantas Alice Springs as well as a board position with Tourism Central Australia and Chair of the Australian Institute of Management NT Regional Advisory Committee.

Allan is a long standing Territorian with ten years’ experience in the Aviation industry in both commercial and operational roles as well as experience in running his own businesses in several different industries.

Allen joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Cy Starkman

Cy Starkman is the General Manager of Red Hot Arts in Alice Springs which is the regional peak body for the creative and events sectors that presents Desert Festival.  Previously Cy worked for Poche Centre NT, was the Station Manager for 8CCC and is a Reality Engineer – to research and develop communications technologies and methods.

Cy joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Claire George

Claire George has spent the majority of her career in the tourism industry.  With a background in hotel management and business events, Claire worked in a variety of roles at Tourism NT and was the Business Manager of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.  Claire is currently the Director of Economic and Industry Development for the NT Government’s Department of Trade, Business and Innovation.

Claire has been fortunate enough to have travel extensively throughout the Territory and has tertiary qualifications in both business management and marketing.

Des Crowe

Des Crowe is the current CEO of Hospitality NT and has worked with the NT hospitality industry since his arrival in the NT in 1986.

Whilst residing mainly in the Darwin area, Des spent two years in Katherine and has worked extensively across regional NT.  Accommodation, food, beverage entertainment and tourism have been a constant feature in his work and he has had the opportunity to work with both NT and Federal tourism agencies and Ministers.

Dr Diana Leeder

Diana Leeder has worked in local government since 1976 with the exception of 9 years with the Northern Territory Government from 2003 – 2012. Although she grew up in Darwin, her working experience commenced in New South Wales working part time with the Upper Hunter Regional Library whilst living and working on a mixed farming property during drought years. Since then Diana’s professional journey has taken her through distance education, a period with Namoi Regional Library and a move into more general public administration after returning to Darwin. Along the way she has indulged her passion for Switzerland and all things Swiss by completing a PhD on the works of a Swiss German female writer and for animals and their proper care and management by a period of twenty years on the Northern Territory Veterinary Board, ten years of which were as the President of the Board.

From 2006 - 2012 Diana was a member of the NT Tourism Awards judging panel and from 2009 - 2012 was one of the Northern Territory judges for the National Tourism Awards

Diana is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a graduate member of the Planning Institute of Australia and a graduate librarian.

Grant Whan


A born and raised Territorian, Grant has over 30 years tourism experience in Central Australia, including 22 years in commercial business management. He commenced his own tour operation in Alice Springs at the age of 19 and first became a member of Tourism CA in 1988, when it was known as the Alice Springs Regional Tourism Association. During this time Grant was successful in writing five winning Brolga submissions and took out the Chairman`s Choice Award in 2007.

For the last 8 years Grant has been employed in tourism business advisory and industry development roles, with Tourism NT as well as the Department of Business. He is now the Business Advisor for the Business Enterprise Centre NT (BECNT) servicing the Central Australian region, specialising in Tourism.

Grant was an elected Board member of Tourism CA from 2004 to 2010 and currently sits on the Board again after being re-elected in 2013.

Grant joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Jo Fitzpatrick

Originally from South Australia, Jo came to the Northern Territory in January 2011.

With experience in the private and public sector, Jo has experienced a diverse range of leadership and management disciplines including customer service experience strategies and disciplines, sales and service skills coaching, strategic planning and management, client portfolio management and stakeholder engagement.

Jo worked for many years in the banking industry before accepting an opportunity in the public sector in 2016 which included a secondment as the CEO Darwin City & Retailers Association Inc.

Returning to the private sector in 2018 as the Regional Manager for Statewide Super, Jo continues to work closely with the business and not for profit community of NT. A Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders (IML), Jo sits on the IML NT Regional Committee and also on the Lord’s Taverners NT Committee.

Jo joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Jill Morris

Jill is an experienced marketing, communications, media and pr professional with a solid track record in the tourism and hospitality sectors. She has lived in the Territory for over 30 years and worked in a variety of senior and executive positions in both private enterprise and government organisations.

Jill is currently the Communications, Marketing and Media Manager, NT Airports working with Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek airports.

Prior to joining NT Airports, Jill was the Executive Manager Sales and Marketing at Skycity Darwin for eight years, overseeing all aspects of sales and marketing of the property including the hotel and resort, gaming, restaurants, bars, loyalty program, entertainment, sponsorship and media/pr.

Jill has a very genuine enthusiasm and passion for promoting tourism to the Northern Territory and is recognised as a passionate advocate for the Meetings and Events industry.

Jill joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Lauren Ganley

Lauren is the CEO of Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) based in Alice Springs.   DKA works closely with people, places and knowledges of the desert, to put knowledge into action, for a stronger regional and remote Australia.

Prior to DKA, Lauren worked at Telstra for more than thirty years working in the Northern Territory and South Australia.  In her last role at Telstra, Lauren led Telstra’s National Indigenous strategy.

Lauren is the Chair of Telstra’s Indigenous Advisory Committee; a Director of Kakadu Tourism, the Aboriginal Foundation of South Australia and Power Community Ltd; an Ambassador for Indigenous Community Volunteers; a graduate and Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation; and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

In 2014 Lauren was recognised as one of Australia’s most influential women winning a place in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.

Lauren joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.
 
Merrilyn Spencer

Merrilyn began her working life as a Home Economics Teacher playing an instrument role in the development of the VET Hospitality and Catering program. In 1983 she established her own food business with multiple outlets in Brisbane. It was when she sold this business in 2007 that she entered the tourism industry, firstly in hotels in Brisbane before moving to Central Australia on Australia Day 2009.

She sent 2 ½ years at Kings Canyon Resort whilst owned by Voyages and then Delaware North before moving to Alice Springs as Rooms Division Manager at the then Chifley Alice Springs Resort.

Merrilyn left the Territory (just) spending a number of years in Kununurra in the Kimberley, as the Marketing Manager at the Kununurra Visitor Centre and then as the Marketing, Administration and Operations Manager for Kimberley Outback Tours where she developed, marketed, sold and booked tours, tag along tours and self-drive tours throughout the Kimberley as well as overseeing the reservations of 3 properties, 2 in remote locations.

Merrilyn returned to Alice Springs in 2017 after becoming a little home sick for this very special place. She now manage the Alice Springs School of the Air Visitor Centre. Shortly after my return she was elected to the Tourism Central Australia board where I am Vice Chair.

Merrilyn joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Martin Ferreyra

Martin Ferreyra is Austrade’s State Director – Northern Territory based in Darwin. Formerly, he was a Senior Trade Adviser to the Resources and Energy team tasked with promoting Australian capability and expertise across the mining equipment and services sectors; he had responsibility for Latin America, India, CIS countries and the South Pacific.

Martin has a thorough understanding of the internationalisation of businesses coupled with a solid academic background on the subject. He has experience working with a diverse range of exporting companies across various sectors including professional services, education, mining, engineering, technologies and services (METS) and major sporting events (MSE).

In academia, Martin has been an Associate Lecturer at two Australian universities teaching subjects such as multinational business finance, international marketing and export procedures.

Nic Danks

In my role as the Area General Manager for Telstra, I am accountable for maximising Telstra’s presence and business performance within NT.  This includes all Retail points of presence as well as the delivery of all local services for the region.

I am originally from Adelaide and during my six years in the Army and 34 years in retail, I have travelled extensively throughout Australia. I have also lived in most capital cities in Australia.  I have been with Telstra for four years and I have been in the Territory for three years.

Rick Murray

Rick Murray, pioneered experience-based, minimal impact tours across the north of Australia with Odyssey Tours & Safaris, the award-winning company he established and developed into an industry leading operation.  He has been actively involved at the ‘coal face’ of nature based tourism for over 30 years and has a detailed knowledge of the interaction between tourism and our natural and cultural heritage.

Over the past three decades he has served on several tourism industry committees and Boards, particularly those focussed on issues affecting our natural and cultural environment and on the continual improvement of industry standards among tour operators and guides. He served as a member of the Advisory Board of Tourism NT from 2006 until 2011. He was Chairman of the Kakadu Tourism Consultative Committee and a member of the Kakadu National Park Board of Management from 2002 to 2016. He has been a Director of Ecotourism Australia Ltd since 2006 and is currently their Chairman.  Rick served for five years as a Director of the leading, aboriginal owned, tourism business, Nitmiluk Tours Pty Ltd, based in Katherine, NT. He was heavily involved in their joint-venture development of Cicada Lodge in Nitmiluk National Park.

Rick joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Terri-ann Maney

Terri-ann is currently NT Manager- Members and Directors for the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) NT and has built had extensive networks and experience in business–related fields with a career largely centred on adult education and organisational development. 

It’s the easy lifestyle, dynamic business environment, sense of community and can-do attitude of Territorians that has kept Terri-ann living in the Territory since 1999.

Her experiences to date within the Northern Territory business sector has enabled Terri-Ann to build upon her already well developed extensive network of associates within Government, business, industry and community groups.  Her role for AICD is focused on making a positive impact through governance education, director development and Advocacy.  She is an active NFP Director and does so as a meaningful way of giving back to the Community and is currently non-executive director for St John Northern Territory and Chairman of the Business Enterprise Centre who provide assistance for start up and small businesses.   In 2016 she was recognised as a Finalist in the For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Category for  NT Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Terri-ann joins the Brolga Judging team in 2018.

Russell White

Russell White founded inbound tour company ATS Pacific in 1980, and grew it over 25 years into a large regional business of over 300 staff, with offices in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, and annual sales of $100m from a global client base of leading international tour operators. The company became an innovator in terms of Australian product development and tourism technology, and helped introduce many small and large local operators to the global markets.

Russell has a deep understanding of the challenges facing tourism business in becoming "export ready" and seeking to position themselves into international markets.

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For more information

Brolga Awards Coordinator
E: BrolgaAwards@nt.gov.au

P: 61 8 8999 3808