Growers Conference 2019


24 October 2019

More information coming soon.

Growers Conference 2018

The Growers Conference provided the opportunity for the delegates to hear from some of the leading experts in their field on resource management, river operations, seasonal outlooks, deliverability and shortfall scenarios, and water markets. Speakers include representatives from MDBA, GMW Resource Manager, Department of Environmental Land Water and Planning and AITHER.

See below the speakers of the 2018 edition.


Dr Mark Bailey – Head of Water Resources

Goulburn Murray Water

Dr Mark Bailey is Head of Water Resources at Goulburn-Murray Water. Mark is a civil engineer with a Doctor of Philosophy postgraduate degree in catchment hydrology. He has over 25 years of experience in water resources and leads the Goulburn-Murray Water teams responsible for managing northern Victoria’s surface water and groundwater supplies. Mark is the delegated Resource Manager within Goulburn-Murray Water and oversees bulk water management across northern Victoria.

Chris Olszak – Director


Chris Olszak is a founder and director of Aither. Chris is one of Australia’s leading water economists and strategic advisors. His close to two decades of advisory experience in water resources, infrastructure and markets have given him a unique understanding of public and private responses to climatic variability and changing global economic forces.

Jacqui Hickey – Director

River Murray Operations – MDBA

Jacqui is the Director of River Murray Operations at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. In this role, she oversees and manages the team of river operators responsible for directing flow rates along the River Murray System. At times, the decision to release and direct flows can be challenging especially with the changing nature of demands through the system. Thus, another key aspect of her role is to continue to support and facilitate the development of improved river operations that assist in achieving improved delivery services and ecological outcomes. Although fairly new to the role, she brings with her a wealth of experience from her previous water management roles in public and private sectors across Victoria and
Western Australia.

Dr Joe Davis – Senior Director of Operations

River Murray Operations – MDBA

Dr Joe Davis is the Senior Director of Operations at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority. As Senior Director, Joe is responsible for strategic and policy directions of River Murray Operations and ensuring the approach and the tools remain contemporary. This includes being involved in and supporting the current work undertaken by the joint governments regarding challenges around system capacity, environmental water delivery and river operations data management and system tools. Joe has been in his current role for over 5 years and has been with the MDBA/MDBC since 2005.

Grace Mitchell – Executive Director

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – DELWP

Grace Mitchell is a senior public service executive with extensive experience leading large and diverse teams of water resource policy and technical specialists, responsible for providing high-quality analysis, policy development and advice to inform state-wide water resource planning, decision making and delivery of a range of program and statutory functions. Grace has over a decade of experience in the state and federal government sector following a successful research career in the field of integrated urban water management. Grace has a strong record of leading highly productive teams to deliver innovative, high impact outcomes and projects, responding to emerging strategic policy needs.

Tim Cummins – Director

Cummins & Associates

As project manager for the Nyah to SA Border Salinity Management Plan, Tim was instrumental in establishing what is now the Victorian Mallee Irrigation Development Guidelines, the process which helps to place conditions on individual water-use licences in order to minimise or avoid the third-party costs potentially associated with entitlement trade. He also conceived, and facilitated the development of, the Pilot Interstate Water Trading Program, which operated in the Mallee regions of NSW, South Australia and Victoria from 1996 onwards. Tim was, for ten years, a member of the Linking Group that helped to develop the policy settings for the Victorian Water Register. In that capacity, he helped to prepare the drafting instructions for the legislation necessary to “unbundle” water entitlements in Victoria.