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IRS Newcastle - Annual Conference

  • 02 November 2023
  • 6:00 PM
  • 03 November 2023
  • 5:00 PM
  • Chateau Elan, The Vintage, Pokolbin
  • 32


  • Member only
    Guests registered with this booking must be an irs member
  • Non member
  • Must be fully financial members of irs
    Guests included with this booking must be members
  • Member only rate
    Early Bird until 3 October


IRS Newcastle Branch - Annual Conference

Levelling the playing field.. 

The theme of this year’s conference ‘Levelling the playing field’ 


Narelda Jacobs

Narelda will be speaking to the topic of Workplace Equality including the barriers to workplace equality, and the role that formal measures such as legislative reform play in addressing the factors and issues that contribute to workplace (in)equality.

Narelda Jacobs is a Whadjuk Noongar journalist, presenter and commentator.

Her career at Network 10 has spanned more than two decades, starting in the Perth newsroom in 2000 before heading to Sydney in January 2020 to co-host Studio 10 and present 10 News First Perth. Narelda is currently a co-host of Studio 10 and presenter of the one-hour national news bulletin 10 News First: Midday.

Narelda is an NITV and SBS regular, co-hosting The Point, Going Places with Ernie Dingo and the network’s January 26 coverage. She co-hosted Sydney Mardi Gras with SBS from 2019-2021 and has appeared on The Project, Insiders, Q+A and The Drum. Narelda is a sought-after MC, moderator and speaker, appearing on stages and airwaves across Australia with Prime Ministers, international leaders and humanitarian advocates. Narelda co-hosts the podcast ‘456 Club’ and is a regular guest host for Mamamia Podcasts.

Narelda is passionate about promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and is on the board of the National Justice Project. She is on Football Australia's National Indigenous Advisory Group and is a Legacy ‘23 Ambassador for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Narelda is an ambassador of The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, Motor Neurone Disease Association WA, WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute, The Pinnacle Foundation and Deadly Science, and was a Rainbow Champion for Sydney World Pride 2023.

Professor Rae Cooper

Professor Cooper will speak to the topic of the current reform agenda, and how the new and proposed initiatives measure up to the scale of the challenge.

Professor Rae Cooper, AO is Professor of Gender, Work and Employment Relations. She is based in the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies (WOS) at the University of Sydney Business School. She is Director of the Gender Equality in Working Life (GEWL) Research Initiative, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Labor and Employment Relations Association and of the Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association.

In 2019 Professor Cooper was made an officer of the Order of Australia for her contributions to ‘higher education and to workplace policy and practice’.

Rae is a leading researcher on the world of work and is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2022-2025). She has a particular interest in gender and work, women’s careers and the future of work. She has received grants from the ARC, from state and federal governments and has worked in collaboration with leading organisations including the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

She supervises several PhD, MPhil and Honours students working on projects spanning employment relations, gender and work and organisational policy. She is co-author of the leading text Employment Relations: Theory and Practice.

Rae uses her research expertise to contribute to public debates about work and careers and is a key Australian commentator on workplace matters in television, radio and print media. She regularly speaks to business and policy audiences about her research.

In addition to academic roles, Rae has been a non-Executive Director on several boards of public sector businesses and NGOs and has played a leadership role in organisations in the women’s policy advocating for women’s economic opportunity, lifting low paid women’s wages and building gender equity in working life.

Clint Newton OAM, CEO - Rugby League Players Association

Clint Newton OAM was appointed Chief Executive Officer at the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) in 2020. Clint’s involvement with the RLPA dates back to his time as an NRL contracted player, where amongst other key achievements he played a key role in the negotiation of the 2013-17 Collective Bargaining Agreement and was elected to the role of General President in 2013.

Making his NRL debut in 2001 for the Newcastle Knights, Clint played 273 first grade games across the Knights, Melbourne Storm, Hull Kingston Rovers and Penrith Panthers. Clint also represented the Prime Ministers XIII in 2005, Country Origin in 2007 and played for the United States of America in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Outside of his professional Rugby League career, Clint is a passionate advocate for gender equality, respectful relationships and the rights of women and child through his ambassadorial roles with White Ribbon Australia and Australian Childhood Foundation Following his retirement from professional Rugby League in 2015 and a period as Chair of the RLPA, Clint successfully transitioned into his current role on the Association’s executive team and has worked to advance many areas in the game on behalf of players. Clint is co-chair of the Workloads and Balance Committee, is the players’ representative on the Competition Committee and has led several key projects in the International space, including advancing minimum standards across all Nations.

Clint was also named a Life Member of the RLPA in 2019. In March 2020, Clint was appointed CEO of the RLPA, replacing the outgoing Ian Prendergast. In 2023, Newton has been awarded the Medal (OAM) of the order of Australia in the General Division for his services to rugby league.

Lina Caccamo, General Manager Elite Women and International Relations - Rugby League Players Association

Lina Caccamo has been a highly accomplished leader in women's sport for over 10 years and is the General Manager of Elite Women and International Relations for the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA).

In her current role, Lina has championed the rights and promoted the interests of rugby league players, with a particular emphasis on empowering women within the sport as they continue to strive toward full professionalism.

Her passion for equality and inclusivity has driven Lina to advocate for ground-breaking initiatives aimed at providing equal opportunities, growth, and support for female athletes in the burgeoning female rugby league community.

Lina continues to inspire the next generation of rugby league players and leaders. Known for her relentless pursuit of equality and her unwavering passion, Lina’s strong leadership has earned the respect of the players and solidified her reputation as a true champion for the sport and the women’s game.

Liam O'Brien, Assistant Secretary - Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)

Liam was re-elected as Assistant Secretary at the ACTU Congress in July 2021.

Before joining the ACTU Liam was the Victorian Assistant Secretary and National Vice-President of the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU). It was there where he fought for the rights of workers across the diverse range of industries that the AWU represents. As a national official he led the AWU’s work in the aluminium, aviation, glass and construction sectors.

As ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam is responsible for leading the movements policy, industrial and campaigning work on work health and safety and workers’ compensation matters. Liam is passionate about the rights of all workers to have safe, healthy and decent work, and is a member of Safe Work Australia (SWA) and the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council (ASEC).

Liam is also responsible for the skills and VET portfolio at the ACTU, and is a member of the Jobs and Skills Australia Consultative Forum.

He also holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, with a major in Economics.

Nicola Street, Director Workplace Relations Policy, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Australian Industry Group

Nicola is an experienced lawyer and public policy professional focussed on workplace relations and diversity and inclusion. Nicola is responsible for formulating and shaping public policy responses for Ai Group members and is backed by her extensive experience in advising and representing employers on all matters of workplace relations and workplace diversity. Nicola also specialises in representing Ai Group members in the legislative reform process and worked closely on the Respect@Work legislative amendments and more recently, the Australian Government’s staged tranches of industrial relations reform.

Nicola began her career as an industrial relations lawyer advising and representing employers across a wide range of industries.  Since then, Nicola has held various roles within the Australian Industry Group, including as a Director of Ai Group’s workplace relations legal practice, before moving into test case and public policy work with Ai Group’s former Director of National Workplace Relations Policy, Stephen Smith.

Inspired to create inclusive industries, in 2016 Nicola created and grew Ai Group’s Diversity & Inclusion Network to build a community of industry practice around leading diversity initiatives.  The network continues to grow and provides invaluable insight on effective enterprise strategies and the regulatory landscape.

Nicola provides her industry and legal policy expertise to various advisory groups and has held numerous positions, including as a current member of the SafeWork NSW Respect@Work Advisory Group, the NSW Government’s Council for Women’s Economic Opportunity from 2018-2020, the Australian Government’s Modern Slavery Expert Advisory Group from 2019-2022, the ACT Government’s Labour Hire Licensing Committee, representing Ai Group’s CEO on the Australian Government’s Respect@Work Council and as an industry representative on the Cleaning Accountability Framework’s certification panel.


Platinum Sponsor - Cessnock City Council

Silver Sponsor - ASR Recruitment

Bronze Sponsor - Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors

Please note:

Bookings will close on 30 October at 5pm


Thursday 2 November

Drinks commence 6.00pm

Dinner 6.30pm

Friday 3 November

8.00am registration

8.30am start

3.30pm finish  

Members and Guests booking for this event should read the Event Terms &  Booking Conditions

Accommodation is not included in the price of the conference and can be booked separately via this link

For all event enquiries please email

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Industrial Relations Society of New South Wales Incorporated  INC9877445 Copyright 2016
ABN Industrial Relations Society NSW 40 585 849 687


TEL: +61 420 768 736





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