Speakers

The Hon Darren Chester MP

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport

Darren Chester was elected to Federal Parliament as the Member for Gippsland on June 26, 2008, following the retirement of the Hon Peter McGauran.

He was re-elected in 2010, and again in 2013, when he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence in the Abbott-Truss Government. He continued in that role under the Turnbull Government, until his appointment to Cabinet in February 2016 as the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. He also currently serves as Deputy Leader of the House.

He continues in these roles in the 46th Parliament.

Darren was born and educated in Sale and now lives in Lakes Entrance with his family. Prior to entering Federal Parliament, he worked as a newspaper and television journalist throughout Gippsland and then became Chief of Staff to the Leader of The Nationals in Victoria, Peter Ryan.

Darren is a former Chief Executive Officer of regional lobby group Champions of the Bush and served two terms as President of the Lakes Entrance Business Tourism Association (LEBTA), where he was heavily involved in tourism marketing and organising major events. He has led various community campaigns and has been actively involved in projects to improve the environment of the world-renowned Gippsland Lakes.

Nick Cleary

Nick Cleary’s background is in a range of fields including agri-business, financial services and real estate. Nick founded CLARA and subsidiary Infrastructure Corporation Australia (2011) to seek out new infrastructure opportunities to be supported by the private sector including High Speed Rail, Inland City Development, a second Sydney Airport and Land-Port facilities.

Mr Cleary has a passion for regional communities and the potential that resides within. He continues to seek ways to play an active role in contributing to the improvement of people’s lives across the East Coast of Australia. Nick served as Vice Chairman of the NSW Nationals over 2013-2016.

In 2015 Mr Cleary founded Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) to deliver a program to change Australia. CLARA is an Australian private group which seeks to undertake a re-balancing of our settlement and deliver new ways of imagining, planning and building cities, transport and infrastructure. This is a population strategy for our nation.

CLARA is proposing to build eight new regional, compact, sustainable, SMART cities and connect them by the world’s most advanced high speed rail between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Marc Allen

Marc Allen is the Programme Commercial Manager at the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) working on the Inland Rail Programme, the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia. In this role Marc is responsible for:

  • Procurement;
  • Contract management;
  • Legal;
  • Insurance;
  • Probity;
  • Quality and Systems; and
  • Programme Controls (Cost, schedule, risk, change management etc).

Marc has over 35 years’ practical experience of project and commercial management, quantity surveying and consultancy services within the public and private sectors working on major economic infrastructure projects, including schemes for railways, roads, airports and tunnels as well as social infrastructure projects for hospitals, schools and other accommodation facilities.

Marc also has experience in the procurement, development, negotiation and delivery of a range of large social and economic infrastructure PPP/PFI projects both in the UK and Australia, having negotiated many of these contracts for both the public and private sectors working alongside legal and financial advisors.

Between 1997 and 1999, Marc worked for Union Railways based in the UK where, as Senior Contracts Manager, he took responsibility for the contract development, procurement, negotiation, contract execution and contract management through delivery of the large civil engineering and railway contract packages of the £2.5bn Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) project which included tunnel packages and works in a live railway environment.