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 Awards.
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.
Clalia Mar spent nearly half her life in the tourism industry. With a passion for small business, she spent many years in operations,sales and marketing in hotels in Darwin and Sydney before focusing on growing small business through her work with the Chamber of Commerce NT and more recently the Department of Industry and Science.
Having worked across many industries and with a range of businesses in the Northern Territory, she has developed an intimate understanding of the challenges and opportunities in building sustainable businesses.
2016 Judging Panel
Dr Aggie Wegner
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.
Amy McArdle works as a Project Manager for Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation in Alice Springs and, amongst other projects, is managing a proposal for major redevelopment of a tourism property owned by Ngurratjuta.
Amy has resided in Alice Springs since 2008, relocating from Adelaide. Amy is a member of the Chamber of Commerce NT Alice Springs Executive Committee, Director of the Chamber of Commerce NT and is Vice President of the Alice Springs Netball Association.
Amy is passionate about regional economic development and wishes to advocate for remote and regional businesses, particularly in tourism, across Central Australia and the NT.
Byron Henderson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Automobile Association of Northern Territory Inc (AANT), Director of the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) and Director of Kidsafe Australia and Kidsafe NT. Through the AANT and AAA he leads the advocacy for over 21,000 members on motoring and road safety issues in the Northern Territory and over 8,000,000 club members nationwide.
Prior to AANT he held senior positions at Territory Insurance Office (TIO), Bank of Queensland (BOQ) and National Australia Bank (NAB). He has extensive experience in corporate strategy, sales, digital, brand and marketing.
A long term Territorian, Carrie commenced her career in Tourism in 1988 at the Darwin Regional Tourism Association (now TTE).
Over the years she has held varied positions within tourism, recently as a member of the Executive Management Team at the Darwin Convention Centre. She held the role of Director of Sales and Marketing for eight years promoting Darwin as a serious business events destination Locally, Nationally and Internationally.
Currently employed by the Northern Territory Chamber of Commerce as Operations Manager, Carrie boasts a strong work ethic and a good understanding of corporate governance and the responsibilities.
Cecilia Quek has not caught a barramundi (yet), nor wrestled a crocodile but she still considers herself a local … and, with over 30 years of living, working and enjoying the Territory, she has seen and experienced Darwin’s dynamic growth and its changes.
Cecilia has moved into Commercial Real Estate after a 25-year career with Newscorp Australia, the past 10 years in the role of Sales Director. She joined LJ Hooker Commercial because of its brand, its national and international affiliations and what LJ Hooker represent - honesty, transparency and genuine care.
Cecilia has been involved with The Brolga Awards over many years and brings market knowledge across many industry sectors, marketing experience, creativity, and a love of innovation.
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 before moving to her current role as Business Manager of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Claire has also been fortunate enough to have travel extensively throughout the Territory and has tertiary qualifications in both financial/business management and marketing.
Des Crowe is the current CEO of the Australian Hotels Association NT Branch 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.
Dino Magris grew up in the tourism and hospitality industry in Venice (Italy) before coming to Australia.
He holds a Bachelor of Business (Transport Economics) degree. His 44-year career in touring operations in Australia has seen him hold the positions of Victorian & Tasmanian Manager for Ansett Pioneer, and also that of General Manager – Australian Touring for Australian Pacific Touring (APT), and a Director of APT.
Dino has a passion for Australian touring and is proud to be identified with the introduction and establishment of many innovative tourism products in Australia. He retired in 2012 after 31 years in APT.
Mayor 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.
Graham MacKinnon has spent four decades in tourism related roles in Central Australia. Still a passionate and proud resident, Graham held senior leadership roles at TAA, Australian Airlines and Qantas at Alice Springs until retirement in November 2014.
Supporting and promoting change, Graham has embraced Northern Territory issues and has a keen understanding of the challenges facing Central Australian tourism.
Graham maintains involvement in the industry by working as a casual tour guide in the region.
Julie Rannard is long term Territorian having grown up in Darwin, studied to gain a Masters Degree in International Management and raised her two sons there. Julie’s career spans more than 30 years in the Northern Territory Government working with a diverse range of industry sectors through her roles in senior positions in construction project and facilities management, media and communications and social housing.
More recently Julie has worked closely with the hospitality sector through her role in Alice Springs as Director, Central Australia for the Department of Business.
Lyndon Frearson has spent more than a decade building a dedicated remote area advisory business, based in Alice Springs, that works throughout Australia and Asia Pacific, so is well familiar with the challenges of pursuing a global market from a remote area. Lyndon is actively engaged in advising government and businesses, across a range of industries, on the development of infrastructure and sustainable investment frameworks. These have include many large resorts, hotels and airports throughout the region.
Lyndon lives in Alice Springs, with his young family and has been actively involved the NT Business Events Bureau as an Ambassador.
Lynne Peterkin has been involved in the tourism sector in Central Australia since 1987, taking on a variety of roles and responsibilities.
Her broad experience in the industry includes General Manager of what is now Tourism Central Australia (TCA), Tourism co-ordinator for Ngurratjuta/Pmara Ntjarra Aboriginal Corporation, running a 5 star, award winning B&B for 12 years, Chairman of TCA for 3 years, Chairman of the Australian B&B Association for 4 years, qualified chef, Tourism NT accreditation assessor, Brolga judge and life member of TCA.
Mike worked in a range of Sport and Recreation roles including sports coaching, management and adventure tour guiding before moving into education. Throughout the past 11 years as a formal educator, Mike has been building his Tourism and Hospitality training knowledge and experiences and is currently the Tourism and Hospitality Team Leader for Charles Darwin University, based in Alice Springs. Mike has an interest in tourism research and in particular customer expectations and satisfaction.
Having previously been a judge on the Vanuatu National Tourism awards and the 2015 Brolga awards, he is looking forward to another year of outstanding applicants.
After their arrival in the Territory in 1974 Mike and Ann moved to Katherine where Mike commenced employment as a parks and wildlife ranger. In 1978 he was appointed Katherine Region Manager a position he held until February 1987 during which time he was responsible for negotiating the acquisition of land for the creation of Gregory and Keep River national parks.
Elected to the NT Legislative Assembly as Member for Katherine in March 1987, Mike was appointed to the ministry in July 1988, retiring from politics in 2003.
Retirement presented the opportunity to pursue long held interests of fishing and birdwatching. Over forty years of birdwatching in the Territory have been compiled into a book published in 2014 with notes, maps and directions to birdwatching sites in the Top End. Mike also has a keen interest in the WWII history of the Territory.
Nic Danks is the Area General Manager for Telstra, and accountable for maximising Telstra’s presence and business performance within NT. Including all retail points of presence as well as the delivery of all local services for the region. Nic has been with Telstra for four years and in the Territory for two years.
Originally from Adelaide, during my six years in the Army and 33 years in retail, has travelled extensively throughout Australia.
A long term Territorian, Pauline Rayner has a background in the Pastoral industry spending over forty years in the Katherine Region. A late starter in tourism, life began with the Northern Territory Tourist Commission in 1988 as Manager, Katherine Visitor Information Centre and five years later a transfer to Darwin into the Industry Liaison and Product Development Unit where the role enabled a close working relationship with developing operators and tourist associations. This included the Bed and Breakfast, Caravan, Safari Hunters, and the Savannah Guides. Pauline is a strong advocate for Accreditation, professional business practices and customer service, and a keen supported of the N T product which combined makes a holiday experience in the Territory so rich and memorable.
Rachel has a diverse background in the tourism and hospitality sector having worked in public and private sector roles spanning events, marketing, investment attraction and tourism development. With a solid track record in senior business and economic development roles in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, she has an excellent knowledge of the destinations, the networks and importantly the key drivers of success for developing and operating tourism ventures in regional settings.
Rachel now operates her own consultancy business focused on improving performance in the tourism sector and among other interests is a committee member of the Australia China Business Council of the NT.
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.
Sam was raised and educated in the Northern Territory and is passionate about business growth and tourism development. He brings a dynamic perspective as a former commercial lawyer, prosecutor, Ministerial Chief of Staff and now General Manager of the Darwin Waterfront Corporation. With the Waterfront Precinct enjoying an average 1.2 million visits every year, along with Corporation responsibility for the Convention Centre and Stokes Hill Wharf, Sam is committed to maintaining and enhancing a world class destination.
Sandra Borella has been involved in the hospitality and travel industries from a young age. Born, raised and educated in Canberra, Sandra was involved in her family's restaurant business while growing up, and developed a passion for excellent customer service.
Starting in retail travel after gaining qualifications, she then moved to the airline industry and has experienced working in all parts of Qantas from customer service to her current role of Airport Manager in Alice Springs.
Sandra has a genuine interest in travel and tourism and loves working in the industry.
Sonny Kent has a long history in the travel & tourism industry. She was responsible for setting up the Tourism NT office for UK & Scandinavia and spent 20 years in Europe promoting Australia and the Northern Territory. Since locating to Darwin in 1995 Sonny has continued to work in tourism and related activities with emphasis on the long term future of the industry and the ongoing sustainability of tourism and hospitality products and businesses.
Susie Dark has had an exciting career in hospitality, tourism marketing and retail travel. She has worked for a number of recognised hotel groups including Accor Hotels and managed large scale corporate travel demands at Flight Centre Management.
Her employment with organisations such as Tourism NT, TTE and TCA has provided an opportunity to support and work alongside a range of tourism operators from across the Territory and to develop and understanding of the commitment and drive required to run a successful tourism business.
Susie currently works at Imparja Television as the Alice Springs Sales Executive.
Yvonne Webb has spent most of her working life in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry across a range of International and Local hotels operations. With a commitment to service delivery through people with passion, Yvonne has travelled extensively and relocated numerous times across Australia before returning to Darwin.
Currently working for the Industry Skills Advisory Council of the NT, Yvonne extends her attention to the Creative and Cultural Industries, Sports and Recreation and the diverse SME’s that makes the Territory function.