Guest Speakers

Check out the bios for our featured speakers

Mayor Cr Paul Antonio

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio has been Mayor of the region since 2012. Bringing more than 30 years of local government experience to the role, Paul was previously the Deputy Mayor of the Toowoomba Regional Council in its first amalgamated term, and Mayor of Millmerran Shire Council for eight years, having served continuously on Council from 1982-2008.

As Mayor of one of Australia's most family friendly cities, Paul leads the region at a time of intense growth and development. The current and projected spend in the broader region is estimated at more than $11 billion dollars which includes the construction of the much anticipated Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, one of Australia's largest ever inland road projects.

Paul is the founding Chair of the Darling Downs South West Queensland Council of Mayors and Deputy Chair of the Council of Mayors South East Queensland, which collectively represents one in seven Australians.

Mayor Antonio continues to advocate for Toowoomba's place on the planned Brisbane to Melbourne Inland Rail Line and is an executive member of the alliance of Local Governments likely to be impacted by the project. Paul is also leading the business community to position Toowoomba as the transport and logistics hub of Queensland and Australia.

Other significant initiatives delivered under Paul's leadership include an extensive flood recovery and mitigation program for Toowoomba following the devastating floods of 2011 and 2013; declaration of the region as a Refugee Welcome Zone; and hosting one of Queensland's largest White Ribbon Day events promoting peace, particularly in families and homes.

Paul holds a Diploma of Agriculture, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has held a number of board positions.

Serving as patron of a number of local associations, Paul is also a White Ribbon Ambassador.

In his time away from Council Paul continues his interest in the family farming operation west of Millmerran concentrating on the production of Angus beef and grain.

 

Ms Claire Moore

Always a Toowoomba woman, though she has lived away from home for many years. Claire has worked in the Australian Public Service in Departments of Aboriginal Affairs and Social Security, including 3years in North Queensland. She was the state secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union for three terms and then a Labor Senator for Queensland until 2019, where Claire held the position of Shadow Minister for Women and Community Services, and later Shadow Minister for International Development  and the Pacific.

 

Claire Moore has been a long term member of UNNA, having been encouraged by. Margaret Reynolds. She is currently the President of UNAA Queensland division.

 

Mr Muhammed Haniff Bin Abdul Razak

Graduated from the Singapore Armed Forces Officer Cadet School as a Commission Officer, Haniff left the service with the rank of a Captain in 1993 to do community work. In 2001, he was asked to return to serve in the civil service with the Islamic Religious Council. In 2006 was given a major assignment to develop and launch the Harmony Centre Singapore, a pioneer centre in interfaith and cultural engagement. The Centre was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Singapore. His work includes promoting inter-faith dialogue and engagement at all levels: leadership, community, grassroots, youths and students through seminars, workshops, experiential learning journey and visits.

Was also tasked to coordinate and provide training for internal and external agencies on interfaith work and cultural understanding involving various religious and community leaders, mediating in religious and culturally sensitive issues, handling in various protocols and visiting requests from foreign dignitaries. He has also served in United Nation as an Election Supervisor in Namibia and as a militarily liaison officer with the Ministry of Defence Singapore in Brunei. In 2007, through the Australian High Commissioner in Singapore, was invited to DFAT Canberra to share his works on interfaith issues including engagement with the Muslim community.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

In 2010 was invited by the Venerable Master Chin Kung AM Founder and President of Pure Land Learning College Association INC to help set up the Multi-Faith and Multicultural Centre, Toowoomba Australia. His work has taken him to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, France, England, Wales, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, either presenting papers or participating in conferences and seminars related to peace building. Was recognised by the local media as one the most influential member of the community coming in 43 of the 100 identified in Toowoomba. In 2018, was awarded Paul Myatt Safer City Award for being recognised as’ An Individual whose life can inspire the rest of us to do better with our own.’ Currently, the Director of the Multi Faith and Multicultural Centre, Pure Land Learning College Association INC.

 

Mr John Smith

John has been a dedicated yoga and meditation practitioner for over thirty five years having studied with many experienced teachers from Australia and India in Meditation and Yoga/Wellness Philosophy.

 

John has been involved as a volunteer with the Heartfulness Institute for the past 35 years, during which time he was integral in managing many UN events including in 2007 “One World, One Humanity - Steps and Obstacles Towards Unification of Humanity” In support of United Nations Day. And other events for World Environment Day, Human Rights Day, International Day of Yoga, International Day of Peace, Families Day and Multifaith coordinated events for mutual respect and harmony and is the CEO of Heartfulness Institute (Aust).

 

Ms Belinda Sanders

Belinda Sanders is a producer, presenter and journalist at ABC Southern Queensland.

Belinda started her career in media as a journalist in 1991.

At first she worked in newspaper, radio and television in Mackay. Then Belinda chose to focus on television journalism and worked in Cairns, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Maryborough, Brisbane in Queensland and Burnie, Launceston and Hobart in Tasmania.

Her interest in radio began at the ABC in Tasmania where she was required to file reports for radio as well as television. In 2000 Belinda moved to Toowoomba to take up the position of news editor for ABC Southern Queensland, where she made the jump to presenting the morning programme at the start of 2005.

Belinda is responsible for covering around 10 local stories a day as well as filing for state and national programs, and creating digital articles.

Belinda has worked for television news services both as an on-air journalist and behind the scenes as chief of staff and news director. She has covered many stories of national significance for both commercial television and the national broadcaster.