We’re delighted to have an outstanding selection of Keynote speakers joining us at the
2019 CRANAplus Conference in the Hunter Valley.

Stay tuned as more speakers and the full Conference Program will be announced very soon!

Kurt Fearnley AO
Paralympian, Disability Rights Advocate & Keynote Speaker
Stan Grant
Award winning media host and Speaker

Kurt Fearnley AO is a three-time Paralympic gold medallist with a can-do attitude that makes the impossible possible. At the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, he won gold and silver medals and was chosen as Australian Flag Bearer for the Closing Ceremony. Kurt’s determination and never-say-die attitude have rewarded him with the highest accolades in disability sport.

Kurt is also active in advocacy work. He has been an ambassador for the Don’t DIS my ABILITY campaign, was a 2010 International Day of People with Disability Ambassador and has contributed to the debate surrounding funding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). In June 2018, Kurt Fearnley was given the Honour of being named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)

A gifted keynote speaker, Kurt’s infectious energy and passion for life inspires and motivates audiences across age groups and industries.

More about Kurt Fearnley:

Kurt Fearnley was born without the lower portion of his spine, yet despite this, he’s always been willing to have a go at everything.

The youngest of five children from the small western NSW town of Carcoar, sport was always a big part of his family’s life. Ignoring his disability, he happily played in everything against his able-bodied brothers and mates.

With an indomitable spirit, Kurt took up wheelchair racing when he was 14. From pushing his everyday wheelchair as fast as he could down the grass track at school athletics carnivals to pushing his chair the last five kilometres on a flat tyre at the Athens Paralympics, he went on to win gold in the toughest marathon in Paralympic history.

One of Australia’s best-known and respected athletes, Kurt has won some of the world’s most prestigious marathons, in London, Paris, Rome, Los Angeles, Chicago & New York; the latter two, an incredible five times. Kurt won the Paralympic men’s wheelchair marathon in Athens in 2004 and retained his title in Beijing in 2008. Marathon podium finishes in London (2012) and Rio (2016) cemented four consecutive Paralympic Marathon medals. He had the honour of serving as the Captain of the Australian Paralympic Team during the Rio campaign. At the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Kurt won the gold medal in the Men’s Marathon T54 and silver in the Men’s 1500 T54. He was given the honour of the flag bearer at the closing ceremony.
Kurt has achieved world champion status in wheelchair events ranging from 800m to the marathon. His marathon personal best is one hour 18 minutes and 51 seconds, set in Boston in 2011.

Off the racing circuit, Kurt has been a winning crew member of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, taking line honours in 2011 on board the yacht Loyal. However, he is best-known for his amazing feat of crawling the 96km Kokoda track.

In 2014, Kurt’s autobiography Pushing the Limits: Life, Marathons & Kokoda was published.

Kurt is actively involved in various charities as a board member and patron. He is an ambassador for the Day of Difference Foundation and for the International Day of People with a Disability; in 2016, Kurt was elected by his peers to be one of six Summer Paralympic Athletes to serve on the International Paralympic Committee’s Athletes Commission.

Kurt’s achievements have been publicly recognised many times; he was the flag bearer for Australia at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast; in 2015, he was the AIS Sports personality of the Year and Newcastle Citizen of the Year.

In 2010, Kurt was immortalised when his image featured on the medals for the 2010 Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. On the 22 January, 2013, he was given the annual Australian honour of giving the 2013 Australia Day Address.

In 2009, he was the NSW Young Australian of the Year; in 2007 and 2009, he was a Laureus World Sports Award Finalist and Commonwealth Athlete of the Year with a Disability. Kurt was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia or OAM in 2005 after winning a gold medal at the Athens Paralympic Games, and in June 2018 he received an even higher honour when he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia or AO.

Stan Grant is the Indigenous Affairs Editor for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a multi-award winning current affairs host, an author and an adventurer.

Well known for having brought the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to tears when interviewed about Indigenous affairs on The Point, Stan’s keynotes are insightful, engaging, always professional and at times, controversial.

Stan Grant’s Aboriginal heritage has shaped his dynamic, resilient personality. Born in Griffith in south-west New South Wales, in 1963, Stan Grant’s mother is from the Kamilaroi people and his father is of the Wiradjuri.

Stan spent most of his childhood on the road living in small towns and Aboriginal communities across outback NSW. His father was an itinerant saw-miller who worked when and where he could. Stan moved so often he attended 12 different schools before he was in his teens.

The early traveling gave Stan a love of adventure and stories. He grew up listening to the tales of his grandfather and uncles and aunts. Despite poverty and an early sporadic education the security of his family and the larger Aboriginal community gave him a strong platform for life.

After attending University, Stan won a cadetship with the Macquarie Radio Network, launching a career in journalism that has spanned more than 30 years and more than 70 countries. In that time Stan has travelled the world covering the major stories of our time from the release of Nelson Mandela, the troubles in Northern Island, the death of Princess Diana, war in Iraq, the second Palestinian intifada, the war on terror, the South Asia Tsunami, the Pakistan Earthquake and the rise of China.

Stan has hosted major news and current affairs programs on Australian commercial and public T.V. He has been a political correspondent for the ABC, a Europe correspondent for the Seven Network based in London and a senior international correspondent for the international broadcaster CNN based in Hong Kong and Beijing.

Returning to Australia in 2013, Stan continued to cover international events for Sky News Australia and reignited his passion for telling the stories of his own indigenous people. He has worked as the Indigenous editor for the Guardian Australia, managing editor for National Indigenous Television and international editor for Sky News. In 2016 Stan Grant was appointed as the special advisor to the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Indigenous constitutional recognition.

Stan has won many major awards including an Australian T.V Logie, a Columbia University Du-Pont Award (the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize), and the prestigious U.S Peabody Award. He is a four-time winner of the highly prized Asia TV Awards including reporter of the year.

Stan has written The Tears of Strangers and Talking To My Country (Harper Collins), and has published numerous articles and opinion pieces for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.

Stan Grant is passionate about justice and humanity. His years of international reporting has given him a deep understanding of how the world works. He is deeply immersed in the politics and history of Asia and the Middle East. He can link the importance of leadership and the impact of history and above all believes in the power and resilience of people.

Stan is married to ABC Sports Broadcaster, Tracey Holmes and has four children. He lives in Sydney.

Sarah Brown
Chief Executive Officer, WDNWPT

Sarah Brown is the Chief Executive Officer of WDNWPT and has been helping the Indigenous Directors to run the organisation since its inception more than 15 years ago.

Sarah holds a Master of Nursing, a Graduate Diploma in Aboriginal Education and a Grad Dip in Health Service  Management.  Prior to joining WDNWPT, she was a remote area nurse and university lecturer. She was Australia’s 2017 ‘Nurse of the Year’.