Better Practice Forum

Emergency Management, Recovery and the Impact of Climate Change

LG Professionals WA invites you to join us for the next Better Practice Forum - Emergency Management, Recovery and the Impact of Climate Change.

Delegates will hear from Neil Bennet, Retired Weather Forecaster and Broadcast Meteorologist who will discuss weather patterns, the increasing frequency of severe weather events and the impacts of climate change for WA communities. Melissa Pexton, Deputy Commissioner, Strategy and Emergency Management Command will also present at the forum, discussing the State Emergency Management Framework and her experience as State Recovery Controller during the aftermath of Cyclone Seroja in the Midwest region of WA. Nils Hay will also join us for this forum, currently CEO at the Mid West Development Commission, Nils was CEO at the Shire of Mingenew when Cyclone Seroja hit. With a devastated community and reosurces hard to come by, Nils stepped up to lead the recovery of the Mingenew community. Nils will share his story of recovery and resilience and will explore not only the immediate and short-term impacts but also longer-term impacts such as the economic repercussions of population displacement.

Local governments are often the first on the ground and the first to react and respond, when an emergency threatens their local community. Local governments also have an immense responsibility to lead community recovery periods.

As extreme weather events become more frequent and more damaging, local governments need to prepare for disasters in ways that also address climate change adaptation and mitigation. With bushfires, rising sea levels and unpredictable weather patterns on the rise, it is essential that local governments are equipped with the best information to work within these unprecedented conditions and to lead their communities in the recovery efforts.

During this Better Practice Forum, we will explore the impacts of climate change and the role of local government in both proactive mitigation activities and in the recovery efforts including activities that support the reconstruction and/or restoration of infrastructure, and activities that address psychosocial and economic wellbeing.

Event Speakers
Melissa Pexton, Deputy Commissioner, Strategy and Emergency Management Command

Deputy Commissioner Melissa Pexton has 20 years' experience in the emergency management sector at a national, state and local level. She was appointed Deputy Commissioner Strategy and Emergency Management in May 2022.
Ms Pexton has served as the Cyclone Seroja State Recovery Controller since April 2021 providing leadership to a whole-of-government recovery operation and was previously Director Risk, Capability and Analysis at DFES.
She was also the Deputy Chair of the State Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) and has held positions of Executive Officer and Chair of the SEMC Recovery and Community Engagement subcommittee.


Thursday 8 September 2022


09.00am - 12.00pm


BanksiaParking is available either in the bays to the front (right) of the Administration Building or in the overflow car park 
(see map). Please do not park in allocated staff parking.

City of Bayswater
61 Broun Avenue

This event will also be live streamed. 


This is a complimentary event for LG Professionals WA Individual Members. 

*Local Government Subscribers will receive the following complimentary registrations for this event, subsequent non-member registrations will be charged $100 per person.
Bronze: 1 x comp registration
Silver: 2 x comp registrations
Gold: 3 x comp registrations

*Click here to see if your local government is a Local Government Subscriber. 
Please email [email protected] for your Local Government Subscriber discount code.

$100 Non-members
$100 LGWA Members
Neil Bennett, Retired Weather Forecaster and Broadcast Meteorologist

Neil Bennett is a retired Weather Forecaster and broadcast meteorologist. Neil had a successful career spanning more than 30 years with the Bureau of Meteorology and 10 years with the UK Met Office, retiring from the Bureau in 2021. Neil's last role with the Bureau was media and Communication Manager which saw him acting as the public spokesperson for the Bureau in WA during weather events, providing information about weather related matters.
In previous roles, Neil has written forecasts for the aviation industry, defence forces, emergency services and the general public. Neil has also worked as a Lecturer in Meteorology and was the Officer in Charge of the Met Section at RAAF Pearce where he lectured RAAF student pilots in aviation meteorology. Many people will recognise Neil from his time as TV Weather Presenter with ABC Television from 2004 to 2011.
Nils Hay, CEO, Mid West Development Commission

Nils is a talented, versatile, engaged and passionate senior leader and has recently started a new role as CEO at the Mid West Development Commission. Nils was formerly the CEO at the Shire of Mingenew, a role in which he considered innovative solutions and had an open-minded approach to problem-solving. Nils has practical experience across a wide range or local government functions and external industry sectors and is a strong believer in education and continuous improvement of systems and processes. Nils holds a Diploma of Local Government, undergraduate degrees in Business and International Relations and a Master's in Applied Project Management. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and when employed as Deputy CEO of Burke Shire, he was named Queensland's Local Government Manager of the Year in 2017.