New Board appointments to oversee Tourism Australia’s critical role in tourism recovery

  • Media release
28 October 2020

The Morrison Government has today announced two new appointments and three reappointments to the Tourism Australia Board, to lead the organisation in its major role in tourism recovery by encouraging Australians to see their own backyard and when the time is right, showing the world there is still nothing like Australia.

Harvey Norman Chief Executive Officer, Katie Page, and co-founder and proprietor of The Landsmith Collection, Alexandra Burt, have both been appointed for three-year terms.

Tourism Australia Chair, Bob East, has also been reappointed to the position, while Board member Jeffrey Ellison has been appointed Deputy Chair. Board member Bradley Woods has also been reappointed for another term.

These appointments come at a critical time for Tourism Australia who in the Budget received a record $231.6 million for 2020-21 to ramp up domestic marketing activities to encourage Australians to travel again, and ensure they are well placed to aggressively execute new campaigns to again attract international visitors when overseas travel is back on the table.

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the new appointments would inject further breadth of experience to the Board, whist the reappointments would bring important stability and continuity to the leadership of Tourism Australia.

“Australia’s tourism industry will continue to face immense challenges, and clear and decisive leadership will be crucial to ensuring Tourism Australia plays its part in helping the industry rebound from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Ms Page and Ms Burt will bring to the Board further knowledge and experience in tourism product, marketing and advertising, playing an important role in the execution of Tourism Australia’s strategic and targeted marketing initiatives going forward.

“The reappointments of Mr East, Mr Ellison and Mr Woods will also bring important stability to the leadership of the organisation through a period of unprecedented upheaval for our tourism industry.

I would also like to thank the outgoing Deputy Chair Anna Guillan and fellow Board member David Seargeant for their significant contributions to Tourism Australia.”

Biographies

Bob East (Reappointed as Chair)

Bob East has more than 20 years’ experience in the tourism industry, most recently serving as the CEO of the Mantra Group for 12 years where he helped shape the Mantra Group into the largest Australian-based hotel company. He led the company to a successful ASX listing in June 2014 which culminated in its inclusion into the ASX 200 list in 2015 and managed Mantra Group’s $1.3B acquisition by AccorHotels, one of the world’s largest hotel operators in 2018. Mr East’s experience includes serving on the boards of the Gold Coast Tourism Corporation, Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Tourism Accommodation Australia, Tourism and Events Queensland and the Tourism and Transport Forum.

Mr East holds a Master of Business Administration and is Chair of the Australian Venue Company, Chair of Experience Co, Deputy Chair of the Gold Coast Suns Football Club and a Board member of Sydney Metro. He has extensive experience in the accommodation sector, previously holding senior management roles with the Mirvac portfolio and the Daikyo Group.

Jeffrey Ellison (Appointed as Deputy Chair)

Jeffrey Ellison is the Chairman of the SeaLink Travel Group, where he has also previously held the position of CEO and Managing Director since 1997. SeaLink is Australia's largest tourism and marine transport company, transporting over 8.5 million passengers per annum. It employs 1,600 staff and operates a fleet of 77 vessels and 60 coaches across five states and territories.

Mr Ellison is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been awarded a Life Membership by TTF Australia. He has also held appointments on the Adelaide Convention Centre Board, Tourism Australia International Industry Advisory Panel, TTF Australia, SA Tourism Commission Board and the SA Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Board. 

Bradley Woods (Reappointed as a Member of the Board)

For nearly 30 years Bradley Woods has been one of Australia’s leading advocates for the hotel, hospitality and tourism industry. Mr Woods has been the CEO of the WA Australian Hotels Association (WA) since 1998 and previously held the roles of CEO of the AHA Tasmania and AHA National Government Relations Manager.

Mr Woods is National Chair of the Commonwealth’s Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Industry Reference Committee, responsible for the industry’s vocational training packages. He is also Chair of Hospitality Group Training, which specialises in training and industry placement apprentice chefs, Chair of the Australia Day Council WA and a Board Member of Ronald McDonald House Perth and mental health charity, Healthy Mind Menu Inc.

Katie Page (Appointed as a Member of the Board)

Katie Page is the Chief Executive Officer of Harvey Norman, a role she has held since 1999. Ms Page joined the company in 1983 when the retailer had only one retail complex in Sydney and was appointed as Board Director when Harvey Norman was publicly listed in 1987.

Ms Page is also on the Board of Pertama Holdings Pty Ltd and The Bradman Foundation, and sits on the advisory council for The Business Council of Australia’s BizRebuild fund, a five-year bushfire recovery and rebuilding fund run by business.  Ms Page has also held board positions at Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust, Place Management NSW Board and Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2005 Ms Page was appointed to the board of the National Rugby League. Her appointment made history as she was the first woman to become a member of a major sporting board in Australia.

Alexandra Burt (Appointed as Member of the Board)

With nearly 20 years’ experience in wine and tourism, Alexandra Burt is the co-founder and proprietor of The Landsmith Collection which owns and operates businesses that bring together luxury tourism, the natural world and agriculture in Western Australia and the Top End. These include Voyager Estate, a leading producer of organically farmed wines in Margaret River, and one of Australia’s most storied cattle stations, Bullo River Station, in the North Territory which, as well as a tourism offering, has a unique partnership with the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

Ms Burt spent 11 years on regional, state and national wine industry boards and committees. She is currently Chair of Australian Futures Project, a board member of the Australian String Quartet, and Patron of Private Giving for West Australian Ballet.

“The reappointments of Mr East, Mr Ellison and Mr Woods will also bring important stability to the leadership of the organisation through a period of unprecedented upheaval for our tourism industry.

I would also like to thank the outgoing Deputy Chair Anna Guillan and fellow Board member David Seargeant for their significant contributions to Tourism Australia.”

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