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Keynote Speakers

Tim Sharp

Tim Sharp

Tim Sharp is an internationally acclaimed 27 year old artist from Brisbane, most famously known for his creation of a  superhero called Laser Beak Man. Tim  has Autism, diagnosed when he was three years old, the doctor's advice was to "put him away and forget about him". Rejecting the prognosis, therapy began and bravely Tim tried to overcome what was so terrifying and difficult to him. After being told that Tim would never speak, drawing was used as a way to help him communicate. At age eleven Tim invented Laser Beak Man and has been drawing his superhero ever since.  Tim’s joyful  drawings involving his superhero, Laser Beak Man, have been exhibited around the world. From the Powerhouse in Brisbane to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, some of the world’s greatest galleries have showcased Tim and his amazing career.

Tim is the first person in the world with autism to have his art turned into an animated television series screening on the ABC and internationally though the Cartoon Network.  There is an exhibition about Tim in the National Museum of Australia.  His story has been told on the ABC's Australian Story.   His art is sold to collectors from around the world.  In 2012 Tim's collaboration with a young rock band from Nashville Tennessee inspired a music festival raising autism awareness to commence in Nashville. In 2014 Tim received a standing ovation after giving his TEDx talk to a capacity crowd at the Sydney Opera House.  In June 2017 Laser Beak Man the stage production will open at the New Victory Theatre, Broadway, New York City. 

Laser Beak Man can be seen as an outward extension of Tim’s personality, with his refreshingly optimistic drawings offering a wonderful insight to his intellect and to his wicked sense of humour.

Tim's story is full of many hurdles, moments of despair and incredible hard work but ultimately it's a story that’s moving, inspiring and triumphant.

Megan Mitchell

Megan Mitchell is Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, appointed in 2013.

Megan has previous experience in both government and non-government roles in child protection, out-of-home care, youth justice, disability, and early childhood services. Megan also holds qualifications in social policy, psychology and education.

In her role as Commissioner, Megan focuses solely on the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them.

Each year, Megan presents a statutory report to federal Parliament on the state of children’s rights in Australia. In her work to date, Megan has focused on the prevalence of suicide and intentional self-harm in children and young people, the impact of family and domestic violence on children and young people, and the oversight of children and young people in correctional detention. 


Keely Johnson 

Keely Johnson is emerging young country music musician, cancer survivor and motivational speaker from Ayr in North Queensland.

At the age of 17, Keely had not grown since she was 10 years of age due to a rare and incurable form of cancer called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), which had produced a tumour on her pituitary stalk that had halted her growth. She has undergone countless rounds of chemotherapy in her young life and yet has found the drive and vision to become solely dedicated to raising funds pledging to raise $1,000,000 for childhood cancer sufferers and their families.

The Golden Octopus Foundation is a childhood cancer charity founded by Keely Johnson 22nd April, 2015. Overall there are eight groups of childhood cancer, the logo and the octopus represent these eight arms of childhood cancer.

With the support and help of her great friend and childhood hero, Lee Kernaghan, who Keely met through the Make a Wish Foundation, Keely has written and recorded a song with her mentor Lee which was written in honour of children fighting cancer, called Turn this to Gold and made it to number one on Country iTunes.  Keely has a dream to produce her own album. She has already performed at Tamworth 3 years running and is a 2016 graduate from the Junior Academy of Country Music.

Bullied at school due to looking different and having not matured, Keely felt that she couldn’t go back to school and started studying via Distance Ed from which she graduated 2016. Keely is now studying to work in the health industry.

Keely spends much of her spare time visiting (and singing to) children in hospitals throughout the state to offer support, hope and encouragement. She wants to be a “voice for kids” as she recognises that “they do not have a voice”. A wonderful and true advocate.

Keely is the consumer representative for Queensland Health and is involved in the assessment and continual improvement of Children and Adolescent Health Services in Queensland through her involvement with the consultative committee.

Recognizing Keely’s excellent service, Paul Harris Fellow Prize donates $1,000 on her behalf to Rotary International. For her contribution to the community she was also awarded the Young Citizen of the Year for the Australia Day Awards for the Burdekin Shire not long ago. 

Keely is a role model, giving love and hope to kids with cancer. She is an “inspiring, brave, sparky, shining light” in the lives of those she encounters.


                                               Dr Bronwyn Milne 

Dr Bronwyn Milne is an Adolescent Medicine Specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. She has a unique combination of specialist training with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in both Paediatrics and Addiction Medicine. This dual training was triggered by her special interest in 'substance using youth’ and her conviction that early intervention has potential to change the trajectory of a young person’s life, offering hope for a better future.

Dr Milne works within the recently expanded NSW CICADA centre, offering a lifespan approach to the Care and Intervention for Children and Adolescents affected by Drugs and Alcohol. This includes the novel consult liaison Adolescent Drug and Alcohol service, connecting adolescents presenting to hospitals with substance use with medical, mental health and drug and alcohol supports they require.  She is also involved in leadership within the youth AOD sector and is passionate about building links between the government and NGO services to better serve our youth.

She is a clinical lecturer in Paediatrics and Child Health with the University of Sydney Medical Centre and has has research interests including the development and evaluation of treatment interventions and services for young people with substance use. Dr Milne carefully balances work and family life with her adventure-loving husband and 4 young children. She is keen to see young people develop their full potential in life and is also keen to encourage more medical professionals and junior doctors to develop skills and passion for working with vulnerable youth.

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