Enhancing the quality of life for all Queensland communities


Leigh Cunningham

    Leigh Cunningham is a lawyer with a career as a senior executive for a number of public companies in Australia and global companies headquartered in Singapore where she lived for 12 years. 

Prior to returning to Australia to take up her current position as CEO for IPWEAQ, Leigh was the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Association of Independent Authors and previously, Director Finance & Operations, Asia for Worldtrade Management Services (a business unit of PricewaterhouseCoopers). 

Leigh has 24 years’ experience in membership organisations including as the CEO for the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators, Australia and concurrently as the Secretary-General for the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, and as the Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Project Management.

Leigh has three master’s degrees in law, commerce and an MBA where she graduated ‘Top Student’. She is also the author of four multi award-winning books.

CEO's Report
June 2018

We continue to build on the strength and capabilities of our team at IPWEAQ with two new Management Accountants joining us in April to job share the role (two days each per week).

Celine Gildfind and Carla Caro are both CPAs with different yet complimentary skillsets and experiences to allow us to develop the role in two directions simultaneously. This move is to position IPWEAQ for a longer term sustainable future focussing on continued reductions in expenditure where possible while we pursue new opportunities for revenue sources. This also offers us an opportunity to automate more transactional processes which will free our Management Accountants’ time so they can focus on more strategic accounting.

Membership renewal subscription notices will be sent to members first week of June and we look forward to your ongoing participation and contribution to our community. Although we believe the value proposition for membership of IPWEAQ is very convincing, from an economical perspective, it is a simple one - the cost of membership at $280 per annum is returned when you register for a single course or conference with our non-member registration fees being $300 more than the member rate. If you aim to achieve 50 CPD hours each year, savings for you and your employer will be significant.

Another major project for us this year, in addition to the Street Planning & Design Manual is the development of the native title portal, a need which arises from the critical consequences of the landmark Timber Creek case in the Northern Territory. In summary, on appeal, the Full Court of the Federal Court, confirmed the lower court’s award of compensation to the Claim Group of $3.3 million. The Northern Territory government was held liable to pay compensation for extinguishing the Claim Group’s rights over the land and waters around the township of Timber Creek.  

Despite numerous cases in the past that considered the operation of the Native Title Act, the primary judge’s decision was the first to ever consider and apply the compensation scheme under s61 of the Act regarding the extinguishment or impairment of native title.

Arising from this case, it is imperative that councils ensure they take the necessary steps to avoid extinguishing or impairing native title and the portal under development aims to offer an ‘easier’ path through the very complex process of determining what action a council should take prior to deciding on a public works. We hope to launch the portal at the IPWEAQ annual conference on the Gold Coast in October. Mark Lamont, our Information Resources Manager is currently talking with developers on the design of the web-based App. If you would like to learn more about the portal, please contact Mark.Lamont@ ipweaq.com.

And now for some disappointing news - Ross Guppy, our Director, Technical Products will be leaving us at the end of June to pursue an opportunity he simply could not refuse as the National Program Manager – Assets with Austroads based in Sydney. We wish Ross the very best and encourage him to influence the stature of ADAC in his new role. In the interim, we are very pleased to have John Derbyshire step into the position to allow us time to review and restructure the role to focus more on the technical aspects and critical industry-wide relationships with key stakeholders ie less administration. Are you the new Ross? If you are interested in joining our team in a relaxed, enjoyable yet professional work environment, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Leigh Cunningham

Chief Executive Officer