Management Committee

The 2015/16 Executive is made up of the following member organisations and their nominated representatives:

Leah Clarke  

Martin Bidgood

Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services - Term Expires 2017

After obtaining a BA(Hons) degree in International Hospitality Management from Bournemouth University in 1999, Martin embarked on a career in the tourism industry, working for a variety of London based tour operators in both operations and product focused roles before joining Aragon Tours, a leading shore excursion provider within the UK cruise market.

Following the acquisition of Aragon Tours in 2009, Martin was appointed as Regional Director UK & Ireland – overseeing all operations throughout the region. In March 2011, Martin relocated to Sydney to assume the role of Regional Director Australia, where he drives business growth in one of the world’s fastest growing cruise regions.

Martin was born in London and is married to his wife Sarah and has two young children, Evie and Harry.


Anne McVilly

Port Arthur Historic Authority- Term expires 2018

Anne has almost 20 years’ experience in the Tasmanian tourism and cruise industry and 10 in Information Technology. Anne also holds an International Travel Agents licence which provides for an extensive knowledge of on line bookings and distribution.

Anne is currently the Director of Tourism Operations at Port Arthur Historic Sites Management Authority (PAHSMA). PAHSMA operates Port Arthur, Coal Mines and Cascades Female Factory Historic Sites which are 3 of the eleven historic places that together form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. PAHSMA are key stakeholders in the cruise sector via dual roles as an emerging cruise destination and as popular shore excursion program components. Anne oversees everything tourism for the sites including cruise development; visitor services; food & beverage; retail; guiding; new product development and visitor satisfaction. 

Anne has demonstrated experience in the cruise sector - in the development of new products and shore excursion itineraries; working with inbound, wholesale, retail and online travel partners; organising meet and greet programs; engagement of local community, retail & tourism sectors; customs and quarantine operations and development of volunteer programs.


John McKenna

Sydney Ports Corporation - Term expires 2018

John currently manages Cruise Operations on behalf of Sydney Port Corporation. John is responsible for cruise terminal operations at the new White Bay terminal and the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. He works closely with the cruise lines to ensure successful operations in Australia’s largest market.

John joined Sydney Ports in September 2011 after spending 12 years with the Virgin Airlines group where he held positions of Manager of International Operations and Operations Manager of Guest Services. John has worked in airports throughout the world such as London, Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg after starting his career with Irish carrier Aer Lingus


Julie O’Brien

Destination and Experience Development Specialist
Tourism and Events Queensland - Term Expires 2018

Julie has over 20 years’ experience in the tourism industry in both the public and private sector.  She is passionate about delivering the best quality Queensland experience to the consumer and has worked in the development of the cruise sector in Queensland for the past few years.

Julie’s strong relationships with key stakeholders within the cruise industry provides TEQ with an in-depth understanding of the market’s current needs and future potential.

Summary of attributes :

  • Extensive knowledge and experience in the cruise/tourism industry
  • Thorough understanding of the Queensland tourism industry and particularly the issues, impediments and growth potential of the cruise market sector
  • Detailed knowledge of the Queensland destinations and products
  • Established relationships with key stakeholders, including cruise lines, ports, cruise media, inbound tour operators and international itinerary planners
  • Effective communications and interpersonal skills
  • Analytical and lateral thinking abilities
  • Full understanding of regulatory environment around the cruise shipping sector
Jill Abel  

Jill Abel

Chief Executive Officer

July 2016 to June 2018

Jill commenced her work in the cruise industry in 1995 when she became a consultant to Hobart Ports (now Tasports) looking after the operational aspects of the cruise ship visits. The position developed to include the Executive Officer role of Cruise Tasmania, marketing the state as a cruise ship destination. Jill worked in this role for ten years until 2005.

In February of 2005 Jill was appointed General Manager of Australian Cruise Association, the peak industry marketing body and in 2015 appointed as Chief Executive Officer. Australian Cruise Association is responsible for the marketing of Australia and the Pacific to the cruise ship industry. Jill manages the marketing initiatives of the member based organisation that includes international sales missions, attendance at international cruise events, website development, membership development and representation, brochure production and media. Jill is responsible for the management of the Economic Impact Study, presented annually, identifying the benefits of the Australian Cruise Ship Industry. Jill represents Australian Cruise Association on a range of Federal Government working committees working with the whole of industry to address current and future issues and is also the secretary of the organisation.

Jill has a Diploma of Business (Tourism) and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


For further information, download the Management Committee Position Description.