Board and Advisors

BRAKE Driver Awareness Ltd is a not for profit Australian organisation, whose mission is to provide driver awareness programs to students, teenagers and novice drivers.

BRAKE Driver Awareness Ltd is Trustee for the BRAKE Charitable Trust, which registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), having only charitable purposes intended for the benefit of the public.

BRAKE has a Board of Directors, legally responsible for its management and the oversight of its operations.

BRAKE also has a number of individuals who provide advice on specific topics of interest to the Board, so that it may be best informed on issues relating to the management of BRAKE and the provision of its services to schools, community groups and other organisations.

BRAKE Board of Directors

Leanne Close APM – the Chairperson of BRAKE


Leanne Close APM

Leanne is a former police officer with 33 years policing, law enforcement and training experience in the Australian Federal Police (AFP), culminating as Deputy Commissioner from 2014-2019. During this time, as Deputy Commissioner National Security, Leanne was the AFP representative at the Australia /New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee. From 2015-2019, Leanne co-chaired the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing. In 2016, Leanne undertook a 12-month secondment to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department leading the Criminal Justice Group.

In 2020, Leanne led the National Security and Counter-Terrorism program for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute where she authored several articles on national security and public governance and was co-editor of the ASPI Counter-Terrorism Yearbook. In 2021, Leanne led BizRebuild, the charitable arm of the Business Council of Australia supporting economic and community recovery for businesses affected by major disasters.

Leanne currently is Chief Executive Government & Strategy, Risk 2 Solution Group and sits as a member of various Australian government and NFP boards and committees, including:

  1. Member, Sentence Administration (Parole) Board
  2. Deputy Chair, ACT Gambling and Racing Commission
  3. Chair, ACT Gambling & Racing Commission Audit & Risk Committee
  4. Non-executive director, Australian Volunteers International Board
  5. Chair, Australian Volunteers International People & Culture Committee
  6. Member, Victoria Police Audit and Risk Committee
  7. Member, Victoria Police Executive Remuneration Committee
  8. Member, Victorian Government Expert Advisory Panel on countering violent extremism
  9. Chair, Change Implementation Oversight Committee, ACT Emergency Services Agency

Leanne holds the following qualifications:

  • Master of Education Leadership
  • Graduate Certificate in Professional Development Education
  • Graduate Certificate in Applied Management
  • Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment.


Robert Duncan (MBA) and Belinda Duncan

Robert Duncan has been a serving member of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) for over 30 years. Rob previously served in the Australian Army and the Australian Federal Police.

Rob has been involved in several change management initiatives for the QPS which have resulted in improved morale, reduced sick leave and better crime statistics. He also developed and led several major QPS operations targeting various criminal groups, which resulted in increased arrests, declining crime rates and positive feedback from the community.

Rob completed his Master of Business Administration at University of Southern Queensland in 2006. His other academic achievements include:

  • Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management
  • Advanced Diploma of Government
  • Diploma of Security Risk Management
  • Advanced Diploma of Work Health and Safety

Rob received the Australian Commendation for Brave Conduct; the Royal Humane Society of Australasia Silver Medal for Bravery; and, the Queensland Police Service Bravery Medal in 2006.

Belinda Duncan has a background in business administration. She is the core of the BRAKE operations. Belinda has managed BRAKE’s finance, administration and communications since it was founded in 2005.

Belinda is the primary contact with schools, teachers and students and is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the BRAKE Online System.

BRAKE Founders Robert Duncan and Belinda Duncan

John Bartholomew

John Bartholomew

Over 30 years of experience in occupational health safety and operational executive management roles within both the public and private sectors; across a range of industries including health, community safety, emergency services, mining and rail.

The primary responsibilities within these roles have been focused upon improving organisational performance through the implementation of innovative business process and performance solutions, effective change management and cultural change and performance improvement.

This has been applied to a wide range of disciplines including, leadership, operations, production, human resources, risk management and workplace, health, and safety.

John has a reputation for being results driven, largely through effective leadership, management and interpersonal skills and a genuine thirst for improvement.

Emma Thompson Bachelor of Film, Television and Radio Production

Emma was appointed Executive Manager for Eureka Productions in 2019 after working on the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

Eureka is a leading Australian TV production company specialising in programs for the national and international market. She worked directly with the company’s CEO, CCO and the Executive Management team.

Emma has extensive experience in budgeting and budget reconciliation, and responsibility for internal and external messaging, promotions and marketing.

She played a support role for multiple television projects in varying capacities including project development, production coordinating and art coordination. She is currently completing an overseas assignment with a Los Angeles based production company, ITV America.

Emma Thompson

John Duncan – Director & Operations Manager

John Duncan BA, BSc (Psyc)

John is a skilled marketing and social media specialist and has long been contributing to BRAKE operations and promotions as a volunteer.

Since we began the development of the new BRAKE BOS online application, John has been responsible content generation, testing and deployment of the cloud-based system, while also managing the strategic operations of BRAKE.

Advisors to the Board

Bob Atkinson

Robert “Bob” Atkinson AO, APM

Bob Atkinson was the Queensland Police Commissioner from 2000 to late 2012. Bob’s significant achievements include overseeing responses to Cyclone Larry in 2006 and the 2010–11 Queensland flood and cyclone disasters, reductions in crime and the road toll, enforcing welfare support, advocating for multiculturalism, and increasing Police Liaison Officer positions including the first Sudanese and Muslim positions.

In 2013, he was appointed as one of 6 Commissioners for the 5-year Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Bob’s contribution has continued in advisory roles for youth justice, sentencing for child homicide offences, and as the Chair of the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce.

Dr Hugh Shannon PhD, BScApp(HMS-Ed) (Hons)

Dr Hugh Shannon is a Senior Lecturer in Health and Physical Education (HPE) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Hugh is a consultant for the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) and has been involved in syllabus development and assessment moderation in Queensland for twenty years. Other service to the teaching profession includes roles as board member for the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) Queensland branch and member of the Australian Health Promoting Schools Committee.

Dr Shannon is a regular presenter of professional development and author of health education resources for teachers and is well regarded in the profession for these contributions. Hugh is committed to road safety and is an advocate for road safety education in schools. Road safety is included in the Australian Curriculum: HPE for years P – 10 and is an elective offering in Unit 3 of the Health General Senior Syllabus for years 11 and 12 in Queensland.

Hugh is also a registered teacher and has school teaching and leadership experience. Through his work at QUT, Hugh is responsible for pre-service teacher education with teaching and research expertise in health education, health promotion, health literacy, curriculum, assessment and pedagogy.

Dr Hugh Shannon

Brendan Begley

Brendan Begley BBus(Hons), BEd(Accy&Econ), GradCertEd(Math)

Brendan Begley currently holds the positions of Deputy Principal Senior Secondary at Cairns State High School and Auxiliary Firefighter at Gordonvale Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. With a strong passion for road safety, Brendan actively works to promote awareness and educate young people on safe practices.

Outside of his educational role, Brendan serves as an Auxiliary Firefighter at Gordonvale Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. Through this role, he contributes to the safety and welfare of the community responding to numerous types of emergencies, with a large proportion of these being road incidents.

Brendan’s advocacy for road safety, particularly among young people, showcases his dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of others. Recognising the importance of educating youth about safe practices and the potential consequences of reckless behaviour, he actively participates in road safety campaigns and initiatives. Through his work, Brendan strives to empower young people to make responsible decisions on the road and reduce the incidence of accidents.

Peter Smith

Peter is an experienced software developer with expertise in digital media production, sales and management.

Peter trained with the ABC, Film Australia and the Nine Network as a cameraman, then as writer, director and executive producer. He has won awards for cinematography, directing and producing in film, television and documentaries.

Smith operated his own software and digital media company, producing corporate communications for companies in the Finance, Telecom, IT, Medical & Pharmaceutical, High Technology, FMCG and Property sectors.

Peter also created several distributed multimedia applications and cloud-based retail management products sold into international markets. He has been an active supporter of BRAKE for over a decade.

Peter Smith