The Energy Consumers Australia Board Members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in consumer advocacy, the energy market and regulation. Each Director brings their own unique perspective to the strategic direction of Energy Consumers Australia.
Louise Sylvan, AM, FAICD
Chair and Director
Louise Sylvan is Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Sydney. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Deputy Chair of the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing, and a Non-Executive Director of Impact Investing Australia, the Social Enterprise Fund Australia, the Australian Risk Policy Institute and Member of the Advisory Panel of the Australian Privacy Foundation. Formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, Louise was also a Commissioner of the Productivity Commission and Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission where she was appointed for her expertise in consumer affairs.
Chris Spangaro has a background in law and public policy. Chris is a former Senior Director of the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) where he led the Retail and Wholesale Markets team addressing key aspects of consumer energy pricing and protection as well as the reshaping of wholesale market rules. Chris retired from the AEMC in 2017.
Chris previously worked for the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal as General Manager of the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (GGAS) and as Manager, Water Pricing. Prior to his engagement with IPART Chris was with the NSW Cabinet Office and the NSW Ministry for Police in senior policy roles. The earlier part of Chris’s career was with the NSW Probation and Parole Service working primarily in disadvantaged communities across rural and urban NSW.
Dr Helen Garnett, FTSE, FAICD
Helen Garnett has held a wide range of directorships on government entities and ASX-listed companies in the energy, mining, agriculture and education sectors as well as entities involved in regional economic development and the arts. Helen currently chairs Generator Property Management and is a director of Grains Research and Development Corporation, Sugar Research Australia, The Crawford Fund and Developing East Arnhem Land. Helen is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Helen was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003 and the Public Service Medal in 2004.
Gavin Dufty is Manager Policy and Research at St Vincent de Paul Society, Victoria. Gavin has worked as a consumer representative in the energy sector for over 28 years undertaking research and policy evaluation on its impacts on domestic consumers.
Gavin is currently a representative of a number of industry and government committees including; gas and electricity distribution company customer consultative committees, AEMC's reliability panel, AGL's national customer council, AEMO's energy market leaders forum and the AER customer consultative group.
Gavin was awarded a centennial medal for services to community in 2001.
Virginia is a lawyer, corporate governance expert and a company director. She was previously a partner of commercial law firm, Finlaysons. Virginia has significant experience in national regulatory environments through her previous governance positions as a National Competition Councillor, a National Transport Commissioner, and as the Independent Chair of the Telecommunications Ombudsman Council. Virginia's private sector board positions have included Flinders Ports Pty Ltd, a private company which owns the Port of Adelaide ports. She has also been on a range of government boards as well as on a number of private, government and not for profits.
Virginia is currently a director of People's Choice Credit Union, SportsMed SA, the Independent Chair of Fertility SA, the chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee of Public Trustee, South Australia and a member of the Governance Committee of Anglicare SA.
The Energy Consumers Australia team are committed to promoting the long-term interests of Australian residential and small business energy consumers.
Rosemary Sinclair AM
Rosemary Sinclair is the CEO of Energy Consumers Australia, a company established by the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council of Ministers in 2015 to strengthen independent consumer advocacy on national energy market matters of strategic importance and material consequence for energy consumers, in particular household and small business consumers.
Energy Consumers Australia focuses on the long-term interests of consumers of energy with respect to the price, quality, safety, reliability and security of supply of energy services.
Rosemary is a Director of CPA Australia and a recent past Member (part-time) of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Rosemary has many years of senior large-scale operations, communications and strategy experience in business and government across telecommunications, media and education.
Rosemary has held a number of Directorships on unlisted company and not-for-profit Boards, both Australia and international.
Rosemary received the Order of Australia Award in the 2018 Queen's birthday Honours List.
Rosemary has degrees in Arts, Law and Business and a Masters of Commerce from UNSW. Rosemary is a qualified CPA and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Associate Director, Operations
Elizabeth Lawler has over twenty years experience in operations and governance. Previous roles include Executive Officer at the Australian School of Business at UNSW, and Company Secretary and Executive Officer at the Australian Telecommunications Users Group.
With experience in membership, events, project management and communication at senior levels as well as board governance, Ms Lawler brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the advocacy and not-for-profit sector to her role at ECA.
Senior Economist, CEO Secretariat
David Havyatt has joined ECA in the position of Senior Economist in the CEO Secretariat. In this role David will be providing support to ECA in economic analysis and assisting the CEO in maintaining focus on the policy objective of the Long Term Interest of Consumers.
David joins ECA after a long career in telecommunications including senior sales,strategy and regulatory roles working for Telstra, AAPT, Hutchison and Unwired. More recently he has operated his own consultancy in policy issues in the Digital Economy as well as freelance writing. This was interrupted by two and a half years as a senior adviser to the Minister (and Shadow Minister) for Communications.
In his telco roles David has delivered outcomes for consumers including chairing industry working committees to deliver number portability and consumer protection codes. He was a long time champion of consumer advocate interest in a single consumer code and played a number of roles as both a consultant and adviser in the delivery of the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code that has resulted in a steady decline in escalated complaints in the industry.
He has been a contributor and speaker to the work of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, which is an organization with a similar remit to ECA. In his regulatory and adviser roles he has been engaged in the detail of the economic regulation of telecommunications and the setting of access prices for network services.
David holds a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Economics. He is a former Board member of the TIO, ACIF (now Communications Alliance) and AMTA, and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Lynne is an economist/econometrician by qualification and has substantial experience in economic modelling and policy reform processes, including working with the Council of Australian Governments, and in strategic issues management in the corporate sector. Her career has seen her spend 15 years in a technical environment, followed by 12 years in practice and as an adviser. Prior to her appointment as ECA's Director of Research, Lynne was Executive Director, Industry Development at Energy Networks Australia. Lynne brings to ECA strong insights, a strategic focus and a consumer advocacy perspective which has been honed from her work with network businesses, retailers and regulators.
Associate Director, Research
Kerry Connors has been with ECA since its inception, building on her extensive experience on energy consumer issues, previously as Executive Director of the Consumer Advocacy Panel, and the inaugural Executive Officer of the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre. She has also worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including a posting to the Australian Embassy in Seoul, and has managed her own consultancy business, strengthening relations between the private and community sectors.
Ms Connors also sits on the Management Committee of Manly Women's Shelter.
Associate Director, Research
Jim has almost twenty years of experience in energy issues, both as a consumer advocate and then working government. He has extensive experience in energy policy and regulatory matters, including economic determinations and was involved in the development of the National Energy Consumer Framework. Jim has also been responsible for key energy programs for the NSW Government including overseeing the development of energy rebate programs and managing the Accredited Service Provider scheme.
Jim's previous roles include Manager, Programs at the then NSW Department of Trade & Investment and Senior Policy Officer at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. His work history roles has enabled Jim to build a strong understanding of the technical, economic and environmental issues facing the energy industry.
Director, Advocacy and Communications
Chris is a public and industry professional specialising in energy and has eight years experience working in Australia and the United Kingdom. Chris has qualifications in Economics, Law, and Government Management.
Before returning to Australia to join ECA, Chris was Head of Energy Regulation with Citizens Advice/Consumer Futures and a member of the senior management team in the energy division. Chris brings to ECA his highly developed communication, analytical and stakeholder management skills.
His proven track record developing innovative solutions to complex commercial and public policy challenges is a great advantage for ECA and consumers within the energy sector.
Associate Director, Advocacy and Communications
Shelley has eight years of experience in developing and implementing regulatory policy in energy for the NSW Government.
Working through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council, she was involved in the development of national reforms that helped electricity integrate new technologies and drive transparency in the gas market.
Shelley received the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy Australia Day Achievement Award 2018 for her participation in the National Energy Market Security Review Taskforce which supported work the Finkel Review.
Associate Director, Advocacy and Communications
Jacqueline is Associate Director of the Advocacy and Communications team with a focus on Australia’s retail energy markets.
Jacqueline has a wealth of energy policy and regulatory experience, gained through more than ten years in the energy industry. In her most recent role as Manager National Energy Policy for NSW Government, Jacqueline developed and implemented priority energy projects and represented NSW in the implementation of national energy policies. Jacqueline has had experience across the energy industry, working in roles at the Australian Energy Market Commission and energy retail.
Aaron is a qualified CPA possessing over 16 years accounting experience in a broad range of accounting roles across the Hotel, Hospitality and Sporting industries. Aaron specialises in financial reporting, analysis and budgeting.
Prior to joining Energy Consumers Australia Aaron worked for the National Rugby League where he oversaw the budgets for the High Performance, Club Services, Pacific Program and Women's Rugby League cost centres. He was also involved in fostering the international game assisting both the Rugby League International Federation and Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation.
Our Reference Committee
The Energy Consumers Australia Reference Committee members are chosen on the basis of their expertise and represent a broad cross section of all of our stakeholder groups. The Committee advises the Board on emerging consumer issues and the development of Energy Consumers Australia's work program.
Ash Salardini is the Chief Economist at the New South Wales Farmer's Association. Ash has a keen interest in energy related matters from a consumer and small business perspective, given the energy intensive nature of agriculture, and given that farmers are largely small businesses.
Prior to his work with the Association, Ash has held positions in the private, government and non-government sectors, including Economist at the Australian Railways Association, and policy positions at the NSW Business Chamber, and Department of Premier and Cabinet. Ash studied Commerce/Law at the University of Sydney, and completing an MBA from Warwick Business School.
Craig Memery is the Policy Team Leader for energy advocacy at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
Craig has accumulated significant expertise in energy consumer advocacy through his previous roles at the Alternative Technology Association and Energy Consumers Australia.
Craig has qualifications in electrotechnology, renewable energy and professional writing, with further training including project management, sustainable building design and data analytics.
Gerard Brody is CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC), and has over ten years experience as a consumer advocate and lawyer. Mr Brody has represented consumers on a number of bodies, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Consumer Consultative Committee, and the Australian Energy Regulator's Customer Consultative Group. He is also a Consumer Director of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria.
Mr Brody's advocacy efforts are focused on ensuring the market works for all consumers, but particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. He is concerned about mis-selling practices, having led the nationwide Do Not Knock campaign. He would like to see fairer contracts as well as more inclusive, responsive and respectful customer service cultures.
Dale Holliss is the manager of Bundaberg CANEGROWERS Ltd, Company Secretary for the Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group and is the Deputy Chair on the National Irrigators Council where he is the Energy Committee Chair.
He has a background in sustainable agricultural management, rural finance and economics.
Dale has extensive experience in irrigated sugar cane production systems across Queensland as well as a diverse range of horticultural crops.
Fiona Hawthorne currently works in the Essential Services Team at QCOSS, and is involved in energy policy development, designing and delivering energy and water literacy programs, and community engagement.
Fiona previously worked for eight years as an energy auditor in home energy visit programs for low income households and people in hardship, including refugees and asylum seekers. With experience in Community Recovery and coordinating two community centres in SEQ, Fiona understands the cost of living pressures on households today and is committed to reducing them equitably through both policy and practical programs.
Jo De Silva
Jo is a member of the leadership team at the South Australian Council of Social Service and directs the organisation's energy, water and climate program. Jo was an inaugural Member of the Consumer Challenge Panel and continued on the Panel in its second iteration.
Jo is currently the Convenor of the National Consumer Roundtable on Energy, Member of the Australian Gas Networks Reference Committee, ElectraNet Consumer Panel, AGL Customer Council and SA Power Networks Customer Reference Group. Jo has an extensive national and international network spanning a wide variety of sectors.
Jo's previous work experience includes Economics and Social Justice Adviser to Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown and Tasmanian Regional Activism Coordinator of Amnesty International.
Robert Mallett is currently the CEO of the Tasmanian Small Business Council (Tasmania's peak small business advocacy body) and also holds the position of CEO of Hair & Beauty Tasmania (Tasmania's statewide industry association specifically supporting the hair & beauty sector).
His passion for the small business sector has spanned several decades as both a small business owner and a fierce advocate for small business owners both in Tasmania and throughout the nation.
Robert is a past Chair of COSBOA (the national small business peak organisation) and has held several positions on Small Business Ministerial advisory groups.
Robin Eckermann is widely known for leading the creation of TransACT and serving as its Chief Architect during TransACT's $250m advanced broadband rollout in Canberra (2000-2003).
He has extensive experience in advanced network initiatives and served on two reviews of regional telecommunications, reporting to Parliament in 2012 & 2015. From 2012-2103 he chaired Smart Grid Australia, a not-for-profit body established to advocate for electricity network modernisation, is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra, a Fellow of Engineers Australia and in 2016 was inducted to the Pearcey Hall of Fame for lifetime contributions to the telecommunications industry.
Bernadette Jago is Senior Policy Analyst responsible for energy and climate issues at the Tasmanian Council of Social Services (TASCOSS).
Bernadette is a member of the Australian Energy Regulator Consumer Consultative Committee, National Consumer Roundtable on Energy and Community Coalition for Healthy, Affordable Homes. Her state-based memberships include the Aurora Energy Vulnerable Customer Reference Committee, TasNetworks Customer Council and the Tasmanian Regulator Customer Consultative Group. Bernadette is currently the Vice President of Holyoake Tasmania and a Board Member of Family Planning Tasmania.
Bernadette’s previous work spans the government, non-government and private sectors, and includes senior management positions in the public and private sectors as well as an Associate in an executive search company in the UK. In Tasmania, she has served as Director of Housing and in ministerial posts as Chief of Staff in Health and Human Services portfolios, the latter a position she also held in the Northern Territory. Her background in complex human services gives her a holistic understanding of the interplay between energy, housing and disadvantage.