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
Chair and Director
Louise has significant experience in consumer affairs policy analysis and advocacy. She is Chair of the Reliable Affordable Clean Energy (RACE) for 2030, Cooperative Research Centre, a non-executive Director of: the Social Enterprise Fund Australia, Impact Investing Australia, the Australian Risk Policy Institute, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation; and member of the Advisory Panels of the Australian Privacy Foundation and the Obesity Collective. 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 (ACCC) 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 (IPART) 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
Director, Member Risk and Audit Committee
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, The Crawford Fund, Larrakia Development Corporation 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 General Manager Policy and Research at St Vincent de Paul Society, Victoria. Gavin has worked as a consumer representative in the energy sector for over 29 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 Victorian, New South Wales and South Australian distribution company consultative committees, AGL's national customer council, the Australian Energy Regulator and the Essential Services Commission of Victoria’s customer consultative groups and a Board member of the Energy and Water Ombudsman scheme (Victoria).
Gavin was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the community in 2001.
Director, Chair Reference Committee
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 Industry 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 the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, People's Choice Credit Union, sportsmed SA, Anglicare SA and Agency Projects. She is also the Independent Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the Public Trustee, South Australia and the Independent Chair of the Department of Premier and Cabinet Risk and Performance Committee.
The Energy Consumers Australia team are committed to promoting the long-term interests of Australian residential and small business energy consumers.
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.
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.
Acting Director, Governance & Corporate
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.
Acting 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.
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.
Acting 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.
Advocacy and Communications Manager
Ciara has joined the Advocacy and Communications team in a management capacity with a focus on the strategic development and optimisation of Energy Consumers Australia’s digital channels.
Ciara is a digital communications and marketing professional with more than eight years of experience in a wide range of industries including sport, gold mining and publishing. With a background in television production, Ciara has a solid understanding of what makes innovative and engaging content and excels at applying her creative ideas to the more technical, data-based aspects of marketing and strategic communications across social media and websites.
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.
Executive Support Officer
Helen has over 15 years’ experience in executive support/assistance roles. She has worked in aged care, alternative energy storage, telecommunications, corporate and not for profit sectors across a range of industries.
Helen brings experience in event management, board governance and executive assistance. She completed a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture through University of NSW and holds a Diploma in Horticulture.
Business Process Officer
Kim has a wealth of administrative, financial and senior management experience gained in
the not-for profit sector and prior to this, she managed Financial Service Companies.
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.
Since joining the energy sector in 2002, Craig has managed demand- and supply-side energy projects; provided economic, technical and policy advice to government, community and private sectors; sat on numerous advisory panels and representative groups; designed and delivered training programs; engaged with consumers and communities across Australia; and provided thought leadership on existing and emerging challenges for the sector.
Craig has represented energy users for the last decade, and now leads the Energy and Water Consumer Advocacy Program (EWCAP) at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. EWCAP promotes access to affordable, sustainable energy and water for NSW households, through improvements in policy, regulation, markets and supporting measures for people facing hardship and disadvantage.
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 also chairs the NIC Energy Committee.
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 Simon is Chief Executive Officer, Hydrogen Mobility Australia. She has a deep understanding of energy policy and regulation from close to 20 years working in the field. Her area of specialisation is retail energy consumer protections in the competitive market.
Fiona has accumulated significant expertise in executive management in the energy sector through her previous roles at ACIL Allen Consulting; Kinloch Consulting; FPL Advisory; ERM Power; Energy Retailers Association of Australia and Origin Energy.
Fiona studied Bachelor of Arts (Hons) University of Melbourne and completed a PhD from University of Melbourne. She completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.
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.
Justine Jarvinen (JJ) is CEO UNSW Energy Institute. She is an energy executive with international experience spanning the energy, finance, education and non-profit sectors over 25 years. JJ specialises in leading innovation, change and incubating corporate initiatives until they become established and flourish. Her policy and advocacy work have shaped public debate.
JJ was initially employed by the world’s top energy companies including ExxonMobil and Shell in engineering, planning and economics roles. Following on from this, she became a highly respected analyst at JB Were and later, Harrison Lovegrove & Co and New Philanthropy Capital. She joined AGL Energy and later Finncorn Consulting.
JJ is a Non-Executive Director and member of the Board’s Investment Committee of Milton Corporation Limited; Chairman of Wattwatchers and Non-Executive Director of Pollinate Energy.
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.
Ross has had an extensive involvement in community services over many years and is driven by the idea that we live in a community in which everyone is included and has access the good things in life. He is the CEO of the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) – the peak body for the non-government community and health sector leading the fight against poverty.
Across time he has filled many roles including as a manager, advocate, teacher, leader, evaluator, mentor and consultant. He has served on a range of Boards and committees, has been deeply involved in both training and the evaluation of human services. Ross has a formal background and qualifications in Psychology.
Ross continues to deepen and extend his understanding of many of the issues he has always been passionate about as he works to assist SACOSS fulfill its aspirational vision - that there is justice, opportunity and wealth for all South Australians. This includes an interest in the critical role that access to affordable energy and other essential services can play in the lives of vulnerable people.
Sebastian Klein is an independent consultant with capability in renewables, energy efficiency, bioenergy, resource recovery, virtual power-plants, microgrids and energy storage. He is a motivated systems thinker, driven by solving problems for the betterment of the community and society. His particular interests regarding the ECA Reference Committee lie in energy regulation, democratisation of the energy grid and ensuring that consumer choice is promoted and protected by the transition to a smart grid.
He believes that competitive markets for consumer-based energy services are a critical and transformative step in the transition to an efficient, flexible and renewable grid of the future.
Sebastian is the current Chair of Grampians Central West Waste Resources Recovery Group; and sits on the Victorian Chairs and EO’s Waste Resources Recovery Forum; and the Hepburn Shire Zero Net Emissions Transition Roundtable.
Carmel has been involved with consumer issues for many years, focusing on fair outcomes for all consumers particularly those who are disadvantaged.
She is the CEO of Care Financial Counselling and Consumer Law Centre of the ACT (Care) and has worked with the organisation since 1992. Carmel has been the chairperson of the national peak body Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) since 2009 and has been instrumental in the development and professionalism of the financial counselling sector.
Carmel is a Consumer Director on the board of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority. She is also on the board of the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission. She is a member of the ATO Individual Stewardship Group and the ACT’s Energy Consortium.