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.
Steven Graham is a former Chief Executive of the Australian Energy Market Commission, a position he held from early 2006, until mid-2013. He has held several commercial and change management roles across the national electricity market and government, including roles in RailCorp, Eraring Energy, Pacific Power and NSW Treasury. He has extensive experience in the development of efficient organisations, finance, information technology, project management, commercial contract negotiation, contract management and corporate governance. As Chief Executive of the Australian Energy Market Commission, Steven was responsible for the establishment of a professional, highly regarded energy market institution focused on the long-term interests of consumers. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has served on a range of boards including Pacific Western Pty Ltd, Energy Efficient Research Centre Ltd and Eraring Holdings Pty Ltd. He is currently a member of the board of St Lucy's School Wahroonga.
Catherine Cooper was a past member of the Consumer Advocacy Panel. She has senior management experience with large companies including Elders Ltd, Futuris Corporation and Fosters Brewing Group. She has been involved in a number of industries including energy, finance, banking, insurance, agribusiness, legal and commercial, and health and education. Catherine is the Chairperson of Council Solutions -Shared Services/ Procurement and holds a number of directorships in a range of organisations including Australian Eggs, Beston Global Foods Company, GPEX - Medical Education and Training and is also a Member of the District Court Panel Experts - Barley Industry, District Court Assessment Panel Member pursuant to the Gas Act 1997, Member South Australia Health Audit and Risk Committee, Member Risk and Audit Committee, Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, South Australia and Chair, Environmental Protection Authority. She is also a commissioner with the Australian Fisheries Management Commission. Catherine is Chair of the Energy Consumers Australia Risk and Audit Committee.
Clare Petre was the Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW from 1998 to 2014. She was previously the Senior Assistant Commonwealth Ombudsman. Clare has experience in the community sector, with government, and the media. She has worked with community legal centres, as a reporter with ABC TV's 4 Corners and The Investigators, and in the health system. Ms Petre has served on a range of NSW and Commonwealth government advisory bodies, and on the boards of community groups, including ACOSS. Clare was Chair of the Australian & New Zealand Ombudsman Association. Clare is currently a Board member of City West Housing, Chair Code of Conduct Committee, Australian Council for International Development, Chair Consumer Advocacy Trust, Commissioner Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission, Customer Advocate NAB. Clare is Chair of the Energy Consumers Australia Board 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 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.
Director, Strategic Engagement
Sabiene has legal and business qualifications with senior leadership experience in law, management, stakeholder and consumer engagement across government, industry and not for profit sectors here in Australia and overseas.
Her career spans over 15 years, initially in legal practice with Allens Linklaters where she was involved in the privatisation of electricity assets in SA with particular focus on competition and regulatory issues. She went on to specialise in new technologies, intellectual property, competition and consumers laws. As General Manager, Music Rights Australia (MRA), for over 5 years she was heavily involved in lobbying, educational initiatives and intellectual property protection for 2,000 industry members. At the NBN, she worked as General Manager, Stakeholder Relations where she both formulated and implemented sophisticated stakeholder engagement strategies involving the telco industry, consumers, small businesses, education and government.
With a strong interest in innovation, Sabiene has written over 50 publications with emphasis on emerging technologies and consumer outcomes. She also is a non-executive director on several boards involved in the arts and education.
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.
Digital Strategy and Production Manager
Phil Bourne is the Digital Strategy and Production Manager of Energy Consumers Australia. He is a communications professional with over 10 years experience. Phil specialises in social media, video content and digital strategy.
Phil has spent the previous three years creating digital content at the University of NSW. Phil's previous role was Digital Content Editor with the Nova radio network, where he collaborated with the radio shows and developed the digital audiences.
Phil studied media at the University of Adelaide and is using his knowledge and expertise to develop exciting new ways for Energy Consumers Australia to connect with stakeholders.
James has a management accountancy qualification (CIMA) obtained while working as an accountant in the UK. He has experience in both the private sector, qualifying while working at P&O's container shipping arm, and the not-for profit space including the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden and Dockland Settlements, a small community centre-based charity supporting families suffering financial hardship in London's east end.
He took advantage of dual citizenship to emigrate to Sydney in 2014 and has since worked as the finance manager at breast care charity McGrath Foundation and as a tax consultant at high-street tax accountants H&R Block.
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
Kristine Eslick has worked for over eight years in project management with NSW Government and more than 20 years as an executive assistant in various roles within public and private sectors.
In particular, she therefore brings extensive experience in planning, managing and organisation to her ECA role of Executive Support Officer.
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.
Gavin is currently employed as the manager of 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; a number of gas and electricity distribution companies customer consultative committees, AEMC's reliability panel, AGL's national customer council, AEMO's energy market leaders forum, the AER customer consultative group and Energy Consumers Australia reference committee.
Gavin was awarded a centennial medal for services to community in 2001.
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.