Keep up to date by subscribing to the Hardship & Affordability mailing list. Click here to be redirected to the sign up form.
Lynne Chester, an economist, is an energy researcher at the University of Sydney. Previously she has held positions at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy, Curtin University, and the University of New South Wales.
She has written extensively on the Australian electricity sector, restructuring of energy markets and energy security. Her current research focus includes the economic-energy-environment relation, electricity generation capacity, household energy affordability, electricity and carbon derivatives, and markets for goods and services previously provided direct by government. She has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in economics, the environment, public policy, risk management, infrastructure provision and research methods.
Lynne has been Chair of AGL’s Customer Council since early 2012 and an Advisory Committee Member for the Power Savers Project funded by the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program.
She was an independent member of the Federal Government’s 2011-12 Energy White Paper Reference Group, and a former Board member for the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (2009 – 2015) and the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (2011-14).
Prior to academia, Lynne worked as a consultant to the Asian Development Bank, a senior executive with two of Australia’s largest utilities (the former Energy Australia and Sydney Water), Chief of Staff to Federal Government Ministers, and an economic adviser to the South Australian Premier.
Pat is Managing Director of Yarra Valley Water, Victoria’s largest water utility, providing essential water and sanitation services to nearly 2M people across Melbourne’s eastern and northern suburbs, with nearly $4B in assets and annual turnover of $900M.
In a career spanning over 30 years in the water industry, Pat has significant experience across a range of functions including strategy, regulation, marketing, operations, finance and information technology.
He is Chair of the Water Services Association of Australia’s Customer and Community Network.
Pat holds qualifications from Monash University and RMIT, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Fellow of the Williamson Community Leadership Program
Chris is responsible for working with member banks on setting retail policy strategy and advocacy positions on financial services, consumer protection regulation, corporate governance, and consumer policy and community programs, including retail banking accessibility, financial literacy and financial inclusion.
Chris has held a variety of risk, compliance and governance roles in the financial services industry, and most recently held the role of Associate Director, Risk Consulting at KPMG.
Chris’ professional focus is on the ways to manage and protect the interests of consumers through meaningful risk, governance and conflicts management processes.
Laura joined Credit Corp in late 2006 as the Dispute Resolution Manager. She has been in her current Customer Experience Manager role since mid-2010.
Laura is responsible for the development of operational policy and procedural guidelines incorporating feedback from important stakeholders such as financial counsellors and those with whom they work, in addition to being the escalation point for not for profit organisations.
Prior to joining Credit Corp, Laura’s background has been predominately in the customer service field. Most recently, Laura worked for a major credit card provider in the UK and held a number of managerial positions including project management, contact centre management and dispute resolution.
Lauren is the Manager of Retail & Social Policy at AGL and works on policy and program development relating to energy affordability, energy efficiency and broader consumer market development.
Lauren also leads AGL’s community engagement for the Retail Energy business and manages AGL’s Customer Council. Prior to joining AGL, Lauren worked on policy & advocacy for the Clean Energy Council in the areas of energy efficiency and emerging technologies and has worked in a range of policy advisory roles across the NSW Government. Lauren holds an honours degree in Resource Economics from the University of Sydney.
Ross Womersley has had a long involvement in both the community services and disability sector. Ross joined the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) as its Executive Director several years ago after more than 25 years working as CE of Community Living Project Inc – an innovative community organisation in the south of Adelaide, providing highly personalised support to people who have a disability to enable them to develop good lives in their local community.
His role with SACOSS has allowed him to deepen and extend his understanding of many of the issues he has always been passionate about as he works to assist SACOSS fulfil its aspirational vision - that there is justice, opportunity and shared wealth for all South Australians.
Ross remains passionate about ensuring we live in a community in which everyone is included and able to access the good things in life.
Fiona Cameron is a Senior Analyst in the retail markets branch of the Australian Energy Regulator in South Australia. She works in the area of retail energy authorisations and exemptions, and is involved in the approval of retailer customer hardship policies.
Fiona has worked in energy regulation since 2003 and previously worked for the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA).
Fiona holds a Master of Arts (English language and literature) from Oxford University and a Bachelor of Law (Honours) from the University of Adelaide, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.
Kerry has more than 20 years of business experience holding senior commercial, customer interfacing positions within organisations such as Kimberly Clark Australia and Faulding Pharmaceutical before joining SA Water in 2004.
Kerry is committed to customer service excellence and driving a customer focused organisation. Kerry is currently on the Energy & Water Ombudsman SA Board, is part of the Allwater Alliance Leadership Team and is an active Water Services Association of Australia’s Customers and Community Network member.
Fiona Guthrie is the Executive Director of Financial Counselling Australia, the peak body for financial counsellors in Australia. Financial counsellors assist people in financial difficulty, by providing information, support and advocacy. They work in community organisations and their services are free, independent and confidential.
Fiona has been involved with the consumer movement for over 25 years, including a number of years on the executive of the Consumers’ Federation of Australia. She was a voluntary financial counsellor at a community legal centre in Brisbane and in 1990 helped set up the Financial Counsellors Association of Queensland. She is a former board member of the Insurance Ombudsman Service and the Financial Ombudsman Service and a former Chair of ASIC’s Consumer Advisory Panel. Fiona is currently FCA’s representative on the ACCC’s Consumer Consultative Panel and is a member of the Financial Literacy Board.
Sandy is the Energy and Water Ombudsman SA, having been appointed to the position in December 2007.
He has extensive general management in a number of large service organisations and experience in a number of disciplines including customer services, corporate affairs and change management.
A significant portion of his career has involved responsibility for the delivery and improvement of customer facing services, customer assistance programs and the resolution of customer related matters.
Sandy is a former Director of the Energy Industry Ombudsman Scheme in SA and has also served as a Director on the Boards of the Energy and Water Ombudsman Schemes of Victoria and NSW. He is currently the Chair of the Centres Advisory Committee for St Vincent de Paul Society SA.
He holds tertiary qualifications in property and business management.
Simon Cohen is the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman for Australia. His office deals with complaints about mobile, landline and internet telephone services.
Prior to his commencement as Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Simon Cohen was the Victorian Public Transport Ombudsman from February 2008 to June 2010.
Simon has worked in complaints investigation and resolution or related areas for more than 15 years. Other previous appointments include Assistant Ombudsman (Police) and lawyer at the NSW Ombudsman, Conference Registrar at the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and Investigation Team Manager and lawyer at the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.
Simon has a First Class Honours degree in Law from the University of Queensland, and is the Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association.
Peter Sutherland is a Visiting Fellow at the ANU College of Law and a Senior Member of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
At ACAT, Peter manages the Energy and Water Ombudsman function of the Tribunal and has been involved, since 2001, in the unique energy and water hardship assistance process in the ACT in which ACAT takes over case management of customers who are disconnected or face disconnection from energy or water supply, and has the capacity to discharge energy and water debt as a community service obligation of the ACT Government.
Ciara Sterling, Manager of WaterCare, Customer Support and Vulnerability programs at Yarra Valley Water is a veteran in Water Industry with over 17 year’s experience. She has held a number of roles within Yarra Valley Water including Retail Service, Operations and Marketing and Communications and Customer Service.
She is recognised throughout Australian utilities and corporate organisations as an industry leader in the field of hardship and vulnerability strategies to support customers, with strong relationships across government and the community sector. Currently Ciara is responsible for the strategic direction and implementation of Yarra Valley Water’s assistance programs to support customers experiencing hardship and vulnerability and consults across the industry.
A qualified accountant with further tertiary qualifications in management and human resources, Andrea Linsenmeier currently leads Origin’s Customer Advocacy teams and administers the Power On program. In addition, Andrea chairs one of the Energy Affordability working group through the Energy Retailer’s Association of Australia.
With 15 years experience in the utilities industry, she has held various roles managing international outsourced providers, reporting and analytics functions as well as transformation and integration projects. On a personal note, Andrea is a soccer fanatic and is Chairperson of the Para Hills Knights club in the National Premier Leagues.
Gavin currently works for the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria (Vinnies) managing the policy and research unit. His work focuses on undertaking research and policy evaluation on issues affecting households. Gavin has a particular interest and expertise in domestic utility costs and associated concessions.
The work Gavin undertakes is informed by the day to day experiences of the activities of members and volunteers of the Vinnies.
Gavin is a member of a number of Industry and Government consultative and working groups including, The Victorian Government Ministerial Advisory Committee on Smart Meters; Consumer Affairs - Working Together Advisory Committee; Citipower / Powercor Customer Consultative Committee ; Australian Energy Regulator - Customer Consultative Committee; Australian Energy Market Operator - Energy Market Leaders Forum and AGL Energy - Customer committee.
Gavin was awarded a Centennial Medal in 2001 for Services to the Community.
Erin Turner leads CHOICE’s campaigns team which fights to keep industry and government accountable and achieve real change for Australian consumers.
Erin joined CHOICE in 2014 and focuses on finance policy and campaigns. In 2014 Erin led CHOICE’s successful campaign to keep strong consumer protections as part of the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms.
Erin previously worked in government relations, policy and campaigns roles for non-government organisations, including CBAA, the peak body for community radio stations, and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). Erin has a Master of Politics and Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts.
Andrew Nance is an Electrical Engineer that has been involved with the SACOSS energy program in various roles since 2002. He is currently engaged as a consultant to assist with data analysis, research and submission writing and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerard Brody is CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre, a Melbourne-based consumer advocacy and campaigning organisation that provides free and independent legal assistance and financial counselling. Gerard has over ten years’ experience as a consumer advocate and lawyer, and has previously worked for the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Consumer Law Centre Victoria.
Gerard has represented consumers on a number of bodies, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Consumer Consultative Committee, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s Consumer Advisory Panel and the Australian Energy Regulator’s Customer Consultative Group. Gerard has a Masters in Public Policy and Management, Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne.
Teresa Corbin is a co-founder of ACCAN, Australia’s peak body for communications consumers. Ms Corbin worked in various roles at Consumers’ Telecommunications Network (CTN) before taking on the role there of CEO from 2003 to 2009. She has many years of experience working in telecommunications policy and her community sector links span a 20-year period in both policy and management positions and include strong ties with consumer groups both nationally and internationally.
She was appointed to the role of ACCAN CEO in October 2010 and currently sits on many industry and government bodies including the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Board, the ACMA Consumer Consultative Forum and the NSW Information Privacy Advisory Committee. Teresa holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Linguistics from La Trobe University and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Bob Weymouth spent 12 years as a senior executive with the ACCC - his focus being enforcement of consumer and competition law with a special interest in the unconscionable conduct provisions. Bob is currently Chair of the SA Consumer Consultative Forum being a voluntary organisation assisting the community sector achieve better outcomes.
In January 2015 Bob concluded his role as a member of the Consumer Advocacy Panel - this panel allocated funds to organisations to provide for research and or advocacy in the energy market in Australia. Bob retains an interest in consumer welfare generally and specifically in the energy sector.
Wendy Campana is the Chief Executive Officer of the Local Government Association of South Australia. The LGA is a leadership organisation providing support and advocacy for Councils in SA and a range of direct services such as industrial/employee relations and governance advice and comprehensive education and training program for Council Members and staff of Councils.
She has an extensive background in public sector management, organisational development, education and training, industrial relations, intergovernmental relations and governance, political lobbying.
The LGA initiated in 2005 an Independent Inquiry into the Financial Sustainability of Local Government in SA – the first of its kind ever initiated by a Local Government organisation in Australia. The 62 recommendations resulting from the independent inquiry Boards report forms a large focus of the work of the LGA. In 2011 the LGA has embarked on a Local Excellence Program which is designed to enhance the performance and role of Councils in community engagement; governance; service efficiency and effectiveness; and financial reform.
Cameron O’Reilly is the Chief Executive of the Energy Retailers Association of Australia (ERAA). With a longstanding background in energy and public policy, he has worked at the centre of government and business relations for most of his career – advising on policy, as an executive for outsourcing firms, as well as consulting on public affairs.
Cameron holds a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and a Master of Management and Public Policy from Monash University, where he completed a major research essay on the genesis of the National Electricity Market (NEM). He is also a Fulbright scholar where he undertook research at the University of Texas on the impact of climate change policy on the US energy sector.
Cameron also holds positions in the following Boards and Advisory Groups:
Member of the Advisory Committee of the VaasaETT Global Energy Think Tank, Member of the Advisory Board of Infradebt Pty Ltd, Former Member of the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) and Former Chairman of Energy Assured Limited.
Lew is currently a non-Executive Director on the Boards of SA Water Corporation and Country Arts SA. He is also a Reconciliation Ambassador, and Chair of the Energy, Water and Resources Sector Aboriginal Employment Cluster.
He was previously the CEO of ETSA Utilities and the Chairman of the Essential Services Commission.
Robert Morsillo is a Senior Advisor, Digital Inclusion, in Telstra’s Chief Sustainability Office. He has been working as a consumer affairs practitioner at Telstra since 1995 and is particularly interested in the role of technology in encouraging a sense of connectedness, and in promoting social innovation within the telecommunications industry.
Prior to that he was involved for many years in financial counselling and community legal services. He volunteers as an adjunct Associate Professor in media and communications at Swinburne University of Technology, as a council member of the University of Divinity and as a Director of Infoxchange Australia Ltd.