FINANCIAL Services Council CEO Sally Loane has officially thanked retiring Senator John ‘Wacka’ Williams for his significant contribution to financial services reform in Australia.

“Senator Williams has played a pivotal role in bringing misconduct in the financial services sector to the attention of the parliament and the public,” Ms Loane said. 

“The FSC has always appreciated being able to have a constructive and open dialogue with Senator Williams, and we are grateful that he always displayed a keen interest in the role of financial services, listening and understanding different points of view.

“As someone who grew up in the New England district, where John and Nancy live and will be spending their retirement, I want to wish them all the very best for the future, on behalf of my team.

“The whole district is enduring a terrible drought at the moment, but the local communities are strong. They have been fortunate to have someone of the calibre of Senator Williams representing them for so long.”

The Financial Services Council (FSC) is a peak body which sets mandatory standards and develops policy for more than 100 member companies in Australia’s largest industry sector, financial services. FSC Full Members represent Australia’s retail and wholesale funds management businesses, superannuation funds, life insurers, financial advisory networks and licensed trustee companies. FSC Supporting Members represent the professional services firms such as ICT, consulting, accounting, legal, recruitment, actuarial and research houses.


THE Screen Australia Board has reappointed CEO Graeme Mason for a further five-year term at the Federal Government agency.

Mr Mason commenced as CEO of Screen Australia on November 11, 2013 and during his tenure has steered the agency through some of the industry’s most significant changes, including the rise of digital originals, the growth of free-to-air multi-channels and catch-up services, plus the advent of commercial streaming. 

Over his 20-year career, Mr Mason worked in both factual and scripted TV programming in his native Australia before moving to the UK. In Britain he worked across all aspects of film production, sales and acquisitions, and distribution for companies such as Manifesto and Polygram Filmed Entertainment.

From 1998 to 2002 he was president of worldwide acquisitions for Universal Studios. He then joined Channel 4 Television as the head of media projects and later as managing director of Rights.

In 2009 Mr Mason relocated to New Zealand where he was CEO at the New Zealand Film Commission for four years.

Mr Mason grew up in the Blue Mountains, NSW. He recently completed a wide-ranging podcast interview regarding the challenges and opportunities in the Australian screen sector.

Screen Australia was established under the Screen Australia Act 2008 and from July 1, 2008, took over the functions and appropriations of its predecessor agencies, the Australian Film Commission, the Film Finance Corporation Australia and Film Australia Limited.


CALLED a family business legend by Family Business Australia (FBA), hire business innovator Andy Kennard, has been presented with a 2018 Life Membership Award.

The FBA accolade is an acknowledgment of Andy Kennard’s role in forging the family-centric business that Kennards Hire has become today, along with his contribution to the family business sector in Australia.

Mr Kennard’s  life membership award is well earned, according to FBA CEO Greg Griffith. “His contribution to the sustainable growth of Kennards Hire, the equipment hire industry and the Australian family business sector is without peer,” Mr Griffith said. “He also served on the FBA board as chairman from 2012 through to 2014 and funded the development of FBA’s directors course. 

Mr Kennard said it was a special honour to receive the recognition from Family Business Australia.

“As a business founded on firm family values, it has always been incredibly important that our employees feel part of the business,” Mr Kennard said. “From the beginning, it is our fair-dinkum values that have enabled Kennards Hire to grow as a multi-generational business in Australia, a country that places great emphasis on hard work and innovation.

“All our branches are part of local communities. From Tamworth in regional New South Wales through to Karratha in Western Australia, it’s a privilege to be able to contribute to local economies through investment, employment opportunities and community activities.

“When you spend money with a family-owned business, it helps our communities. And that’s a great thing to do,” Andy Kennard said.

In operation for 70 years, with a network of over 170 branches and more than 1,600 employees in Australia and New Zealand, Kennards Hire is a third generation family-owned and operated business.

Its current CEO is Andy’s son, Angus. Kennards has been a ‘proud’ member of FBA for 15 years, the business is an FBA Hall of Fame inductee and took home the FBA 2014 Distinguished Family Business of the Year Award.


BRISBANE-based film and television industry leader Tim McGahan – an acclaimed member of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS ) – has won the Channel 7 Award for Business Person of the Year at the 13th annual Lord Mayor’s Business Awards.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the managing director of Blacklab Group had spent more than two decades building a brand that is internationally recognised for producing feature films, television series, commercials and digital content.

“Tim McGahan has carved out a multifaceted career producing high-end film and television content, including two international and award-winning feature films Predestination and Winchester,” Cr Quirk said. 

“Tim has made an outstanding contribution to the industry. He was the youngest ever cinematographer accredited by the Australian Cinematographers Society, and is passionate about mentoring new talent.

“Working across all arms of the Newstead-based Blacklab Group, from creative development through to financing, production, delivery and exhibition of projects, Tim exemplifies the dedication, excellence and leadership that we look for in a Business Person of the Year.”

Mr McGahan said it was a great honour to be recognised as Business Person of the Year at this year's Lord Mayor's Business Awards.  

“Each year these awards highlight the incredible talent and diverse range of businesses within our city,” Mr McGahan said.

“I am proud to call Brisbane home and even more proud that we have been able to create a successful creative business based in Brisbane that creates and owns intellectual property and produces world class film and television watched by people all over the globe,” he said.

The Lord Mayor’s Business Awards are staged by the city’s economic development board Brisbane Marketing, with the 2018 winners announced at a dinner at Brisbane City Hall on October 19.


FOUR new members have been appointed to join independent chair Helen Coonan on the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) board.

AFCA is the “new one-stop shop” dispute resolution body for the financial system, according to Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer. AFCA is to be governed by a board of 11 directors, consisting of an independent chair (Ms Coonan) and an equal number of industry and consumer directors. 

The four board members to be appointed are Claire Mackay, Andrew Fairley, Erin Turner and Alan Wein.

Ms Mackay, an experienced financial planner is being appointed as an industry director. She is expected to bring the perspective of small financial firms to the AFCA board. 

Mr Fairley is an equity lawyer with over 35 years specialist experience in superannuation and he is also being appointed as an industry director. He is expected to bring the perspective of the superannuation industry to the AFCA board.

Ms Turner is an experienced consumer advocate, appointed to AFCA as a consumer director. She is expected to bring the perspective of consumers of financial services to the AFCA board.

Mr Wein is a lawyer, mediator and experienced advocate for small and medium sized businesses. Mr Wein will be appointed as a consumer director and is expected to bring to the AFCA board an understanding of the experiences of small businesses in dispute with financial services businesses.

The appointments took effect last financial year.

“I am confident that each board member will make a valuable contribution to guide the new authority to ensure it delivers on its important mandate,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

AFCA will officially operate from November this year.


CHIEF operating officer of international payments start-up Airwallex, Lucy Liu took out the title of the nation’s Female Fintech Leader of the Year at the recent 2018 Finnie Awards.

Airwallex also took home the award for Excellence in Payments. 

Co-founder Ms Liu was specifically recognised for her contribution to the fintech sector, acknowledging it provided consumers and businesses with new or improved services that offer a genuine alternative to traditional financial institutions. 

“This award is recognition of the hard work of the Airwallex team and validation of our mission to re-imagine the global payments landscape,” Ms Liu said.

“On a personal level, this award is also important because fintech is still largely a male-dominated field. I think an important way that I can support other women is to be a beacon for them.

“This means grasping at every opportunity that comes my way in my own professional life, and being an active member of the fintech community. We have some astonishing women working in fintech, and I am glad to be a part of that. 

“Regardless of gender, an entrepreneur isn't someone who owns a business, it’s someone who makes things happen – and I like to think of myself as that person. Sometimes being a female makes it a more challenging experience, but being an entrepreneur is about making the commitment that others won't, being prepared to take a chance, and having the confidence to back yourself up.”

Ms Liu’s award win came hot on the heels of her co-founder Jack Zhang’s recent win at China’s Brilliant10 Awards, where he took home the coveted fintech category. 

Starting life as a group of five friends, Airwallex recently hired its 100th employee and opened a new office in Shanghai. Making headlines not long ago for successfully completing one of the highest rounds of Series A funding in Australian start up fintech history, Airwallex is aligned with China’s gargantuan export WeChat Pay, and is also in partnership with financial major players Standard Chartered, Tencent, Sequoia, and SquarePeg.

The business is committed to “connecting all of the world's digital end points, and in doing so promote financial inclusion and create opportunity without exception”.

Airwallex is a financial technology company that offers integrated solutions for cross-border payments. Airwallex facilitates international money transfers through a combination of payment collection, foreign exchange and local payment distribution.


CHRIS SARRA has been appointed Director-General of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) in Queensland.

Dr Sarra has stated plans to “reset” the government’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in Queensland, seeking to change the policy approach to one which will empower First Peoples “to thrive, rather than survive”. 

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has applauded Dr Sarra’s policy approach which focusses on “investing in authentic localised leadership, rather than subcontracting out”.

“National Congress recognises Dr Sarra’s considerable work in improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” a National Congress spokesperson said. “Dr Sarra’s career began as the first Aboriginal principal of Cherboug State School, where he dramatically lifted school attendance, literary and numeracy results. He was a founding director of Strong Smart Solutions, which has improved results in hundreds of Aboriginal schools.”

Dr Sarra is currently a professor of education at the University of Canberra. He has served on several boards including as chair of the Stronger Smarter Institute, co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, commissioner of the Australian Rugby League Commission, Cowboys NRL House and Queensland Performing Arts Centre Trust.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised Dr Sarra’s “work in pursuing more positive and productive outcomes for Indigenous communities” for which he has been recognised both nationally and internationally.


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