1 March 2018
Media Release - #2018022, 2018

In the role of: Minister for Revenue and Financial Services [19 July 2016 - 28 August 2018]

Inaugural Chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority

The Turnbull Government is focussed on ensuring that the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) provides consumers and small businesses with access to a free, fast and binding dispute resolution service for financial complaints.

It is important that the inaugural Chair of the AFCA Board has experience across the financial services industry, and in dispute resolution as well as previous board experience.

Following authorisation of the AFCA scheme, the Turnbull Government will appoint the Hon Helen Coonan as the inaugural Chair of AFCA.

“Helen Coonan will bring a wealth of expertise and experience to her position as AFCA Chair,” said the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP.

“Ms Coonan has experience in the law, business, financial services and dispute resolution. She is a distinguished former Cabinet Minister in the Howard Government, and as the then Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, she demonstrated deep knowledge and understanding of the financial services sector and the issues faced by consumers of financial products and services.” 

She also has experience on the boards of a range of private and public organisations, including most recently positions on the boards of Place Management NSW (formerly Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority) and Snowy Hydro Limited.

Ms Coonan’s background makes her uniquely qualified to assume the role of AFCA’s inaugural Chair.

Under the new dispute resolution framework, the Minister is able to appoint a minority of the AFCA board, within six months of authorising a not-for-profit company to operate the AFCA scheme.

“Following the authorisation of AFCA, I intend to make other appointments to the AFCA board, including consumer and industry specialists,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.

The Minister has announced that she is seeking an application for authorisation by no later than 15 March 2018. AFCA will start receiving disputes no later than 1 November 2018.