Government names Helen Coonan as inaugural Chair of AFCA

The Federal Government has announced Helen Coonan, a former Liberal party minister, as the first Chair of AFCA.

“The Turnbull Government is focused 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,” said the announcement.

“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.”

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

“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.”

Ms Coonan has also served on number of boards, of both private and public organisations, including Snowy Hydro Limited and Place Management NSW, which was the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.

Minister O’Dwyer said Ms Coonan’s background makes her uniquely qualified for the role as Chair of AFCA.

“Following the authorisation of AFCA, I intend to make other appointments to the AFCA board, including consumer and industry specialists,” said Minister O’Dwyer, who is able to appoint a minority of the AFCA board.

The Minister is seeking an application for authorisation of AFCA by 15 March 2018, with the body to start receiving disputes not later than 1 November 2018.

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