Foreign Investment Review Board

The Foreign Investment Review Board (the Board) is a non statutory body established in 1976 to advise the Treasurer and the Government on Australia's Foreign Investment Policy (the Policy) and its administration.

The Board's functions are advisory only. Responsibility for making decisions about the Policy and proposals rests with the Treasurer. The Treasury's Foreign Investment Division (the Division) administers Australia’s foreign investment regulatory framework and supports the Board’s work.

Role

The role of the Board is to:

  • examine proposed investments in Australia that are subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (the Act) and supporting legislation and covered by the Policy, and to make recommendations to the Treasurer and other Treasury portfolio ministers on these proposals;
  • provide advice to the Treasurer on the operation of the Policy and the Act; and
  • foster an awareness and understanding, both in Australia and abroad, of the Policy and the Act.

Board membership

As at 23 January 2024, the Board comprised the following members.

  • Mr Bruce Miller AO (Chair)
  • Ms Margaret (Meg) McDonald
  • Mr Steven Skala AO
  • Ms Carolyn Kay
  • Dr Sarah Pearson
  • Ms Linda Apelt
  • Ms Kellie Benda
  • Mr Chris Tinning

Board membership as of 19 June 2023

Mr Bruce Miller AO

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Chair and non‑executive member

Member since 6 April 2022

Mr Miller was appointed as the Chair of FIRB in April 2022. Mr Miller has extensive experience as a senior leader in the public and private sectors.

Mr Miller occupied senior positions in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Office of National Assessments. Mr Miller served as Australian Ambassador to Japan from 2011 to 2017.

Mr Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney.

Other roles

Non‑executive Director – TAL
Non‑executive Director – The Dai‑ichi Life Insurance Company Limited, Tokyo Japan
Chairperson – Australia Japan Foundation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Ms Margaret (Meg) McDonald

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Non‑executive member

Member since 26 March 2019

Ms McDonald has extensive experience in senior public and private sector roles, in Australia and internationally.

Ms McDonald has previously held a number of executive positions including Chief Operating Officer of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, CEO of Low Carbon Australia Limited (LCAL) and global positions with resources and metals manufacturer Alcoa. Her previous board roles include with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living.

Ms McDonald was Deputy Ambassador to the United States in Washington DC between 1998 and 2002 and was Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment between 1996 and 1998.

Ms McDonald holds an Honours Degree in Applied Science from the University of NSW.

Other roles

Commissioner – Greater Sydney Commission
Trustee – The Nature Conservancy

Mr Steven Skala AO

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Non‑executive member

Member since 18 September 2020

Mr Skala has a distinguished career of service including on the boards of public and private companies, and government‑related and not‑for‑profit organizations. He has 40 years’ experience in the law, business and banking.

The holder of BA and LL.B (Hons) degrees from University of Queensland and a BCL from the University of Oxford, Mr Skala was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2010 for services to the arts, education, business and commerce.

Mr Skala has been Vice Chairman, Australia of Deutsche Bank AG since 2004, is Chairman of Clean Energy Finance Corporation and is an ex officio member of the Commonwealth’s recently established Technology Investment Advisory Council. He is a former Chairman of Wilson Group Limited, Hexima Limited (of which he is currently an alternate Director) and The Island Food Company Limited, is a former Director of the Channel TEN Group of companies and Max Capital Group Limited, and was a Founding Member of Adara Partners. Between 1982 and 2004, he was a Partner of Australian law firms, Morris Fletcher & Cross (now Minter Ellison) and Arnold Bloch Leibler.

Active beyond banking and commerce, Mr Skala is Chairman of the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Deputy Chairman of the General Sir John Monash Foundation, a Director of the Centre for Independent Studies and a Member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. He was previously Chairman of Film Australia Limited and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Vice President (Deputy Chairman) of The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, a Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and a Director of the Australian Ballet.

Ms Carolyn Kay

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Non‑executive member

Member since 20 November 2021

Carolyn Kay has had more than 30 years’ experience in the finance sector as an executive and non‑executive director. In addition, she has been and remains a non‑executive director of enterprises across a broad range of sectors.

She is currently a member of The Future Fund Board of Guardians and a non‑executive director of Scentre Group, Myer Family Investments and Rothschild & Co Australia. In the not for profit sector she is also a non‑executive director of The General Sir John Monash Foundation and Sydney Grammar School.

As an executive Ms Kay worked as a banker and lawyer at Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Linklaters & Paines in London, New York, and Australia.

She holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and Arts (University of Melbourne), a Graduate Diploma in Management (AGSM) and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to Australian society in business leadership. She is married with 3 children.

Dr Sarah Pearson

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Non‑executive member

Member since 7 December 2023

Dr Pearson is an experienced non-executive director, investor and innovation advisor with global executive leadership expertise spanning FTSE 100 multinationals, technology companies, federal government, universities, venture capital and startups. She has worked for well-known brands such as Cadbury, McKinsey and ANU, and for the last ten years has been heavily involved in C-suite roles driving science, innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia and internationally.

Sarah has represented Australia globally as Chief Scientist & Chief Innovation Officer at the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), was Australia’s Innovation Champion in the MIKTA group, and has helped build innovation communities that have driven economic diversification across Australia.

Sarah’s current portfolio of roles include Director at RACQ, Director at the Royal Flying Doctor Service (QLD), member of ANU Council, Adjunct Professor at UQ, member of Main Sequence Ventures Investment Committee, and Chair of Inspiring Australia QLD.

Her passion is to leverage emerging technology & innovation to grow new industries, disrupt disadvantage, address global challenges, and leave no one behind. She has spent many decades encouraging young women into studying science, based on her lived experience as a physicist.

Ms Linda Apelt

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Non‑executive member

Member since 7 December 2023

Ms Apelt has served as Agent-General for Queensland in the United Kingdom and the Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner, Europe from 2017 until 2021.

She is a former Director General for Departments of Communities and Housing with the Queensland Government. Ms Apelt is Chair of Opera Queensland and is a Director on the Australian Retirement Trust and Member of the Griffith University Council. Linda Apelt was previously a Director with the Association of Economic Representatives in London, Adjunct Professor at The University of Queensland, Chair of Screen Queensland and Chair of Common Ground Queensland.

Ms Apelt holds a range of qualifications including a Bachelor of Education from Queensland University of Technology; Master of Education Studies from The University of Queensland; and qualifications in Public Policy Economics from the University of Oxford, a Diploma in Company Directorship and certification for Superannuation Trustees.

Ms Kellie Benda

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Non‑executive member

Member since 7 December 2023

Kellie Benda is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and has served on numerous boards since 2003, including public companies, listed domestically and internationally, public unlisted, Federal and State Government, associations and not-for-profits, private equity funded, and privately owned organisations. She also founded a charity (ReadytoWork) serving disadvantaged women, that merged with a global organisation.

She has chaired an ASX listed company and various board committees, including audit & risk.

After commencing her career with King & Wood Mallesons as a lawyer, she moved into investment banking.

Most recently, she held senior executive positions as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Risk Officer and Executive General Manager in organisations including then ASX200 companies AGL Limited, Origin Energy Limited, and Aurizon Limited, as well as Emeco Holdings Limited.

She holds a Bachelor of Law, Bachelor of Arts (Industrial Relations), Master of Applied Finance and is a graduate of the Harvard AMP. She also studied digital leadership at Masters level. She is currently a non-executive director across a number of organisations.

Mr Chris Tinning

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Executive member

Member since 19 June 2023

The position of Executive Member is held by the First Assistant Secretary of Treasury’s Foreign Investment Division. The Executive Member is the link between the Board and the Division, which administers Australia’s foreign investment regulatory framework and supports the Board’s work.