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New chair starts at AFCA

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Sarah Simpkins 4 minute read

A former government taskforce leader and university chancellor has commenced as chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

John Pollaers, chancellor of the Swinburne University of Technology and chair of the Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council has been appointed independent chair of the consumer complaints agency. 

Previously, he was chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce for the federal government, as well as chair of the Australian Industry and Skills Committee and a member of the Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce. 

He has replaced former Liberal minister Helen Coonan in the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) chair role, after her three years leading the organisation from its inception.


During Ms Coonan’s tenure, AFCA fielded more than 188,000 disputes, with over $522 million being paid in compensation to individual customers and small-business owners. 

At AFCA’s annual meeting in November, Ms Coonan signalled that she would not be seeking reappointment to her position when her term ended in May. Her last day with the organisation was on Friday (14 May).

On Mr Pollaers’ appointment, she commented: “John is an experienced chair and leader whose career is characterised by a commitment to strong governance and visionary strategic leadership.

“He has always created strong, effective relationships between industry, government and consumer bodies in all sectors he has been involved in. John’s independence and experience will be instrumental in driving AFCA’s vision to be a world-class ombudsman service into the future.”

Mr Pollaers added that he is excited to be joining the organisation. 


“AFCA provides an essential service to the community. AFCA’s role to effectively work with financial firms, consumers and small business to resolve financial complaints, often in complex situations, is critical,” he said.

Mr Pollaers is also chair and founder of mobility equipment retailer Leef Independent Living Solutions. In 2018, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, for service to the manufacturing sector, education and business.

[Related: Two-fifths of COVID-19 AFCA complaints about credit]

New chair starts at AFCA
john pollaers ta
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