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The ADF Financial Services Consumer Centre (ADF Consumer) is a Department of Defence entity established in 2006. We exist to serve ADF members and operate under a Charter issued by the Chief of the Defence Force. Our role is to:
To offer, in consultation with appropriate regulators, impartial financial education (not personal advice) and relevant resource material to all ADF personnel in order to assist them to make informed decisions and plans about their financial affairs, and empower them to improve their financial capability throughout their careers.
To act as an internal source of expert advice to the Chiefs on consumer matters related to the financial services industry. For the purposes of this Charter, ‘financial services industry’ generally describes organisations that offer banking, insurance, lending, superannuation and investment products and services.
To develop, foster and maintain a professional and positive relationship with regulators, particularly Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, relevant industry associations and participants in the financial services industry.
Robert Brown is a Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reservist. He brings a wide range of practical experience and technical knowledge to the work of the Centre. He practised for many years as a Chartered Accountant in Sydney, specialising in taxation, superannuation and financial planning.
His views on the financial services industry are published widely in trade and general media. He is a monthly columnist in the Institute of Chartered Accountants professional journal Charter and in Professional Planner magazine.
In 1997 he was voted as inaugural ‘Superannuation Fund Trustee of the Year’. Robert is a regular speaker at conferences on matters both of a technical and policy nature relating to the financial services industry. In 2009 he received a Meritorious Service Award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in recognition of outstanding services to the profession.
In 2011, Robert was awarded a Chief of the Defence Force Commendation for his contribution to the financial education of ADF personnel. Since 2010, he has been a member of the Australian Government’s Financial Literacy Board which provides advice to Government and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on financial literacy issues.
In 2013, Robert was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for his work in superannuation and financial services.
Major General Natasha Fox entered the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1988 and graduated from the Royal Military College in 1991. Her early foundation appointments were in logistics specialising in combat supplies, logistics planning, and in training positions culminating with her being the Commanding Officer/Chief Instructor at the Australian Defence Force Academy for which she received a Conspicuous Service Cross.
Major General Fox has been employed across the Australian Defence Force in Forces Command, Joint Logistics Command, Special Operations Command, Training Command – Army, and Defence People Group. She has deployed to Lebanon, Syria, and Israel and was the Chief of Staff for Joint Task Force 633 in the Middle East where she was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service.
Major General Fox is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College, and the Defence and Strategic Studies Course. She has completed numerous degrees including Masters of Business Administration, Master of Politics and Policy, and Masters of Management in Defence Studies. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy (Singapore) and The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania).
Major General Fox is married to Captain Andrew Willis, MVO, RAN and has two young boys that keep her busy!
Commodore Eric Young joined the Royal Australian Navy as a Maritime Warfare Officer in January 1994 from Central Queensland. Following initial training at the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Naval College, he trained as a Meteorologist and Oceanographer prior to completing his initial warfare training. He was the Dux of both the Principal Warfare Officer course and later the Force Warfare Officer Course, dual specialising in Under-Sea and Above Water Warfare.
He has undertaken sea postings in HMA Ships Stuart (x2), Parramatta, Anzac (x2), Kanimbla, Canberra, Perth and Hobart. Throughout his career, he has had experience in a wide range of maritime, Defence and Whole of Government operations through various postings and operational roles in a number of theatres across the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East. This has included five deployments to the Middle East, incorporating staff roles in United States Navy platforms, the award of the Meritorious Unit Citation while in HMAS Parramatta, multiple border-protection deployments, and numerous Indo-Pacific exercises.
Commodore Young has also served in a variety of staff roles from tactical to the strategic level, which has included Fleet Headquarters, Navy Headquarters, Australian Defence Headquarters, Headquarters Joint Operations Command, Maritime Border Command, Maritime Task Force Headquarters in the Indo-Pacific and Middle East, and the National COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Notable shore appointments have included Deputy Director Global Plans in Joint Operations Command, Chief of Staff to the Chief of Navy from 2018 to 2020, Director General United States Force Posture Initiatives, and Operational Commander of the Vaccine Operations Centre, where he was the public spokesperson for the National vaccine rollout from March-July 2021.
Commodore Young was recognised for his time as Chief of Staff to the Chief of Navy, with the award of a Conspicuous Service Cross on Australia Day 2021. He has also been recognised with commendations from the Chief of Navy, Commander Australian Theatre, Chief of Joint Operations and Commander Joint Task Force 633. In addition to his broad Navy career, he has diverse Federal Government experience, including a mid-career break to work in Industry, where he completed roles as a Principal Consultant, Account Executive and as an Account General Manager.
On 19 July 2021, Commodore Young completed his secondment with the Department of Health’s Vaccine Operations Centre, and returned to the Department of Defence as the Strategic Adviser to the Chief of Navy, advising on key strategic issues and special projects. He has been selected as the next Director General Navy People from September 2021.
He is married to Jodette, and together they have four children.
Brigadier Matt Patching joined the Australian Army in 1995, graduating from the Royal Military College Duntroon to RAEME in December 1996. His career has included a broad range of training, technical and command postings, most recently as the Commandant of the Army Logistics Training Centre. In 2020, Brigadier Patching was promoted to his current rank and appointed as the Director General Army People Capability. In this role, he is responsible for the generation of Army’s current and future workforce.
Brigadier Patching has deployed to Operations ANODE (Solomon Islands), PAKISTAN ASSIST, and twice to Afghanistan as an embedded staff officer.
Brigadier Patching is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff Course. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Master’s Degrees in Human Resource Management, Arts (Strategy and Policy) and Military Art and Science (Strategy). He is currently studying a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary Mathematics) online.
GPCAPT Ashworth joined the Air Force as an Administrative Officer in 1991. After completing three years of training and a Bachelors Degree at the Australian Defence Force Academy, she was posted to Base Squadron at RAAF Base Wagga. Her junior officer postings included Administrative Officer roles at RAAF Base Wagga and Number 34 Squadron at RAAF Base Fairbairn in Canberra, the Management Services Team at RAAF Base Richmond, and the Management Services Team and Military Support Organisation at RAAF Base Amberley. She was posted to Canberra to Air Force’s Personnel Branch in 2001. After completing tours in Personnel Planning and Air Force Career Management, she was then posted to Adelaide as the Senior Administrative Officer (SADMINO), and, on promotion to WGCDR, as the Staff Officer Personnel (SOPERS) for Aerospace Operational Support Group.
In 2008, she completed Australian Command and Staff College in Canberra. On graduation from Staff College, she was posted as the Director of Personnel – Reserves Air Force. When the Directorate of Personnel – Reserves and the Directorate of Personnel were amalgamated in mid 2009, she became the Executive Officer of the Directorate of Personnel – Air Force. In 2012, she was posted as the Defence Adviser to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade at Parliament House. This rotational liaison role offered a unique opportunity to observe the workings of the Committee System within the political process.
In December 2012, she was posted as Commanding Officer, Number 28 Squadron. Her responsibilities in this role included managing components of Air Force’s Strategic Communication capability, and the Administrative Commanding Officer for all Air Force personnel posted to Canberra. Karen was promoted to Group Captain in April 2014, and posted to Defence People Group to assist with the development of the people components of the Defence White Paper. In January 2015, she became Chief of Staff of Air Force’s Personnel Branch. In November 2016, she was posted to the role of Director Strategic Issues Management – Air Force within Air Force Headquarters.
GPCAPT Ashworth deployed in 2018 as the Director Support for Operation Accordion returning to commence studies at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies in February 2019, where she completed a Masters of Strategic Studies. In May 2020 she was promoted and posted as Director General Personnel – Air Force.
In January 2014, she was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross on the Australia Day’s Honours List for her contribution to strategic personnel reform in Air Force.
She is married to David, a retired Air Force Officer, and they have a son, Jamie
Margot Kropinski-Myers has over 20 years’ experience in the public sector, human resources (HR) and working in the Defence environment. During that time she has lead a number of specialist teams in the areas of learning and development, strategic leadership, industrial relations, recruitment, governance, cultural reform and change management. Her educational qualifications include an Advanced Diploma of Government (Human Resources), Graduate Certificate in Management (Learning). Margot has represented Defence at international conferences and presented papers on a number of HR topics.
Margot is a driver of culture reform, through increasing people’s commitment to improve business outcomes, innovation and with a focus on a customer centricity. Key to this is building effective and positive working relationships as well as making connections across Defence, government and other sectors.
Early in the ADF Financial Services Consumer Centre’s development, Margot provided professional administrative support to the team and redesigned the financial aspects of the ADF Transition program. She also produced the design concepts for the Centre’s financial educational material.
Margot is extremely committed to enhancing the Centre’s financial literacy programs, services and activities ensuring they are practical, relevant and meet the interests and needs of ADF members and their families. She has a strong commitment to driving behavioural change and implementing better ways to improve business outcomes. Throughout her career, Margot has delivered multiple services; and developed new policy and programs that build on people’s capabilities. She has a strong focus on meeting customer needs.
Margot enjoys mentoring and coaching others, to be the best they can be. She is married to Adam and between them they have 3 children and 4 amazing grandchildren.
Frank’s professional background is ideally suited to his current role managing the Centre’s programs, projects and diverse team of educators. He has served in the Australian Regular Army in various roles, during which time he completed a law degree. He has also, since leaving full time service, spent some years with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Consumer Affairs Victoria and in private practice as a lawyer. All of this experience, combining military service and consumer protection and education roles, ensures that the Centre’s programs and activities are practical, relevant and clearly focused on the interests and needs of members of the ADF and their families.
Dina provides executive, administrative and secretariat support to the Centre’s Chairman, members and staff. Her role includes managing the production of educational materials, coordinating financial administration and overseeing the scheduling of all ADF Financial Education seminars.
Dina studied Chinese Language & Culture at Taipei National Normal University in Taiwan and came to Australia in 1980 to study Modern Asian Studies, majoring in Chinese at Griffith University in Queensland.
Dina’s professional career began in the private sector after she completed a Basic Accounting Course and then worked in Connecticut, USA. After gaining additional administrative experience in a wide range of roles, she worked as the Assistant to the Managing Director of ITL Limited, a company that manufactures medical devices and procedure packs for global healthcare markets. Dina remained at ITL for five years before joining the Department of Immigration and Citizenship as Executive Assistant / Branch Coordinator to Assistant Secretary, ICT Services, Systems Division in 2005. That position led to her role as Senior Executive Assistant at the Defence Materiel Organisation, which in turn led to her transfer to Defence in August 2012 as the Executive Officer for the Centre.
Dina’s interests include travel, good wine, dancing and relaxing with her two cats, Bobby and Unyil.
Nicky has joined the Centre on long-term secondment from ASIC, where she has spent the last nine years developing resources for ASIC’s MoneySmart website. Her background is in accounting, corporate finance, financial planning and consumer education.
Nicky holds an Accounting diploma, Bachelor of Business (Financial Planning), and Master of Adult Education, with an e-learning and social change focus, from the University of Technology Sydney. Nicky studied part-time, while working full-time and raising two boys.
Nicky is passionate about financial literacy and helping others manage their money well to make the most of what they have. She has a wealth of personal experience to draw on when helping others.
Nicky loves to travel and explore new cultures, is a lover of sun and sand, enjoys good conversation over a glass of red, and is in denial about being old enough to have two adult children.
Daniel is the Principal of Mendoza Legal & Consulting and a Legal Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve. His areas of professional practice include financial services and government business. He assists the Centre with its legal and financial services projects and also presents education seminars.
Daniel qualified as a solicitor at Allens Arthur Robinson in Sydney where he worked in the Insurance, Financial Services, Mergers & Acquisitions and Communications Media & Technology practice groups.
Daniel attended the University of New South Wales where he was awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws specialising in corporate and commercial law. He later attended Harvard University where he was awarded the degree of Master of Liberal Arts, Extension Studies (General Management).
Wing Commander Richard Gration joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1981. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the RAAF Academy in Melbourne in 1983 and his pilot training in 1984, he undertook various flying tours, including DHC-4 Caribou tactical transport and Hawker-Sidley 748 VIP aircraft.
In 1992 he undertook civil schooling at the University of NSW (Canberra) studying a Master of Information Science degree, including management science techniques; systems development methodologies; Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence (C3I) systems; and knowledge-based expert systems.
In 1995, Richard left the RAAF to serve in the Australian Public Service for five years as a senior Information Technology manager, including in the Commonwealth’s Year 2000 Project Office responsible for coordinating and managing a Y2K compliance program.
While in the APS, Richard studied part-time for a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the Australian National University. After graduating in 2000 he joined a Sydney law firm as a solicitor specialising in telecommunications, information technology and intellectual property law. In 2006, he received a specialist accreditation in commercial litigation law from the NSW Law Society and in 2008 he completed a Master of Laws degree at the University of NSW.
Since 2009, Richard has practised as a barrister specialising in commercial litigation, including in relation to financial services, corporations law, insolvency and bankruptcy laws.
In 2011, Richard re-joined the RAAF as a Specialist Reserve Legal Officer and his duties have included providing legal assistance to members suffering financial hardship, and sometimes discipline or administrative action, as the consequence of poor decision-making about their personal finances.
Richard completed a Graduate Diploma in Military Law in 2017 and continues to provide legal support and advice to Air Force command as the Deputy Legal Panel Leader at Headquarters Air Command at Glenbrook, NSW.
Duncan Poulson joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in October 2000 and was appointed ASIC’s Northern Territory Regional Commissioner in December 2005.
Mr Poulson holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Tasmania and was previously a lecturer in Commercial Law and International Business at the University.
He has worked for ASIC in a number of roles and, in recent times, has focused on financial consumer protection activities in the Northern Territory, with particular emphasis on boosting financial literacy.