BRISBANE-based film and television industry leader Tim McGahan – an acclaimed member of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS ) – has won the Channel 7 Award for Business Person of the Year at the 13th annual Lord Mayor’s Business Awards.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the managing director of Blacklab Group had spent more than two decades building a brand that is internationally recognised for producing feature films, television series, commercials and digital content.

“Tim McGahan has carved out a multifaceted career producing high-end film and television content, including two international and award-winning feature films Predestination and Winchester,” Cr Quirk said. 

“Tim has made an outstanding contribution to the industry. He was the youngest ever cinematographer accredited by the Australian Cinematographers Society, and is passionate about mentoring new talent.

“Working across all arms of the Newstead-based Blacklab Group, from creative development through to financing, production, delivery and exhibition of projects, Tim exemplifies the dedication, excellence and leadership that we look for in a Business Person of the Year.”

Mr McGahan said it was a great honour to be recognised as Business Person of the Year at this year's Lord Mayor's Business Awards.  

“Each year these awards highlight the incredible talent and diverse range of businesses within our city,” Mr McGahan said.

“I am proud to call Brisbane home and even more proud that we have been able to create a successful creative business based in Brisbane that creates and owns intellectual property and produces world class film and television watched by people all over the globe,” he said.

The Lord Mayor’s Business Awards are staged by the city’s economic development board Brisbane Marketing, with the 2018 winners announced at a dinner at Brisbane City Hall on October 19.


CHIEF operating officer of international payments start-up Airwallex, Lucy Liu took out the title of the nation’s Female Fintech Leader of the Year at the recent 2018 Finnie Awards.

Airwallex also took home the award for Excellence in Payments. 

Co-founder Ms Liu was specifically recognised for her contribution to the fintech sector, acknowledging it provided consumers and businesses with new or improved services that offer a genuine alternative to traditional financial institutions. 

“This award is recognition of the hard work of the Airwallex team and validation of our mission to re-imagine the global payments landscape,” Ms Liu said.

“On a personal level, this award is also important because fintech is still largely a male-dominated field. I think an important way that I can support other women is to be a beacon for them.

“This means grasping at every opportunity that comes my way in my own professional life, and being an active member of the fintech community. We have some astonishing women working in fintech, and I am glad to be a part of that. 

“Regardless of gender, an entrepreneur isn't someone who owns a business, it’s someone who makes things happen – and I like to think of myself as that person. Sometimes being a female makes it a more challenging experience, but being an entrepreneur is about making the commitment that others won't, being prepared to take a chance, and having the confidence to back yourself up.”

Ms Liu’s award win came hot on the heels of her co-founder Jack Zhang’s recent win at China’s Brilliant10 Awards, where he took home the coveted fintech category. 

Starting life as a group of five friends, Airwallex recently hired its 100th employee and opened a new office in Shanghai. Making headlines not long ago for successfully completing one of the highest rounds of Series A funding in Australian start up fintech history, Airwallex is aligned with China’s gargantuan export WeChat Pay, and is also in partnership with financial major players Standard Chartered, Tencent, Sequoia, and SquarePeg.

The business is committed to “connecting all of the world's digital end points, and in doing so promote financial inclusion and create opportunity without exception”.

Airwallex is a financial technology company that offers integrated solutions for cross-border payments. Airwallex facilitates international money transfers through a combination of payment collection, foreign exchange and local payment distribution.


FOUR new members have been appointed to join independent chair Helen Coonan on the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) board.

AFCA is the “new one-stop shop” dispute resolution body for the financial system, according to Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer. AFCA is to be governed by a board of 11 directors, consisting of an independent chair (Ms Coonan) and an equal number of industry and consumer directors. 

The four board members to be appointed are Claire Mackay, Andrew Fairley, Erin Turner and Alan Wein.

Ms Mackay, an experienced financial planner is being appointed as an industry director. She is expected to bring the perspective of small financial firms to the AFCA board. 

Mr Fairley is an equity lawyer with over 35 years specialist experience in superannuation and he is also being appointed as an industry director. He is expected to bring the perspective of the superannuation industry to the AFCA board.

Ms Turner is an experienced consumer advocate, appointed to AFCA as a consumer director. She is expected to bring the perspective of consumers of financial services to the AFCA board.

Mr Wein is a lawyer, mediator and experienced advocate for small and medium sized businesses. Mr Wein will be appointed as a consumer director and is expected to bring to the AFCA board an understanding of the experiences of small businesses in dispute with financial services businesses.

The appointments took effect last financial year.

“I am confident that each board member will make a valuable contribution to guide the new authority to ensure it delivers on its important mandate,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

AFCA will officially operate from November this year.


THE NEW chief executive of carbon capture and storage research organisation, CO2CRC, is David Byers, who steps into the role from July 23.

“David has extensive experience in the resources sector, having most recently worked as Interim CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), the peak national body for the Australian minerals industry,” CO2CRC chairman. Former Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson said.

Mr Byers replaces Tania Constable, who has been appointed chief executive of the MCA. 

“The CO2CRC Board thanks Tania for her leadership of the CO2CRC and looks forward to David continuing the model of strong stakeholder engagement established by Tania during her four years as CO2CRC chief executive,” Mr Ferguson said.

“CO2CRC is pleased to have attracted someone of David’s experience and calibre to the role of chief executive. CO2CRC is Australia’s leading carbon capture and storage (CCS) research organisation, supporting industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is an active participant and leader of CCS projects globally and in Australia, demonstrating CCS in-field at its $100 million Otway Research Facility.

“We have a big task ahead of us to limit global temperatures to below 2 degrees and CCS is critical to a number of industries including gas, coal, cement and steel to help meet this goal” Mr Ferguson said.

Immediately prior to joining the MCA, Mr Byers was vice president for government relations and public policy for BHP, with responsibility for coordinating the company’s global government affairs and public policy interests.

This followed four years as CEO of the Australian Petroleum Producers and Explorers Association (APPEA), the peak national body representing Australia’s oil and gas exploration and production industry. During this period, the Australian oil and gas industry experienced its largest ever expansion with seven major LNG projects under construction and development of new onshore and offshore gas resources.

Mr Byers’ role at APPEA followed his earlier appointment from 2007-2010, as chief executive of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

David Byers has spent almost all his career in the resources sector with over 17 years at ExxonMobil Corporation in a variety of senior roles in Melbourne, Singapore and the US and four years with Woodside, based in Karratha, Western Australia.


CHRIS SARRA has been appointed Director-General of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) in Queensland.

Dr Sarra has stated plans to “reset” the government’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in Queensland, seeking to change the policy approach to one which will empower First Peoples “to thrive, rather than survive”. 

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has applauded Dr Sarra’s policy approach which focusses on “investing in authentic localised leadership, rather than subcontracting out”.

“National Congress recognises Dr Sarra’s considerable work in improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” a National Congress spokesperson said. “Dr Sarra’s career began as the first Aboriginal principal of Cherboug State School, where he dramatically lifted school attendance, literary and numeracy results. He was a founding director of Strong Smart Solutions, which has improved results in hundreds of Aboriginal schools.”

Dr Sarra is currently a professor of education at the University of Canberra. He has served on several boards including as chair of the Stronger Smarter Institute, co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, commissioner of the Australian Rugby League Commission, Cowboys NRL House and Queensland Performing Arts Centre Trust.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised Dr Sarra’s “work in pursuing more positive and productive outcomes for Indigenous communities” for which he has been recognised both nationally and internationally.


LONG-ESTABLISHED northern NSW charity, The Buttery, has announced the appointment of one of the founding partners of private equity firm Next Capital, Sandy Lockhart, as its chairman.

Mr Lockhart replaces the long-serving former chair, Professor Robert Weatherby. 

The Buttery Board has also appointed Byron Bay based lawyer and yoga teacher, Kara Goodsell to the position of company secretary. 

The Buttery conducts residential and community-based programs in northern NSW for teenagers and adults who may be affected by substance misuse, gambling addictions or mental health issues.

Mr Lockhart has been associated with The Buttery for many years and said he looked forward to continuing that engagement for the foreseeable future.


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