New South Wales

Meet your NSW Councillors

The ESA NSW Branch Council for 2020/2021 is confirmed as below.


Penny Smith, President

Penny Smith is the Deputy Head of Financial Stability Department at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Since joining the Bank in 2009, Penny has held various management positions in Financial System Group, Economic Group and Financial Markets Group. Prior to joining the Bank, Penny worked in Strategy and Research at Westpac and as a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She has a PhD from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Western Australia. Penny is also President of the NSW Branch of the Economic Society of Australia.

Gigi Foster, VP Academic

Gigi Foster is a Professor with the School of Economics at the University of New South Wales, having joined UNSW in 2009 after six years at the University of South Australia. Formally educated at Yale University (BA in Ethics, Politics, and Economics) and the University of Maryland (PhD in Economics), she works in diverse fields including education, social influence, corruption, lab experiments, time use, behavioural economics, and Australian policy. Her research contributions regularly inform public debates and appear in both specialised and cross-disciplinary outlets (e.g., Quantitative Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Population Economics, Journal of Economic Psychology, Human Relations). Her teaching, featuring strategic innovation and integration with research, was awarded a 2017 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. Named 2019 Young Economist of the Year by the Economic Society of Australia, Professor Foster has filled numerous roles of service to the profession and engages heavily on economic matters with the Australian community. As one of Australia’s leading economics communicators, her regular media appearances include co-hosting The Economists, a national economics talk-radio program and podcast series now in its fourth season, with Peter Martin AM on ABC Radio National.

Jess Mizrahi, VP Business

Jess Mizrahi  is currently an Associate Director at Deloitte Access Economics, where she provides practical policy advice and thought leadership for industry and government clients. She has guided projects in a range of industries, with deep experience in financial services, the digital economy, telecommunications and media.  She has extensive experience in economic and social policy, strategy and analysis. Jessica was a finalist for Deloitte Young Businesswoman of the Year in 2015, and previously taught economics to over 300 students at the University of New South Wales.

Alexander Lindfield, Secretary

Lex Lindfield is an economist at PwC in the Public Policy and Economics team. Lex advises on city shaping investments for State and National Governments. He graduated from Macquarie University with degrees in economics and applied finance and his economic interests are centred around theoretical microeconomics and economic development. Outside of work Lex enjoys rowing and reading.

Peter Rickards, Treasurer

Peter Rickards is an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Prior to joining the Bank, Peter worked in investment banking (Credit Suisse). He graduated from the University of New South Wales with Honours in Economics. During his time at UNSW he taught economics and continues to do so. Within the field of economics, Peter’s interests include monetary economics, economic history and behavioural economics. In his spare time, Peter enjoys travelling and playing sport.

Belinda Cheung, Councillor

Belinda Cheung is a Director at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Prior to joining Commonwealth Bank, Belinda worked as a senior economist and manager at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Belinda holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Economics (Honours) from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Economics from the University of New South Wales. As an economic policy wonk, Belinda is keen to spread the message that a career in economics means doing work that matters, and involves a fair amount of storytelling and mythbusting. 

Luke Crowther, Councillor

Luke Crowther has been an ESA (NSW) Councillor since 2017 and is part of the Young Economist Network (YEN), which is responsible for organising events such as Policy in the Pub nights, ‘A Day in the Life’ and the YEN Mentoring Program. Luke works as a Senior Consultant in the Infrastructure Advisory team at Ernst & Young. He graduated from a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) and Bachelor of Finance at the Australian National University, with a particular focus on theoretical microeconomics, including contract theory and trade theory. Luke is passionate about economics education and assisting those new to the field to better understand career paths in economics. Outside work Luke enjoys trying to learn the guitar, playing tennis or supporting his AFL team North Melbourne.

Christiana (Gailey) Gurgick, Councillor

Christiana Gurgick is a Director in PwC’s Economics and Policy Team. The majority of her work has focused on empowering cities – and their citizens – by bringing together the economics, finance, and governance required to unlock growth. Her success in the USA, UK and Australia has seen Christiana become a recognised thought leader on the topic – a status cemented by a TEDx talk she delivered in London. She has worked with city leaders and government departments to create compelling investment cases for the largest cities and infrastructure investments across the UK and Australia. Christiana’s global experience and diverse interests have led her to work for a variety of private, public and third sector organisations – including the British civil service, think tanks, academia, and consulting.

Peter Hendy, Councillor

The Hon Dr Peter Hendy presently runs his own economic consultancy and is a company director. Dr Hendy was the Member for Eden-Monaro in the Federal Parliament from 2013 to 2016, and during this time was Assistant Minister for Finance, Assistant Minister for Productivity, and Assistant Cabinet Secretary. Dr Hendy has also served as the Chief Economist in the Prime Minister's Office, Executive Director of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, and as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In the past he has been chief of staff of the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Employment and the Minister for Education. He started his career in the Australian Treasury.

Nicki Hutley, Councillor

Nicki Hutley is a highly experienced economist, with experience in financial and investment markets as well as economic consulting. Nicki has applied economic theory to a wide range of policy portfolios, but her passion lies in understanding and responding to the challenges of climate change (as a Councilor on the Climate Council) and supporting excellence in social impact programs (as Economics Consultant at Social Outcomes). Nicki believes the ESA plays an important role in Australian economic policy debates and enjoys being a part of the ESA Council and helping to engage a broad membership. Her personal mission is to bring an understanding of economics to a much wider part of the Australian electorate. Nicki is also an avid reader, cat lover, nature photographer and traveller.

Alexandra Lobb, Councillor

Alexandra Lobb is a Principal at ACIL Allen Consulting where she co-leads ACIL Allen’s Agribusiness Team. Although she specialises in agricultural economics and policy, Alexandra has experience and interest in many areas including space and spatial economics, food economics, consumer behaviour and marketing, environmental economics and competition and regulatory economics. Alexandra holds a PhD from the University of Western Australia and was formerly an academic at the University of Reading (UK), a senior economist at the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and principal analyst at the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal. Alexandra is the Chair of NSW WEN.  She enjoys solving problems, cooking (and eating) and listening to her sons play music.

Paul Oslington, Councillor

Paul Oslington is Professor of Economics and Dean of Business at Alphacrucis College, He was previously Associate Professor of Economics at University of New South Wales, and held visiting appointments at University of Oxford, University of British Columbia, and Princeton Theological Seminary and University. He is Vice-President Academic of the Economic Society (NSW Branch).  Professor Oslington works on international trade, labour markets and the history and philosophy of economics. He is an international leader in the emerging interdisciplinary field of economics and religion. Publications include the books The Theory of International Trade and Unemployment (Elgar), Economics and Religion (Elgar), Adam Smith as Theologian (Routledge), Political Economy as Natural Theology (Routledge), Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics (OUP), an edition of Jacob Viner‘s The Customs Union Issue (OUP) as well as articles in Economic Record, Australian Economic Papers, Australian Journal of Labour Economics, Economics Letters, World Economy, Review of International Economics, History of Economics Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought and History of Political Economy.

Robert Smith, Councillor

Robert Smith has been a member of the Economic Society of Australia for over 20 years and on the NSW council for eight. He is the Principal Consulting Economist at East Economics and has a background in management consulting, banking and finance, infrastructure and energy.  Robert’s experience covers economic evaluation, economic policy & regulation, market design, demand management, industry analysis, forecasting and performance improvement. He is passionate about using economics to find creative, efficient, and practical solutions described by clear and compelling narratives.  Robert’s other interests include technology and innovation, mentalism, ocean swimming and freediving.

Kar Mei Tang, Councillor

Dr Kar Mei Tang is Chief Circular Economist with NSW Circular. She has previously held senior executive roles in the NSW Government including as Executive Director, Circular Economy in the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Environment Protection Authority, and as Director of Economic Policy in the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Prior to joining the NSW public sector she was Head of Policy and Research with the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (now Australian Investment Council). Kar Mei has a PhD in Economics and a Masters in Applied Statistics. She is the Chair of the NSW Women in Economics Network, and a Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network Human Research Ethics Committee Member.

Ben Zhe Wang, Councillor

Ben Wang is a senior lecturer of economics with Macquarie Business School at Macquarie University, where he also serves as the corporate engagement coordinator for the Department of Economics. His work focuses on applied macroeconomics, with recent interests on measuring and evaluating the impact of macroeconomic uncertainty, housing market dynamics, and the role of media news in driving households' expectations. He has also worked on interdisciplinary topics that are related to socioeconomic disadvantaged groups. He has published in a wide range of academic journals including Macroeconomic Dynamics, Journal of Macroeconomics, Economic Record, Social Indicator Research and Journal of Business Ethics.


New South Wales

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