New South Wales

Meet your NSW Councillors

The ESA NSW Branch Council for 2022/23 is confirmed as below.


Nicki Hutley, President

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.

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 the Commonwealth Treasury in the Macroeconomic Conditions Division. Lex advises on macroeconomic issues facing the country and produces key economic forecasts. Prior to this Lex worked at PwC in the Public Policy and Economics team. He graduated from Macquarie University with degrees in economics and applied finance. Outside of work Lex enjoys running and reading.

Ben Zhe Wang, Treasurer

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 Journal of Economic Behaviour & Organization, Macroeconomic Dynamics, Journal of Macroeconomics, Economic Record, and Journal of Business Ethics.

James Bishop, Councillor

James Bishop is Head of Section (acting) in the Economic Analysis Department at the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). He is currently the acting head of a team that is responsible for the forecasting and analysis of domestic economic activity and trade. Before this, James was a Research Manager in the RBA’s Research Department in a team that uses microdata to answer macroeconomic policy questions. His research interests focus on policy evaluation and the labour market. James holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics, First Class Hons and University Medal) from the University of Wollongong, a Masters in Economics (with Distinction) from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Economics from the University of Sydney.

Ashley Brosnan, Councillor

Ashley Brosnan is the Director of the Economics & Analysis team at Austrade. Ashley is passionate about international trade policy and competitiveness, inequality, and the impacts of technology. He is a specialist in trade, development, and international economics, and prior to working at Austrade worked with NSW Treasury in their International Markets team. He has also managed development projects in Bhutan, Tuvalu, Palau, and Timor-Leste. He is a co-author of the Trade and Investment Megatrends Report alongside CSIRO.

Ashley was previously an academic at Faculty of Economics and Finance at the Queensland University of Technology and received the Prime Minister's Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Award.

Erin-Lea Brown, Councillor

Erin-Lea Brown is a Principal Economist at NSW Treasury in the Economic and Revenue Analysis Division, where she provides advice on the structural risks and opportunities facing the New South Wales economy in long‑term. Prior to joining NSW Treasury, Erin worked as an Assistant Director at Commonwealth Treasury. Erin is interested in the themes of wealth distribution, gender and labour markets, financial innovation, and understanding how macroeconomic phenomena reciprocally shape and are shaped by institutions, laws, and government. Erin holds a Master of Political Economy degree from the University of Sydney where she was awarded the Jo Martins Postgraduate Prize in Political Economy.


Belinda Cheung, Councillor

Belinda Cheung is a Senior Economist at Aware Super. Prior to joining Aware Super, Belinda worked as a Director at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and as a Senior Economist and Manager at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Belinda holds a combined Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Economics (Honours) degree from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Economics from the University of New South Wales. As an economics nerd, Belinda is keen to spread the message that a career in economics involves storytelling and mythbusting, and doing work that matters. 

Richard Cox, Councillor

Richard Cox is currently Director Economic Strategy in NSW Treasury. Richard has more than thirty years' experience as a public policy economist. He started his career in Whitehall, before migrating to Australia. He has worked on a wide range of issues including electricity industry reform, climate policy, fiscal strategy, tax policy, regulation and competition policy, housing policy, economic evaluation, industry policy, productivity, and commercial policy. Richard takes a heterodox view of economics. Experience has taught him that every day we can learn something new and interesting about how the economy works and how we can influence it for the better, or not. He has a strong commitment to staff development and knowledge transfer, a major part of his current role. Richard is a longstanding member of the ESA (and the AEA), and would like to help the ESA be a builder of better bridges between academic economics, and the public policy economic community.

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.

Johnathan McMenamin, Councillor

Johnathan McMenamin is an Associate Director working across EY’s Oceania Office of the Chief Economist and EY’s Valuations Modelling and Economics Team with 8 years’ experience in the public sector and in consulting. Prior to joining EY, Johnathan was a Principal Economist at NSW Treasury, working within the Economic and Revenue forecasting division of Treasury. He has extensive experience researching, analysing and forecasting state and national economies in a high level of detail and delivering advice to executives of government and business. Johnathan is a representative of EY in the media and produces thought pieces which help to guide the public economic conversation.

Paul Oslington, Councillor

Paul Oslington is Professor of Economics and Theology at Alphacrucis College in Sydney. 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 works on international trade, labour markets and the history and philosophy of economics, and is an international leader in the emerging interdisciplinary field of economics and religion. Publication include 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 Economic Review, Economics Letters, World Economy, Review of International EconomicsHistory 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 the Head of Australia and New Zealand for the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Before this she was the Chief Circular Economist for NSW Circular, a NSW government-funded body, and held various senior executive roles in the NSW Government including as Executive Director of Circular Economy with the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment, and Director of Economic Policy in the NSW 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 is the current Chair of NSW Women in Economics Network, as well as a Council Member of the Economic Society of Australia (NSW).


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