Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb has confirmed the appointments of three senior investment specialists from the private sector who will add to Australia’s capacity to attract foreign investment.

“These three senior investment specialists will be joined by two more specialists in the near future, and all five will focus on promoting investment into the key sectors of the national investment priorities - food and agribusiness, resources and energy, tourism and hospitality, tropical health and medical research and international education,” Mr Robb said.

“Their role at Austrade will be as advocates for Australia as a great place to invest, working closely with states and territories.  They will also have a role in making sure that projects receive appropriate support across the government and that the projects get off the ground,” he said.

Mr Robb said foreign investment in sectors such as infrastructure was critical for Australia’s economic development and future prosperity, providing capital, technology and know-how to the economy.

“Australia is open for business and private sector expertise and insight is critical to the Australian Government’s efforts to attract investment, which not only creates jobs but ensures the competitiveness of our economy and establishes valuable international linkages.”

Mr Robb said the appointments would complement the newly-appointed Trade and Investment Policy Advisory Council, TIPAC, which also brings with it advisory input for government from 20 leading Australian business people.

Each of the three senior investment specialists will focus on a specific national investment priority.

David Watson: formerly the Commercial Director of the Sydney Opera House, a corporate partner at law firm Minter Ellison and a senior executive at Mars Inc, has extensive international experience in the food industry. Based in Sydney, he will specialise in food and agribusiness.

Hugh Funder: formerly a senior executive at Lend Lease Engineering, ABN Amro and RBS, will focus on attracting investment into major social and economic infrastructure. A specialist in Public Private Partnerships, he will be based in Sydney.

Jeff Swingler: was Executive Director of Infracap, a boutique infrastructure consulting group, and was formerly Director of ANZ Securities/ANZ Corporate Finance. He has broad international experience in the energy sector and a strong strategic background. He will focus on energy and resources, and related infrastructure.  Jeff will be based in Melbourne.

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