Updated: 2 January 2024

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) today announced the appointment of Dr Heron Loban to its independent board. The appointment becomes effective on 1 January 2024.

AFCA’s Board Chair, Professor John Pollaers OAM, said Dr Loban will bring an impressive set of skills and experience to the board as a director with consumer experience. “As a highly regarded Indigenous lawyer who is dedicated to consumer advocacy work, she will make a strong contribution,” he said. 

“Throughout her career, she has been passionate about access to justice and fairness and she recognises the vital role that ombudsman schemes play in helping to secure fair resolutions to financial disputes.”

The AFCA Board consists of an independent Chair and an equal number of directors with consumer and industry experience, covering the multi-dimensional and highly complex industries AFCA deals with. 

Dr Loban is a proud descendant of the Mabuyag and Boigu peoples, a lawyer, academic and company director. She is in-house counsel with Queensland South Native Title Services and a company director for Mura Lagh, a First Nations owned and led consulting firm.

She has also recently served as the Director of First Nations Strategy at Queensland Performing Arts Centre and has held numerous academic positions including Senior Lecturer posts at Griffith University and James Cook University. Her PhD thesis was on “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and consumer law”.

As a lawyer she has worked as Principal Legal Officer at Gur A Baradharaw (GBK) Torres Strait Sea and Land Council, as CEO of the Torres Strait and NPA Legal Service, and as a solicitor with the Torres Strait Regional Authority and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. 

“The Board is excited to be welcoming Heron as a leader, a First Nations woman, a lawyer, a consumer advocate and an academic. Her involvement with multiple community and industry groups gives her a unique perspective,” Professor Pollaers said.

Dr Loban is a member of the First Nations Clean Energy and Emissions Reduction Advisory Committee, the Indigenous Advisory Group of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), and the Advisory Board for Reforming Legal Education.

She has also been Co-Chair of the First Nations Cultural Heritage Protection Alliance, a Member of the Council of Australian Law Deans Working Party on First Peoples Partnership, a director of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and a member of the Telstra Chief Executive Officer Consumer Roundtable.  

Dr Loban will replace Carmel Franklin, who became a member of the inaugural AFCA Board in 2018 after serving as a consumer director on the board of one of its predecessor schemes, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

“We thank Carmel for her dedication and outstanding contribution over nearly nine years with AFCA and FOS,” Professor Pollaers said. “She has been a stalwart on the board, providing invaluable consumer insights and expertise.” 

Published: 6 December 2023

Media enquiries media@afca.org.au

About AFCA

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) is a non-government ombudsman service providing free, fair and independent help with financial disputes. It is a one-stop-shop for consumers and small businesses who have a dispute with their financial firm, over things such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments or superannuation. Where an agreement cannot be reached between parties, AFCA can issue decisions that are binding on financial firms.

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