The New Energy Security Landscape

Jun 18, 2021

The Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (NSW) in partnership with Gilbert + Tobin  hosted a panel discussion on the outlook, opportunities, and risk factors for Australia’s New Energy Security Landscape.

There is no doubt that the world is passing through a period of great changes: tectonic changes in global politics, changes in technology and computing, and a rapidly changing climate.

Nowhere do these changes converge more acutely than in energy security and energy systems.  The ability to supply energy from diverse sources to government and private customers, at economic prices, in peacetime, or at war is a pillar of the modern state.  Today, those outcomes also need to be low carbon, ‘smart’, and data secure, too.

Because of all this, data is becoming ever more valuable, both economically and strategically, in energy security and supply.  And there has been a sharp rise over the past two years in cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure, including grids, impacting stock markets, national infrastructure, and thousands of households.

Our panel:

David Irvine AO

David Irvine was Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea from 1996-1999 and Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China between 2000-2003, also concurrently Australian Ambassador to Mongolia and to the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.  He subsequently became the Director-General of ASIS (2003-2009) and Director-General of Security in Charge of ASIO 2009-2014)

He chaired for six years the Cyber Security Research Centre, a not-for-profit Cooperative Research Centre promoting industry investment into Australia’s cyber research capabilities in conjunction – and remains on its board.  He is the Chairman of the Foreign Investment Review Board. He is an Adjunct Professor at Charles Sturt University. 

Dr Kerry Schott AO

Kerry Schott is Chair of the Energy Security Board and a Director of NBN.  She is also a member of the Direct Assets Committee for Aware Super.

Kerry was Managing Director and CEO of Sydney Water from 2006 to 2011. Before that Kerry spent 15 years as an investment banker, including as Managing Director of Deutsche Bank and Executive Vice President of Bankers Trust Australia.  During this time she specialised in privatisation, restructuring, and infrastructure provision.  Prior to becoming an investment banker Kerry was a public servant and an academic and since retiring from Sydney Water she has been an adviser to governments and a chair and director of several public sector owned companies.  

Kerry holds a doctorate from Oxford University, a Masters of Arts from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and a Bachelor of Arts (first class Honours) from the University of New England.  She was recently awarded an Order of Australia and Honorary Doctorates from the University of Sydney, the University of Western Sydney and the University of New England.

Sharon Eacott 

Sharon is an energy security and data regulatory specialist. She is Managing Director of Australian Data Risk Management, a newly established consulting firm that specialises in providing data risk management, corporate governance and assurance services to organisations operating in Australia, to meet Australian data regulatory requirements. 

Sharon was previously General Counsel and Company Secretary of Alinta Energy, one of Australia’s largest energy retailers and generators. In that role, Sharon delivered an extensive enterprise-wide program of work to meet data security and energy asset operational technology security requirements for a foreign owned, critical infrastructure business. The program included the establishment of data governance & compliance frameworks, engagement with Department of Treasury, Department of Home Affairs and Alinta Energy group independent boards and shareholders. She is one of the few advisors in the Australian market with practical experience of implementing energy security and customer data security requirements. 

Sharon has over 20 years’ experience in the legal and energy, infrastructure and resources sector including several years as a corporate partner with Herbert Smith Freehills. Over her career, she has worked internationally in South America, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, including a number of years in Japan advising on global cross-border energy deals. In addition to her strong corporate governance experience, Sharon has led M&A deals, project finance and the development of projects with a value exceeding A$30bn. 

Steven Skala AO

Steven has a distinguished career of service including on the boards of public and private companies, and government-related and not-for-profit organizations. He has more than 35 years’ experience in the law, business and banking.

Steven is Vice Chairman, Australia of Deutsche Bank AG, a position he has held since 2004. He is Chairman of the Commonwealth Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation and a member of the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Technology Investment Advisory Council. Among public companies, he is a former Chairman of Wilson Group Limited, Hexima Limited and The Island Food Company Limited, and is a former Director of the Channel TEN Group of companies and Max Capital Group Limited. Between 1982 and 2004, he was a Partner of Australian law firms, Morris Fletcher & Cross (now Minter Ellison) and Arnold Bloch Leibler.

Active beyond banking and commerce, Steven is Chairman of the Heide Museum of Modern Art, Deputy Chairman of the General Sir John Monash Foundation, a Director of the Centre for Independent Studies and a Member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. He was previously Chairman of Film Australia Limited, Chairman of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Vice President (Deputy Chairman) of The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, a Director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and a Director of the Australian Ballet.

Chris Flynn (Moderator) 

Chris Flynn is a partner at Gilbert + Tobin where he heads the firm’s energy practice and sits on its Board.  He is an energy and energy security specialist.

For over 20 years, he has worked in energy, infrastructure and energy security in 65 countries, including advising India, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Brunei as well as other states in Central Asia, Europe and Africa across renewable and non-renewable energy platforms.  In certain cases, that work has involved, or carried implications for, defence and defence posture considerations.  He has also advised Beach Energy Limited, Harbour Energy, Qenos, Meridian, Total, KKR, Engie, and Rio Tinto.

Event Partners: