Louise Sylvan, who lives in the Elizabeth, received the award of Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queens Birthday honours list.
Louise emigrated to Australia in 1983 and after working with the ANU for a couple of years, returned to her passion for consumer rights and became founding director of the Consumers’ Health Forum in 1987. She then went to CHOICE – the Australian Consumers’ Association – first as their head of policy and then as CEO. People will remember her fiery public battles with the banks and retail superannuation companies over their treatment of consumers – a battle that continues today!
During her time at CHOICE, she was elected to the global body of consumer organisations, becoming its President in 2000 and working with developed and developing countries in enhancing product safety and consumer protections in markets. She then joined the ACCC as its Deputy Chair, later becoming a Commissioner of the Productivity Commission.
Another of Louise’s passions is the environment. Louise joined the board of Australian Bush Heritage – one of the largest landholders in the country – to contribute to its work of owning and partnering to protect Australia’s biodiversity. She chaired Bush Heritage for almost 10 years.
Louise now chairs the new energy market institution created by the energy ministers to create a powerful influential voice for residential and small business energy consumers. She’s an Adjunct Professor at the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, especially focussed on opportunities for the worldwide prevention of obesity and other chronic diseases. And she invests in other social and environmental projects with her husband Barry Catchlove AM.