Australian Futures Project is a tax-exempt, non-profit company limited by guarantee and is registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Founded in 2012 by Ralph Ashton and Fiona McKenzie, the Australian Futures Project was incubated at La Trobe University, with the support of many generous partners and donors.

 

Australia is a magnificent nation. But we’re facing challenges on important, long-term issues and we’re failing to respond fast and well.

 

At Australian Futures Project, we stimulate and support leaders, experts, and the community to identify, test, and build initiatives to create the Australia we want tomorrow, today. Our unique approach has a proven track record in addressing complex challenges.

By working with government, business, media, experts, and the public, we’re delivering on our mission to improve how Australia creates its future.


We deploy our six capabilities with a focus on:

 
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Improving Australians' understanding of key challenges and opportunities facing our country

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Increasing the quality of discussion towards the future Australians want

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Increasing the quality of action towards the future Australians want

The Australia Futures Project team

Ralph has a track record of conceiving, building, and leading non-partisan initiatives to tackle cross-sectoral challenges. Before co-founding the Australian Futures Project in 2012, Ralph spent a decade leading international public policy initiatives, working closely on every continent with governments, the United Nations, World Bank, business, academia, and non-profits. This included coordinating WWF’s global response to the Indian Ocean earthquakes and tsunami, and convening and chairing the multi-disciplinary international Terrestrial Carbon Group. With a background in corporate law and investment banking, Ralph has also held visiting positions at Columbia University and the Australian National University.

Ralph has a track record of conceiving, building, and leading non-partisan initiatives to tackle cross-sectoral challenges. Before co-founding the Australian Futures Project in 2012, Ralph spent a decade leading international public policy initiatives, working closely on every continent with governments, the United Nations, World Bank, business, academia, and non-profits. This included coordinating WWF’s global response to the Indian Ocean earthquakes and tsunami, and convening and chairing the multi-disciplinary international Terrestrial Carbon Group. With a background in corporate law and investment banking, Ralph has also held visiting positions at Columbia University and the Australian National University.

Ralph Ashton
Executive Director

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Chloë brings over 10 years of experience running cross-cultural and leadership programs, as well as extensive events, programming and team leading experience. With a focus on empowerment through a broadening of knowledge and horizons, Chloë developed and led multiple symposia to Canberra, Turkey and Brazil and has organised Youth Development Forums, bringing together Timorese, Papua New Guinean and Australian youth to workshop rights-based approaches to youth-led development. Most recently, Chloë managed Macquarie University’s Global Leadership Program (GLP), which was awarded a prestigious international award from the Institute for International Education for Innovation and Best Practice in Internationalising the Campus. Chloë is invested in education, leadership and innovation for systems change and social impact.

Chloë brings over 10 years of experience running cross-cultural and leadership programs, as well as extensive events, programming and team leading experience. With a focus on empowerment through a broadening of knowledge and horizons, Chloë developed and led multiple symposia to Canberra, Turkey and Brazil and has organised Youth Development Forums, bringing together Timorese, Papua New Guinean and Australian youth to workshop rights-based approaches to youth-led development. Most recently, Chloë managed Macquarie University’s Global Leadership Program (GLP), which was awarded a prestigious international award from the Institute for International Education for Innovation and Best Practice in Internationalising the Campus. Chloë is invested in education, leadership and innovation for systems change and social impact.

Chloë Spackman
Program Manager

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Jessica has a strong background in project management, communications and customer service and has worked with a number of organisations across the not-for-profit and private sector. She is currently completing a Masters of Public Policy at UNSW and is interested in building innovation and leadership development in Australia. 

Jessica has a strong background in project management, communications and customer service and has worked with a number of organisations across the not-for-profit and private sector. She is currently completing a Masters of Public Policy at UNSW and is interested in building innovation and leadership development in Australia. 

Jessica Fuller
Program Officer

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Fiona is a human geographer with a PhD on innovation and expertise in both public policy and academic research. At the Australian Futures Project, Fiona leads the design and implementation of a range of unique programs, including social innovation labs. Fiona is respected for her ability to rapidly synthesise complex topics for decision makers and co-design processes for systems change with stakeholders. With more than 15 years of experience, Fiona has worked with the United Nations Environment Programme, EcoAgriculture Partners, Terrestrial Carbon Group, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, University of Sydney, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, plus various federal and state government agencies.

Fiona is a human geographer with a PhD on innovation and expertise in both public policy and academic research. At the Australian Futures Project, Fiona leads the design and implementation of a range of unique programs, including social innovation labs. Fiona is respected for her ability to rapidly synthesise complex topics for decision makers and co-design processes for systems change with stakeholders. With more than 15 years of experience, Fiona has worked with the United Nations Environment Programme, EcoAgriculture Partners, Terrestrial Carbon Group, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, University of Sydney, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, plus various federal and state government agencies.

Dr. Fiona McKenzie
Strategy Director

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Khiem is a branding and marketing specialist, with over six years of experience in the advertising, corporate communications and consulting sectors. Khiem has worked with clients and organisations including Apple, Michelle Bridges, The Cancer Council, The Kirby Institute and UNSW SYDNEY. An expert in branding, Khiem has worked on the successful rebrand of numerous organisations and provided strategic communications advice. With a strong background in design and communications, Khiem is well equipped to successfully develop and launch advertising and communications campaigns, especially within the digital realm. Khiem was a guest speaker at the Sydney Social Unconference, and has worked with various chapters of the Rotary and Rotaract clubs in their social missions.

Khiem is a branding and marketing specialist, with over six years of experience in the advertising, corporate communications and consulting sectors. Khiem has worked with clients and organisations including Apple, Michelle Bridges, The Cancer Council, The Kirby Institute and UNSW SYDNEY. An expert in branding, Khiem has worked on the successful rebrand of numerous organisations and provided strategic communications advice. With a strong background in design and communications, Khiem is well equipped to successfully develop and launch advertising and communications campaigns, especially within the digital realm. Khiem was a guest speaker at the Sydney Social Unconference, and has worked with various chapters of the Rotary and Rotaract clubs in their social missions.

Khiem Tudo
Communications Manager

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Paula manages the day-to-day financial, regulatory and all reporting requirements of the organisation. Paula is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. Prior to moving into the not-for-profit sector, Paula worked in the public practice sector, and in senior taxation, finance and human resources positions at HSBC Bank. Paula has worked in the finance and company secretarial role in the not-for-profit sector for the past 7 years.

Paula manages the day-to-day financial, regulatory and all reporting requirements of the organisation. Paula is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. Prior to moving into the not-for-profit sector, Paula worked in the public practice sector, and in senior taxation, finance and human resources positions at HSBC Bank. Paula has worked in the finance and company secretarial role in the not-for-profit sector for the past 7 years.

Paula Steyer
Financial Controller

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Angela is a researcher whose interest lies in collecting and analysing information and data to inform strategy and policy decisions for both government and corporations. Angela's most recent position was a Research Associate in the Migration and Polling programs at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. Angela holds a Masters Degree in European and International Studies from the University of Trento and a Graduate Diploma in Transnational Governance from Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna. Prior to undertaking her Masters, Angela spent two years as a researcher of labour and economic policies in her home country of Singapore.

Angela is a researcher whose interest lies in collecting and analysing information and data to inform strategy and policy decisions for both government and corporations. Angela's most recent position was a Research Associate in the Migration and Polling programs at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. Angela holds a Masters Degree in European and International Studies from the University of Trento and a Graduate Diploma in Transnational Governance from Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna. Prior to undertaking her Masters, Angela spent two years as a researcher of labour and economic policies in her home country of Singapore.

Angela Han
Program Officer

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Advisory board

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Ivan Wheen

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Rachel Peck

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Kate Chaney

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Enrico Rizzon

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Professor John Dewar

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Jono Gourlay