Role of the Board

The CDIC Advisory Board brings together Australian defence industry leaders and senior public sector representatives to provide guidance and strategic direction for the CDIC, including:

  • engaging with key stakeholders across Government, states and territories, Department of Defence, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources and the defence industry
  • establishing strategic relationships with the selected domestic and international stakeholders
  • communicating the role of the CDIC at relevant forums and to relevant stakeholder groups
  • providing guidance and strategic direction for the CDIC to assist it to meet its objectives and achieve outcomes
  • providing strategic oversight of the CDIC through advice to Government and recommendations to the CDIC General Manager
  • briefing the Minister as appropriate and provide advice to Government, including on the development of sustainable defence industrial capability, in line with Australia’s defence priorities
  • requesting information from, and make recommendations to, the Steering Group on any matter relating to the CDIC
  • receiving reports and information from the Steering Group and CDIC General Manager


Ms Kate Carnell AO (industry representative) has been an advocate in the business sector for many years. Ms Carnell is currently the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, where she works to influence legislation and regulation to help small businesses grow. She was previously Chief Executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and was Chief Minister of the ACT from 1995 to 2000.


Mr Tony Fraser (Defence representative) is the Deputy Secretary Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group. Mr Fraser brings extensive Defence and industry experience to the board. Following a distinguished 34-year career as an Australian Army officer, culminating in his role as Head of the Helicopter Systems Division in the Defence Materiel Organisation, he was Managing Director Airbus Australia Pacific prior to taking up his current position.

Board members

Kelly Elphinstone has 40 years of experience across the manufacturing and mining industries. She is currently Managing Director at Elphinstone Pty Ltd, a heavy equipment designer and manufacturer.

James Fitzgerald has more than 35 years’ experience in industry. He is the Executive Chairman of Civmec, a heavy engineering and construction provider.

Amanda Holt has private sector defence experience spanning 12 years. She currently holds the dual positions of CEO and Chief Engineer Defence and Aerospace for SYPAQ Systems. Other industry roles held by Amanda include Director of the Williams Foundation, Co-Chairman of the Aerospace Environmental Working Group and member of the Rapid Prototyping, Development and Evaluation Program.

Defence Export Advocate - Former Senator the Hon David Johnston has vast experience as Shadow Minister for Defence from 2008 to 2013, and Minister for Defence from 2013 to 2015. He is currently a member of the WA Club and a patron of Friends of Israel WA.

Kate Louis worked for 20 years in Defence and has extensive experience with Defence industry capability development. As First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy Division, Kate was responsible for the effective implementation of the Government’s approach to defence industry policy. She is currently Head of Defence and Industry Policy at Ai Group.

Karen Stanton has over 15 years’ experience with defence industry, including as a lecturer for the MBA program at Queensland University of Technology. She currently holds the position of Director Corporate Strategy for the Heat Treatment Group of Companies, and is a member of the Industry and Manufacturing Advisory Group QLD and the board of Elbit Systems of Australia.

Neil Sunners is Managing Director and co-founder of construction company Sunbuild Pty Ltd. Neil has 40 years of experience in the construction industry, delivering solutions in the private, corporate, education and Government sectors, including for Defence.

Chris Williams has 14 years’ experience in the private sector defence industry, following 11 years in the Royal Australian Navy. He is currently Managing Director of H.I. Fraser Pty Ltd, and is Chairman of the Sydney Aerospace and Defence Interest Group (SADIG) and a member of the Australian Industry Group National Defence Council.

Christine Zeitz has over 25 years’ experience in the defence industry, holding various roles with multinational defence businesses since 1990. She currently holds the positions of Managing Director and Senior Vice President of Leidos Australia.