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Australia’s top tax professionals recognised

Publication date: 16 Mar 17 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Thursday, 16 March 2017: The Tax Institute has announced the winners of the 2017 Tax Adviser of the Year Awards. 

The winners were presented with their awards this evening during The Tax Institute’s National Convention Gala Dinner at the iconic Adelaide Oval. 

The four award categories – ‘Emerging Tax Star’, ‘SME Tax Adviser of the Year’, ‘Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year’ and ‘Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year’ – recognise excellence and achievement at different experience levels. 

The Emerging Tax Star award, for a developing tax professional who has demonstrated commitment and passion in building their tax career, was presented to Arnold Bloch Leibler’s Jonathan Ortner FTI.

Mr Ortner specialises in providing taxation advice to private and corporate clients, and impressed the judges with his work advising clients in the ‘Project Do It’ initiative and through his commitment to building a strong external network. 

The other finalists in the Emerging Tax Star category were MinterEllison’s Julie Abdalla FTI, Macquarie Group’s Sally Dole and KPMG’s Stephanie Schaefer CTA. 

The SME Tax Adviser of the Year, for a leading tax adviser in the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) environment, was presented to VdV Legal’s Julie Van der Velde CTA. 

Ms Van der Velde has established her own legal practice in Adelaide, from which she regularly advises SME clients. She contributes to the tax profession through a monthly update breakfast she runs for ‘Ladies in tax’. She also teaches at Adelaide University, writes and presents for the Law Society, and has been published widely. 

The other finalists in the SME Tax Adviser of the Year category were Arnold Bloch Leibler’s Kaitilin Lowdon ATI, Mutual Trust’s Stuart Glasgow CTA, and BNR Partners’ Ian Raspin CTA. 

The Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year award, for a prominent tax professional in the corporate environment, was presented to Westpac’s Michael Barbour CTA. 

As General Manager of Group Taxation for Westpac, Mr Barbour displays a high level of expertise when dealing with corporate clients, and his experience encompasses both domestic and global tax issues. He has led Westpac’s Group Taxation function since 2001, has achieved value for the bank through tax consolidation, and has shown initiative in relation to many tax technical, commercial and environmental changes facing the bank. 

The other finalists in the Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year category were the ATO’s Fiona Dillion CTA, Arnold Bloch Leibler’s Clint Harding CTA and KPMG’s Simon How CTA. 

The Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year award is presented to a tax professional who has demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, strategic business expertise and innovative ideas. This year the award was presented to KPMG’s Peter Madden CTA. 

Mr Madden has more than 30 years’ experience in the tax profession and has been a member of The Tax Institute since 1983. He became a Partner at KPMG in 1990 and now leads the KPMG International and M&A tax groups. He has been actively involved with the Treasury and ATO on issues relating to the administration of complex and untested anti-avoidance tax legislation. He first lectured in tax at UTS in 1985, has mentored many senior tax professionals and is a member of Treasury’s BEPS Tax Advisory Group. He has also published many topical papers and provided submissions to the Taxation in Australia journal. 

In presenting the award to Mr Madden, The Tax Institute’s CEO Noel Rowland said “Peter has shown outstanding global leadership and a strong contribution to the tax profession.” 

The other 2017 finalists in Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year category were EY’s Antoinette Elias CTA and KPMG’s Stephen Carpenter CTA. 

The Tax Adviser of the Year awards are judged by an independent expert panel that comprises leading members of the tax profession. 

Mr Rowland congratulated all finalists and winners on their achievements. 

“The Tax Adviser of the Year Awards honour the best and brightest in the Australian tax profession. The recipients of this year’s awards are making a big difference in the profession, while positively affecting the lives of their clients and supporting the Australian economy,” Mr Rowland said. 


For more information, please contact:

Noel Rowland, CEO, The Tax Institute: 02 8223 0011

Stephanie Conway, The Tax Institute: 02 8223 0011


The Tax Institute is Australia’s leading professional association and educator in tax. Its 12,000 members include tax agents, accountants and lawyers as well as tax practitioners in corporations, government and academia. The Tax Institute supports the tax profession through education and professional development and works to continually improve tax law and its administration.