People 

Board of Directors

Geoff Puttick National Chairman & Western Australia State Chair

Geoff is the Chief Executive Officer and Regional Chairman for Pre-Paid Legal Services for the Asian, Middle Eastern and African regions. He is responsible for overseeing the company's development and expansion of its legal service provider network. Geoff is also involved in its ongoing growth within these regions by establishing stronger joint business relationships with other companies.

Geoff has an extensive background as a business developer over the past 30 years and has been working in management, consulting and advisory roles to both listed and unlisted companies and government. These are primarily in the areas of business investment and development, business analysis, mergers and acquisitions, mediation and negotiation. He has worked extensively across South East Asia, Mainland China and the United States, for various Australian, Asian and US based companies and developed an extensive and valuable client network throughout these regions.


James Harb National Director & New South Wales State Chair

James Harb is a member of AACCI's Board of Directors. He earned an LLB (Hons) from the University of Technology, Sydney in 1991 and an LLM from the University of Sydney in 1995. James is currently a partner at Blackstone Waterhouse Lawyers and lead the International Trade & Transport group. He is regarded as one of Australia's preeminent lawyers in the field and is also an expert in maritime law, logistics litigation, road/rail transport and aviation law. James has significant experience in establishing Australian business in Arab countries, particularly Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. He is also proficient with the Arabic language and culture.


Roland Jabbour Esq. JP National Director & Victoria State Chair

Roland is the Chairman of the Jabbour Holding Group of Companies, Chairman of the Australian Agency for Education & Training and Managing Director of the Cedar Jet Travel Group. He chairs the Australian Arabic Council and is a founding and current director of both the Australia Lebanon Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ALCCI) and the Australia Oman Business Council (AOBC).

Roland has extensive business and international trade relations experience. His business interests include property development and investments, traffic management, travel and tourism, international education and training. The Jabbour Holding Group is based in Melbourne and has offices across the Middle East region. The group oversees major projects between Australia and the Arab region, representing Australian universities, the private sector and government institutions.


Sonia Barber National Director & Queensland State Chair

Sonia is a partner with the international law firm Patton Boggs, and lived and worked in the State of Qatar from 2000 to 2010, when she returned to Australia. Sonia's law practice focuses on the Middle East where she counsels clients in relation to international business compliance, hospitality and real state, business formation, employment, construction and dispute resolution.

Sonia's recent experience includes her work in advising both owners and operators on large-scale hotel projects both inside and outside the State of Qatar in relation to operating and licensing agreements. She is also advising on major building and infrastructure projects, including disputes before the Qatar Courts and mediations and arbitrations conducted in Qatar. 

Sonia has more than 12 years experience in the Middle East. While she now resides in Australia with her family, she regularly travels to the region and typically spends several weeks every couple of months abroad.


Dr Fiona Hill National Director

Fiona is an Anthropologist and Cultural Consultant for the Arab region with 25 years experience in commercial, philanthropic, and scholarly projects in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Libya, and Morocco.
Through her business, Almanar Consultancy, Fiona provides in-house Briefing-Workshops, Webinars, Coaching-Mentoring, E-Guides, and women-only Tours & Missions of Arab countries. Almanar Consultancy clients include industry, government, educators, entrepreneurs, and new graduates. Fiona served a decade on the Executive of the Australia Arabic Council (AAC) Australia’s peak Arab communities advocacy body and two terms (6 years) with the Australian Government’s Council for Australian Arab Relations (CAAR).


Paul Morris National Director

Paul Morris has held various business leadership roles in professional services consultancies over the past 25 years, 10 years of which were resident in the Middle East, where he established the Property & Buildings business of GHD in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.  As a Global Market Leader at GHD, Paul is responsible for leadership and business development of GHD’s property and buildings business globally, in addition to providing direction and leadership across international projects.

He has been on Steering Committees for a range of major projects across GHD’s global practice, including: The Palm Islands, Dubai; Doha Asian Games; Khalifa Port Industrial Zone, Abu Dhabi; Comalco Alumina Project (Rio Tinto); and a peer review of a wide range of industrial, agribusiness, commercial, hospitality and residential development projects across the Middle East, China, SE Asia and Australia.

He brings a strong understanding of the professional services industry to AACCI, with a passion for B2B networking and business generation.


Raymond (Rafeek) Najar, OMIEA Australia National Director

Ray is a civil engineer who has specialized in water resource management since 1964. He completed his diploma with a Rotary Foundation Fellowship in the USA in 1976 and is a Melville Jones Fellow in Lions International.  Since September 2003, Ray has been the General Manager of the Murray Darling Association, Australia’s largest local government body. He is an agricultural engineering expert whose work focuses on irrigation and water resource management and consults for Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Lebanon.

In 2005, Ray was awarded South Australian Ambassador of the Year for his efforts in promoting bilateral trade between Australia and the Middle East, and facilitating trade missions in and out of Australia and till 2012 served AACCI as National Chairman for four years.


Robert Newton National Director

Robert Newton is a former Australian diplomat, who served as Ambassador in Cairo from 2002 to 2005 with non-resident accreditation to Syria, Libya, Tunisia and Sudan.  He is also a former Senior Middle East analyst in the Office of National Assessments in Canberra. After retiring from the foreign service in 2005 after a 33 year career he worked as a consultant and lobbyist for a range of public and private sector clients. 

As CEO of AACCI, Robert helped to develop strategies to improve national cohesion in the Chamber and bring the Chamber’s principal stakeholders more directly into its work.  A resident of Canberra, Robert will assist the AACCI Board develop and maintain closer links with the corps of Arab Ambassadors, key government departments and organisations, and Parliament House.


Platinum Sponsors

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 Arab Bank Australia
 
       

Gold Sponsors

       
   
    

   
 Wainright Ryan Eid Lawyers      



EFIC - Export Finance and Insurance Corporation