Our work

We are a national platform that works across business, government and communities to strengthen constructive engagement with China and build links across greater China. Working with others, we provide practical support and expertise, facilitate connections, commission research, and coordinate training and exchange programs.

Through our annual grants program, we support Australian individuals and organisations to develop, promote and strengthen understanding and engagement between Australia and China, including at the business and community level, in support of Australia’s national interests.

In 2020, the Foundation launched its inaugural grants program, receiving more than 500 expressions of interest.

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Our strategy

The Foundation’s work focuses on four strategic pillars

Promoting connections and practical cooperation



Building understanding and exchange



Showcasing Australian




Engaging Australia’s diverse communities




Download our 2020-21 Annual Update


Our people

Our staff is drawn from a range of sectors, with extensive experience in greater China, including foreign, trade and investment policy, industry, community engagement and public diplomacy. 

Peter Cai - resized

Meet the CEO

Mr Peter Cai is the CEO of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations.

Mr Cai has extensive experience in business, media, academia and government, including as Group Chief Advisor and General Manager for strategic relations at Virgin Australia, Research Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, as a journalist with The Australian, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald and at the Australian Treasury Foreign Investment Review Board Secretariat. He has also served as a committee member of the Australia-China Business Council (NSW).

Mr Cai has a master's degree from Oxford University (history) and holds undergraduate degrees in international studies and Asian studies from The University of Adelaide.

Our Advisory Board 

Our Advisory Board provides advice to the Foundation on ways to deepen cooperation with China. Headed by Ms Pru Bennett, the board has demonstrated expertise in business, academia, government, media, the arts and science.

  • Ms Pru Bennett


    Ms Pru Bennet

    I’m honoured to help establish the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations. It’s a significant opportunity to make a constructive contribution to the Australia China relationship and to help create a national platform that engages governments, business and communities to support and find ways to engage constructively with China, to engage across greater China, and to involve our diverse stakeholders and communities.

    Ms Pru Bennett is a Partner of Brunswick Group and has extensive experience working across greater China and Asia, and has a deep understanding of China’s economic relationships.

    Having held roles engaging at senior levels in business and advising key economic and financial regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore, Ms Bennett has an insight into the challenges and opportunities of managing business, trade and investment between greater China and the region, and in corporate and board governance.

    Until recently, she was a Managing Director and Head of Investment Stewardship for the Asia-Pacific region for BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, with over US$7 trillion under management.

    Pru is a leading member of the 30% Club in Hong Kong, part of the global campaign to see greater representation of women, including women with Asia experience, on corporate boards and a Council member of the Asian Corporate Governance Association.

  • Mr Rowan Callick OBE

    Mr Rowan Callick is a public speaker, author and media writer. He is an Industry Fellow at Griffith University's Asia Institute and a member of the Advisory Boards of La Trobe University’s Asia Institute and China Studies Department and of the Australia-China Relations Institute at UTS. He is a governor of the Foundation for Development Cooperation and an examining chaplain for the Anglican Archdiocese of Melbourne.

    As a journalist, he was Beijing-based China correspondent of The Australian for two terms, following 20 years with The Australian Financial Review including as China correspondent based in Hong Kong. He was also Asia-Pacific editor for both newspapers. And he was a senior writer with Time magazine, and a newspaper publisher in Papua New Guinea for 10 years.

    Rowan Callick has written three books published in both English and Chinese: Comrades & Capitalists: Hong Kong Since the Handover, Channar: A landmark venture in iron ore; and Party Time: Who Runs China and How. He won the Graham Perkin Award for Journalist of the Year for 1995, two Walkley Awards, for Asia-Pacific coverage, for 1997 and 2007 and was awarded an OBE in 2015.

  • Ms Wesa Chau

    Ms Wesa Chau is CEO of Cultural Intelligence, a research, training and consulting firm helping organisations harness the power of cultural diversity.  Her career started working with international students and she has since held senior manager positions. She served on the Multicultural Business Ministerial Council and is currently on the Ministerial Council for Womens’ Equality. 

    In research, she explores topics ranging from Asian diaspora in philanthropy, leadership, cultural diplomacy and business to cultural diversity and politics. She was the inaugural fellow of the Scanlon-Swinburne Intercultural Fellowship, travelled to India and Malaysia working with academics and government officials to better understand diversity in the Asia region.  She was a delegate on the 2017 Australia-China High Level Dialogue. In addition to that she was a delegate of the Australia-China Youth Dialogue and Australia-India Youth Dialogue in earlier years.

    Wesa Chau has received several awards for her contribution to the community. In 2016 she was awarded the prestigious Victorian International Education Internationalisation Award, inducted to the Victorian Women Honour Roll in 2012 and named Young Victorian of the Year in 2010.

  • Mr Philip Chronican

    Mr Philip Chronican is Chairman of National Australia Bank Limited (NAB) and has more than 38 years of experience in banking and finance in Australia and New Zealand. Mr Chronican is also Chairman of the Westmead Institute for Medical Research.

    Mr Chronican is passionate about better banking, leadership and ethics as well as supporting healthy communities through medical research. He served on both the Banking and Finance Oath and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation until December 2018.

    In his previous executive career, Mr Chronican was responsible for the Retail and Commercial Business of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) in Australia. Prior to joining ANZ, Mr Chronican had a long career at Westpac Banking Corporation, where he established his role in Australian banking as Group Executive Westpac Institutional Bank and Chief Financial Officer.

  • Ms Helene Chung

    A fourth-generation Chinese Australian, Ms Helene Chung is a Hobart-born journalist and author. She broke racist and sexist barriers in 1974 to become the first non-white reporter on Australian television and, as Beijing correspondent (1983-86), the first female posted abroad by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. She has reported from Australia, Hong Kong, Britain, Egypt and China and freelanced for BBC, CBS, NPR, NZBC and Hong Kong radio.

    She is a former Adjunct Research Fellow of Monash Asia Institute, Council Member of the National Museum of Australia and Edward Wilson Memorial Fellow in Journalism at Deakin University. An honours graduate and master of arts in history of the University of Tasmania, Helene is author of Ching Chong China Girl: From fruitshop to foreign correspondent, Lazy Man in China, Gentle John; My Love My Loss and Shouting from China.

  • Ms Swati Dave

    Ms Swati Dave is Managing Director and CEO of Export Finance Australia, the Australian Government’s export credit agency. She is an experienced senior banking executive and Non-Executive Director with an established track record of successfully leading and growing complex businesses in Australia, the UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

    She has over 30 years of banking and finance experience across a number of sectors, including infrastructure, energy and utilities, renewable energy and property. She has held senior positions at National Australia Bank, Deutsche Bank, AMP Henderson Global Investors, Bankers Trust and Westpac.

    Swati Dave currently serves on the board of State Super and is Deputy Chair of Asia Society Australia. She previously served as a Director of Australian Hearing, Great Western Bancorp, Inc. (USA) and the NAB Wealth Responsible Entity Boards.

    She holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Newcastle and is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees.

  • Professor John Fitzgerald AM

    Professor John Fitzgerald is Emeritus Professor in the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne where he headed the Asia-Pacific philanthropy studies program from 2013 to 2017.

    Prior to joining Swinburne, he served for five years as the China representative of The Ford Foundation in Beijing. He was Head of the School of Social Sciences at La Trobe University and Director of the International Centre of Excellence in Asia-Pacific Studies at the Australian National University.

    He has served on the board of the Australia-China Council, as Co-Chair of the Committee for National and International Cooperation of the Australian Research Council, and was elected President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

    His publications have won international recognition, including the Joseph Levenson Prize of the US Association for Asian Studies and the Ernest Scott Prize of the Australian Historical Association. In 2020, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to higher education, particularly in the field of Chinese studies.

    He graduated from the University of Sydney, has a Ph.D. from ANU, and was a Fulbright fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

  • Mr Douglas Gautier AM

    Mr Douglas Gautier is the CEO and Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival Centre, where he has worked to position the Centre as a hub for Asian-Australian cultural engagement.

    He is Chair of the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres (AAPPAC), a member of the Australia-Singapore Arts Group and of the Board of Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), an advisor to the Hong Kong Arts Festival, a Flinders University Councillor, and an adjunct professor of the University of South Australia. He is strongly involved in the UNESCO Creative Cities movement, particularly in Asia Pacific.

    A resident of Asia for 25 years, he remains closely connected and active in fostering Asian-Australian cultural engagement. His international experience includes Director of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Deputy Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board and Director of Corporate Affairs and Marketing for STAR TV. He was founding Vice-Chairman of the Asian Arts Festival Association, and a board member of the Asian Cultural Council (Rockefeller Foundation).

  • Ms Maree Ma

    Ms Maree Ma is the General Manager of Vision Times Media Corporation Australia, an independent Australian Chinese language media group. She is responsible for client liaison, production logistics, external affairs, and strategic planning.

    She has presented at various academic institutions and given media interviews on the subject of Chinese language media and Chinese diaspora in Australia.

    She is also a chartered accountant and has worked at Ernst & Young as well as ASX-listed finance and healthcare companies.

    Ms Ma holds a Bachelor of Commerce/Science from the University of NSW and a Graduate Diploma from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.

  • Professor Rory Medcalf

    Professor Rory Medcalf is Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University. He has three decades of experience across diplomacy, intelligence analysis, think tanks, academia and journalism, including as founding director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute.

    In government, Professor Medcalf worked as a senior strategic analyst with the Office of National Assessments, Canberra’s peak intelligence agency. He was an Australian diplomat, with experience in India, Japan and Papua New Guinea, and continues to lead informal strategic dialogues with India and several other Indo-Pacific powers.

    He has contributed to three landmark international reports on nuclear arms control and was on the independent expert panel for the Australia’s 2016 Defence White Paper. He has been recognised as a thought leader internationally for his work on the Indo-Pacific strategic concept, as articulated in his acclaimed 2020 book Contest for the Indo-Pacific. He is a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum Register of Experts and Eminent Persons.

  • Professor Brian Schmidt AC

    Professor Brian P. Schmidt was appointed Vice-Chancellor and President of The Australian National University (ANU) in January 2016. He is the 12th Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University (ANU).

    Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, Professor Schmidt was an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics before becoming Vice-Chancellor.

    Professor Schmidt received undergraduate degrees in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Arizona in 1989, and completed his Astronomy Master's degree (1992) and PhD (1993) from Harvard University. Under his leadership, in 1998, the High-Z Supernova Search team made the startling discovery that the expansion rate of the Universe is accelerating.

    Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, The United States Academy of Science, and the Royal Society, he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.

  • Mr Jason Yeap OAM

    Mr Jason Yeap is a Malaysian-born property developer, lawyer and philanthropist.

    He is currently the Chairman of Mering Corporation and Director of the Tipperary Station Group. He is a member of the Australia Multicultural Council and of the Advisory Board for The Nature Conservancy Australia.

    He has served on a number of advisory boards and committees, including the Trade and Investment Policy Advisory Council with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Monash University and University of Swinburne.

    He was appointed a trustee of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in June 2005, reappointed in 2008 and 2011, and made Chairman of the NGV Foundation in 2012. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in June 2010 for service to the arts, particularly through the NGV, and to the community.

    Jason Yeap served as a council member of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) from 2014 to 2018 and also chair of the Audit and Risk Committee. In 2013, he was named an Ambassador of the Australia Day Ambassador Program, and a year later he was announced as a Patron of Multicultural Arts Victoria.

  • Dr Wai-Ling Yeung

    Dr Wai Ling Yeung is a Perth-based independent researcher and educator. She has expertise in intercultural literacy and the history of the Chinese diaspora, with a focus on the Chinese Communist Party's United Front activities in Oceania.

    Dr Yeung's career spans three distinct and yet interlinked areas: First as a community interpreter for the NSW State Government, then as the Head of Chinese Studies at Curtin University of Technology, and recently as a language education expert for the WA State Government.

    Dr Yeung is associated with the Australian Values Alliance, a Chinese community group that advocates universal values including democracy, rule of law, freedom, equality, tolerance and human rights. She is also a practising Catholic and a member of the vibrant and culturally diverse Riverton Parish in the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. Through her affiliation with these organisations, Dr Yeung has established a track record of community engagement that helps foster common values among people of different backgrounds.

  • Ms Kathryn Campbell AO CSC

    Ex officio

    Kathryn Campbell AO CSC joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as Secretary in July 2021. Most recently, she was Secretary of the Department of Social Services from September 2017 to July 2021 and before that Secretary of the Department of Human Services from 2011 to 2017.

    Ms Campbell has worked at senior levels across the Australian Public Service, including Deputy Secretary positions at the Department of Finance and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations from 2005 to 2011. She was also an Army Reserve Officer from 1989 to July 2021.

    Ms Campbell was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2010 for her service as Commanding Officer of the Sydney University Regiment of the Army Reserves and was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2019 for her services to public administration and the Australian Army Reserve.

    Ms Campbell is a Fellow of Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) Australia and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Applied Mathematics), a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Information Science. She has also completed the Royal Australian Air Force Command and Staff College course and the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.