The Banking Code Compliance Committee (BCCC) has established an expert Small Business and Agribusiness Advisory Panel (the Panel) to provide it with advice and guidance on small business and agribusiness banking matters.

An important part of the BCCC’s role is to ensure that banks uphold the promises they make to their small business and agribusiness customers.

The Panel

Panel members will provide the BCCC with expert insight and advice on small business and agribusiness matters, specifically matters related to:

  • the experiences and needs of small business and/or agribusiness customers when engaging with banks
  • the effect of banks’ policies, procedures and processes on small business and/or agribusiness customers, and
  • the impact of regulatory, legislative and any other changes on:
    • the small business and agribusiness community, or
    • banks’ policies, procedures and processes as they relate to small business and agribusiness banking.

The Panel will also be asked to provide advice and assistance on the BCCC’s work as it relates to small business and agribusiness customers and their banking. This work may include:

  • compliance inquiries and investigations
  • strategic planning
  • stakeholder engagement, and
  • other needs that arise from time to time.

The work of the Panel will be supported by regular engagements with organisations that support and advocate for small businesses and agribusinesses throughout Australia.

The Panel has been established in accordance with clause 10.1 b) of the BCCC Charter. For further information please read the Panel’s Terms of Reference.

Panel members

Ms Alexandra Hordern

Alexandra is the Director of Advocacy at the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

With a background in law and strong family ties to small business, Alexandra’s career spans across both the private and public sectors that intersect with small business. Alexandra has worked in industry bodies and private businesses, advocating to government.

Mr Jeffrey Caldbeck

Jeff is the CEO of the Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW – Central West (RFCS-CW Inc.), a position he has held since November 2006.

He has a broad ranging management background that includes six years of service in the Royal Australian Navy, followed by nineteen years as a NSW ambulance paramedic, including nine years in various senior (Superintendent) manager roles within the NSW State Government, a period as a Small Business owner/operator, and then followed by Project Manager and Consultant roles for a health related projects in Malaysia and Singapore, over three years (1995-1998).

After departing Malaysia, Jeff worked out of West Coast USA in San Diego and Sydney for a US software development company (TriTech Software Systems) servicing existing and new contracts in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific.  This was then followed by a senior management role as the International Sales General Manager for a Sydney based group of companies (Byron P/L), with markets and contracts in Europe, India and SE Asia.

Prior to joining RFCS-CW Inc. in November 2006, Jeff was the General Manager of the Dubbo City Development Corporation, a Dubbo based business development and assistance organisation, managing the Dubbo Business Enterprise Centre, a Small Business Incubator generally housing 8-10 fledgling businesses and managed an Austrade office, for over five years.

Jeff is presently involved with the following organisations in various roles and capacities:

  • Director of Dubbo RSL Club, since 2006
  • Director & Vice-President of Dubbo RSL Sub-Branch, since 2005
  • Chairman of Dubbo RSL 78 Soccer Club
  • Director of the Orana region for Regional Development Australia (RDA)
  • Board Member of Charles Sturt University, Community Advisory Board
  • Committee Member of Dubbo Legacy
Mr Denis McMahon

Denis is the Senior Solicitor for the Farm & Rural Legal Service (FRLS) which is a part of Civil Justice Services at Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ).

Denis was admitted as a solicitor in Qld in 1979 after completing articles of clerkship through the Solicitors Board Queensland working with a Toowoomba law firm for four years and the fifth year in Innisfail in far north Queensland.

He worked in Dalby becoming a partner at Carvosso & Winship in 1980, then moved to Warwick in 1986 where he commenced a partnership in Gaffney Lyons & McMahon while living on the family farm which he had been working jointly with a brother since their father passed in 1973.  He later moved practice to Toowoomba and Pittsworth in 1995 for family reasons but still maintained the farm.

Denis was mainly involved in rural type work as most clients were farmers or had rural based businesses.  He became a mediator in 1992 completing the course at Bond University.

In 2003, Denis commenced work with LAQ as a lawyer in the FRLS.

Denis provides assistance to farmers and primary producers experiencing financial hardship related to their business, including those with severe debt problems or those in dispute with their lenders. Denis helps primary producers and rural businesses to negotiate with financiers and other creditors. Farm debt mediation is now a large part of this work. Denis is based in south-east Queensland but travels extensively to rural and regional locations to assist his clients in person.

Mr Neil Slonim

Neil is a banker by background having held senior positions in business and corporate banking with the NAB Group for 25 years. In 2008 he established his banking advisory business, Slonim Consulting Pty Ltd.

He is the founder of theBankDoctor.org, a not-for-profit online resource centre that assists small business owners navigate the myriad of challenges involved in funding a small business.

He has a particular interest in the rapidly expanding non-bank small business lending market and was pivotal in the establishment in 2019 of the Online Small Business Lenders Code of Lending Practice.

Mr Brett Smith

Brett is the CEO of Rural Business Support (RBS).

Brett is an accomplished agribusiness executive with strong marketing and business development credentials having held key roles with Orica Ltd, Cropcare, Incitec Pivot Ltd, Elders Ltd and Penrice Ltd. Brett spent 15+ years working ‘on farm’ with primary producers across many sectors, supporting improvements in productivity and profitability.

With a current business brief of helping small rural businesses to deal with adversity and structural challenge, Brett has positioned Rural Business Support (RBS) as a key responder, supporting farming and rural businesses in need of extra assistance through the effective delivery of the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) in SA and NT.

In addition, Brett’s extensive strategic business experience complimented by a strong focus on stakeholder engagement (Industry and Government) has helped position RBS in diversifying its brand. Importantly, RBS has identified the need for a more proactive approach with small rural businesses, delivering programs that focus on financial and strategic risk management that helps build preparedness and a strong, resilient rural sector.