Investment specialists, Australia

Karen Caston - Senior Investment Specialist, Brisbane

Karen Caston

Karen Caston is dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of foreign investment and trade to improve productivity and growth in Australia’s Agriculture and Food sectors.

Karen is focused on growing productive foreign direct investment to assist Australian agribusinesses realise development opportunities through improved access to capital and markets.

She brings with her commercial expertise has over 20 years’ corporate advisory experience across multiple industries, including agribusiness, tourism, telecommunications and services to the mining sector. Karen has extensive knowledge of the agribusiness trade and investment environment, investment drivers and investment analysis techniques, as well as a track record in advising foreign investors on agricultural acquisitions. She has connections at all levels of the agribusiness supply chain – from production and processing, through to wholesale/retail and marketing.

Karen is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, holds a Master of Applied Finance and Investment from the Financial Services Institute of Australasia, and a Bachelor of Applied Science – Mathematics from the Queensland University of Technology.

Kevin Cryan - Senior Investment Specialist, Sydney

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Kevin Cryan is Austrade’s Senior Investment Specialist for Services and Technology. He has worked in both the innovation and investment industries, both in the private and public sectors, for nearly 30 years. He is also a lawyer admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Previously, Kevin secured investments across a range of industries and technologies with the CSIRO; with the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation where he was founding Managing Director; in Corporate Venturing for ASX-listed AWE Limited; and through his own company Scarborough Partners.

Kevin holds degrees in Business from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Technology, Sydney. He is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and the Australian New Zealand School of Government Executive Fellowship Program.

Hugh Funder - Senior Investment Specialist, Sydney

Hugh Funder

As a Senior Investment Specialist, Hugh Funder focuses on Major Infrastructure (economic and social).

Hugh joined Austrade from Lendlease Engineering where he was Manager of Business Development. Prior to this he held structured finance and infrastructure advisory roles at ABN AMRO and at the Royal Bank of Scotland. He has also been chief of staff to two federal ministers and a state minister.

Prior to joining the public sector, Hugh consulted with Microsoft Australia, NAB and Aquasia and has worked with various government, urban design, international education, and international non-government organisations. Hugh undertook postgraduate research in Melbourne and Paris, and was an intern on the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade in the early 1990s.

Hugh has an MBA (Sciences Po), a Master of Public Policy (Georgetown University), and a Bachelor of Arts (University of Melbourne), and brings a depth of knowledge and experience of state government policy, particularly public–private partnerships.

David Grabau - Senior Investment Specialist, Melbourne

David Grabau

David Grabau has strong technical proficiency and experience in the Resources and Energy sectors, and brings to Austrade a valuable combination of experience in government and ASX top-20 corporations.

David’s senior commercial roles include advising major resources and energy companies across strategy, risk, and project management. He was most recently the Global Resilience Program Manager for IAG and was previously Head of Government Relations at IAG and CGU Insurance.

David spent several years working with BHP Billiton across its minerals and petroleum businesses, including appointments as Manager Group Risk and Senior Advisor Corporate Development. He brings with his commercial expertise over a decade of experience in government, which included work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra and Thailand, and with the Office of National Assessments.

David has a Masters in International Relations, a Graduate Diploma in Trade, Economics and International Law, and a degree in Politics.

rebecca hall - Senior Industry expert, brisbane

Rebecca Hall

Rebecca Hall leads Austrade’s engagement in promoting Australia’s International Education sector. She forms part of the Trade and Investment Senior Leadership team, engaging across Austrade’s global network. Rebecca oversees Austrade’s AIE2025 strategy and Austrade services to support international education sector sustainability.

Prior to joining the Australian Government, Rebecca led international education strategy for the Queensland and Victorian Governments.

Rebecca’s career in international education was sparked by her experience as a JET Programme participant in 1996. Since returning to Australia in 1998 she has contributed her skills and passion for international education through roles in economic development, international relations, strategy development and industry engagement. Uniquely, she has worked across local, state and federal governments, peak bodies and education providers.

Over the past decade, her not-for-profit board experience includes appointments to the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) Queensland Branch and the Queensland Overseas Foundation (QOF). She was also a board member and deputy chair of AFS Intercultural Programs Australia.

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of International Business Relations and a Master of International Relations and is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2017, Rebecca was awarded the International Education Association of Australia’s (IEAA) Leadership Award for her contribution to the sector. She is mum to Emi and Mia.

Emma McDonald - Senior Investment Specialist, Brisbane

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Emma McDonald is Austrade’s Senior Investment Specialist in Tourism Infrastructure. She was previously Manager, Tourism Investment, Policy and Major Project Facilitation at Austrade, and has extensive experience in government in policy, project management, program delivery and stakeholder management.

Emma has worked in property and strategic planning across a range of government departments and the private sector. She is experienced at building trusted relationships with government and private-sector clients on investment-related issues. Emma has worked with foreign investors on major investment deals in recent years, where her project facilitation skills, thorough knowledge of government approvals, and agency contacts have been highly valued by her clients.

Prior to joining Austrade, Emma’s roles included working on energy initiatives in the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism; the roll-out of remote indigenous housing in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; and managing media and public affairs and undertaking asset sales for the Department of Finance. She also held positions in the Victorian Government and as a town planning consultant. Emma is an Advisory Board Member on Griffith University’s Institute for Tourism for her expertise on the drivers and barriers to investment in tourism infrastructure

Emma holds a Bachelor of Planning and Design, and Graduate Diploma of Planning and Design from the University of Melbourne. She recently completed the 10th Global Leadership Practices Program at the China Executive Leadership Academy, in Pudong, China.

Roland Stephens - Senior Industry Expert, Sydney

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Roland Stephens is Austrade’s Senior Industry Expert in Advanced Manufacturing and Defence.

He has responsibility for setting and implementing strategy with respect to Austrade’s advanced manufacturing and defence clients, in conjunction with Austrade’s network of posts outside of Australia. He also has carriage of Austrade’s contribution to the Australian Government’s Defence Export Strategy.

Roland joined Austrade in July 2017, after over a decade in investment banking in London, first at Credit Suisse and then at Lazard. He was focused on the natural resources sector, including upstream and downstream oil and gas, mining, and oil and mining service providers (seismic, engineering, maintenance and operations, etc.), and advised on debt, equity and M&A transactions, and on project financing. Roland’s clients included Royal Dutch Shell, BHP and Rio Tinto. Prior to that Roland was a Sydney-based lawyer.

Roland was educated in law, business, economics and public policy at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and at Sydney University.

Anne Maree Weston - Senior Investment Specialist, Brisbane

Anne Maree Weston

Anne Maree Weston is a Senior Investment Specialist in the Agribusiness and Food sectors. She is a highly experienced finance and economics professional who has spent over 30 years’ working with corporate finance teams and related professionals, particularly in the agriculture, property, tourism and leisure sectors.

Anne Maree comes to Austrade from a role as Director, Corporate Strategy, Platform Agribusiness – a boutique agribusiness company established to develop a range of agricultural projects for investors and to manage the assets. Since 2010 she has also been an independent member of the Compliance Committee for the S&P/ASX 200-listed Cromwell Property Group, specialising in property investment and funds management.

Prior to this, Anne Maree was general manager at Rural Management Partners. During this time she worked on a joint venture to establish AgCapital, a specialist agricultural funds management company targeting institutional investors.

Anne Maree has a Bachelor of Economics from James Cook University and a Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance from the Governance Institute of Australia.