The team

Heather Cotching - Chief Economist

Heather Cotching

Heather Cotching is the Chief Economist at Austrade. Heather is responsible for providing economic analysis to Austrade clients and senior executives, with a focus on the outlook for global trade and investment. She also manages a data science team responsible for machine learning and evaluation and looks after Tourism Research Australia, which produce Australia’s national tourism statistics and a range of key tourism data publications.

She has worked across five different government agencies in economics roles including Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

Ashley Brosnan - Manager, Economics & Analysis

Ashley Brosnan

Ashley leads the Economics & Analysis team at Austrade based in Sydney. He and his team provide incisive advice to Austrade’s clients on the global economic and international markets. He is an author of the Trade and Investment Megatrends Report alongside CSIRO. He is a specialist in development and international economics, with a focus on trade and governance. Prior to working at Austrade worked with NSW Treasury in their US, UK and UAE teams. He has also managed development projects in Bhutan, Tuvalu, Palau, and Timor-Leste.

Ashley was previously an academic at Faulty of Economics and Finance at the Queensland University of Technology and received the Prime Minister's Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Award. He has degrees in Economics, Law and International Relations. His master’s thesis examined resource governance in Timor-Leste.

Edmund Tang - Economist and Head of Benchmark Research

Edmund Tang is the author of Austrade’s flagship annual publication, Why Australia Benchmark Report. He also produces a series of Data Alerts and Investor updates that are designed to update, revise and support the key messages of the Benchmark Report.

Prior to joining Austrade in 2008, Edmund was Senior Economist at Efic (1998-00) and the Head of Research – financial services team in Invest Australia and Axiss Australia (2001-08). Edmund previously held several key research roles in private sectors: deputy Head of Research/senior regional economist – Fixed Income and Currency Unit – in Chase Securities (now part of JP Morgan Chase, 1993-97, Hong Kong); and research economist in ANZ Banking Group (1985-93, Melbourne).

Edmund’s other achievements include Austrade’s Client Service Award (2010), the Federal Government Financial Services Medallion (2006), Commonwealth Postgraduate Scholarship (1998), University Medal (top of the first-class Honours student, 1985) and Australian and New Zealand Economics Prize (1984).

Edmund speaks English, Chinese Mandarin, Cantonese, Hainamese and Vietnamese.

Divya Skene - Senior Adviser

Divya’s research at Austrade focuses on Australia’s bilateral trade and investment relationship with major trading partners. This includes trends in goods and services trade, two-way investment and the profile and perceptions of Australian companies doing business in key markets.

Divya brings an operational perspective to her analysis having previously worked in international business development with businesses and industry stakeholders. Before joining Austrade, Divya worked in the private sector with IMA Asia and Asean Focus Group, and in economic teams at the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet, and the Department of Industry in Canberra. Between 2005 and 2009 Divya was a national executive member of the Australia India Business Council.

Divya holds a degree in Economics (Asian Studies) from the University of NSW, and a Masters degree in Public Policy from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.

Matthew Murphy - Senior Information Analyst

Matt joined Austrade’s Research & Analysis team from the EMDG team, where he was the senior information analyst responsible for all data-related tasks from 2010 to 2018, including reporting and data modelling and forecasting.

At EMDG, Matt developed data models that produced automated risk analysis reports on all claims received by the EMDG team (approximately 3,500 per year). He has also produced data, maps and data visualisations for publications such as Austrade’s annual report and the 2015 Lee Review of EMDG (Certainty and Confidence).

Matt joined the Australian Public Service in 1998. He has worked as a quarantine and export inspector for the Australian Quarantine and Export Service, a GIS specialist for Geoscience Australia and an information analyst for the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

Matt holds degrees from the University of Sydney, University of New England and Charles Sturt University.

Dr George Y Chen - Senior Adviser

Dr George Y Chen

George joined the economics team from Tourism Research Australia where he managed the annual national tourism forecasts. In the economics team he has led or been involved in various research projects and is the author of internal and external blogs on a wide range of issues. His expertise includes microeconomic and macroeconomic analysis, time series econometrics and forecasting.

Prior to joining Austrade in 2013 he had worked in other Commonwealth departments including the Treasury and the Department of Industry (1999-2013). In China he worked as an economist in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (1989-92) and with work experience at China International Trust and Investment Corporation (1988).

George has postgraduate qualifications in economics from the Australian National University and Deakin University plus an honours-equivalent and masters degrees from two Chinese key universities. George was also trained in applied finance and investment as a senior associate of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA).

Fernando Ramirez – Economic Adviser

Fernando Ramirez

Fernando is an advocate for responsible economic development and international trade. Having grown up in Mexico City, he saw the effects of income inequality, slow economic growth, import-substitution policies and a decision-making process without strategic direction. This has stemmed his passion for finding solutions to complex problems that contribute to fostering a prosperous and ethical society.

Fernando holds a Bachelor of Economics from Anahuac University (Mexico City) and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University (ANU). He has broad experience across the private and public sectors, having worked as a stock market analyst, senior consultant for SGS Economics and Planning, and policy officer for the ACT Treasury. He has also worked in academia, as a research assistant at ANU and university lecturer for Anahuac University; teaching Advanced Microeconomics and Econometrics. Notable articles include Partnerships for the Sustainable Development of Cities written for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Since Fernando joined Austrade in 2019, he has been involved in multiple projects including the evaluation of Austrade’s programs (Export Market Development Grants, general and tailored services), the Benchmark Report and development of an index for identifying the top performing markets. Fernando is also editor and an author of the weekly Executive Reading, an internal publication highlighting current economic issues.