Australia Italy Business Association

ENGAGE. INSPIRE. GROW

Part of the Australia Business in Europe Network (ABIE)

About AIBA

AIBA APS is a non-profit association dedicated to deepening bilateral engagement between Australia and Italy through economic, cultural and social exchange.

Our participants are Australian and Italian companies or organisations active in either market or interested in the respective markets. 

AIBA provides its members the opportunity to engage in purpose driven networking to create value through high-level relationships as well as showcase in-market success, leadership and know-how.

Benefits of membership include lateral networking, events, seminars and roundtable discussions that foster opportunities, connections and learning.

Patron

Supported by

Australia-Italy Relationship

The Australia-Italy relationship continues to expand marked by increased foreign investment; Australian investment in Italy is valued at $7.4 billion while Italian investment in Australia at $1.7 billion. Trade and economic ties are set to develop further through the negotiation of the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement and Italy’s contribution to the EU’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and Global Gateway Initiative. Italian know-how is widely appreciated with evolving opportunities in renewable energy and sustainability, agribusiness, infrastructure, education, health and digital technologies. 

 

Culturally, Australia and Italy share a historic bond that precedes Unification and Federation, when settlers arrived from Sicily in 1847 to settle in Fremantle. 175 years later, Australia owes much of its wealth and cultural diversity to its Italian heritage, with a consolidated shared ethos built on hard work and business acumen. With Brexit, the time is ripe for Australia to re-explore this common heritage as it navigates its way to building a new relationship with Europe, with Italy as one of its most valid European interlocutors. Our role is to assist in this 21st century transition by providing additional opportunities for discourse, exchange and growth.

A powerful network across two continents

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Membership Options

Welcome to AIBA

Board members

Taylee Lewis

President

Corporate and government affairs professional specialised in advocacy, stakeholder relations and corporate reputation management. Successfully supported both Italian and Australian companies enter the respective markets, developing stakeholder engagement strategies to support foreign investment. Roles include Head of Corporate Affairs (Europe) at Cornerstone Group. Guest lecturer at universities and chambers of commerce on the institutional environment for business. Experienced business journalist in Sydney. 

Global MBA (IE University), Master in International Relations (Griffith), BA of Journalism (UNSW).

 

Diana Brock

Vice-President

Experienced international business professional based in Milan for 30 years, leading KPMG Advisory’s International Business Practice; consultant to New Zealand Trade & Enterprise on Italian market entry and capability development; representing Australian companies sourcing from and selling into the Italian market. Sector experience in utilities, ICT, high technology and wool. 

BSc (ANU), Master in International Business (Monash).

Naila Mazzucco

Honorary Board Member

Australian Consul General in Milan and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner to Italy, the Czech Republic, Southeastern Europe & Israel and health sector lead for Europe. Experience extends to Western Australian Government regional senior management roles based in London and Perth to deliver industry development outcomes as well as attract and facilitate foreign direct investment in the energy, resources and infrastructure sectors. She also served in the Victorian Government in a state and national project management role in the arts portfolio. Naila’s private sector and multilateral experience spans global and regional public relations, business development and marketing roles that have been based in Japan, France and Australia across a range of sectors. Master (University of Melbourne), Double Bachelor degree (Bond University).

Monica Rota

Treasurer

Chartered accountant and Partner at Nexta Partners, leading the firm’s internationalisation division. She is the statutory auditor of companies operating in various fields such as food, retail, flexible wrappings and holding companies. She is a local municipal special company auditor and member of the supervisory board of a leading European company in the field of planning, design, development and manufacture of cosmetic packaging.

Maria Pia Sacco

Secretary

Qualified Italian lawyer and Senior Advisor at Pillar Two, Maria Pia is specialised in the integration of sustainability standards (UN SDGs, OECD Guidelines for MNEs and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) in corporate structures and global value chains. She has contributed to national and international consultations for the UN, OECD and the EU on regulation for business and human rights, including the European directive proposal on corporate sustainability due diligence. She is an academic member of ISTUD Business School, with her research on ESG, business and human rights widely published. Previous experience includes Senior Legal Advisor at the International Bar Association (IBA) Legal Policy & Research Unit where she managed the IBA’s policy, training and research projects on business and human rights and corporate integrity.

PhD in Law and Economics (Erasmus University Rotterdam), LLM Law and Economics (University of Bologna, Hamburg University and the Indira Ghandi Institute of Development Studies Mumbai), BA of Law (LUISS Guido Carli).

Franco Bruni

Board Member

President of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and Co-Head of the Observatory on Europe and Global Governance. Professor Emeritus at Bocconi University and a current Fellow of the university’s Institute for European Policymaking. He has been a visiting Professor at the University of NSW and has a keen interest in Australia and the development of stronger EU- Australia relations. He is the Vice President of the UniCredit Foundation and a member of advisory boards and working groups of the World Bank and the EU Commission for Financial Services.

Fiona De Jong

Board Member

A leading figure in the international sporting community, she served as CEO and Director of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) and holds board positions with Surfing Australia, the Australian Sports Diplomacy Advisory Council and the National Sports Tribunal. She leads the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) European Training Centre in Gavirate, Italy, overseeing the Australian Sports Commission’s operations in Europe ahead of the Paris 2024 and Milano/Cortina 2026 Olympic Games.  Fiona was previously Head of Australia’s Nation Brand and Chief Marketing Officer at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), leading Australia’s international global brand initiative to encourage investment and tourism.
LLB (Hons), BIT, AMP (Harvard)

Andrea De Gaspari

Board Member

Head of international network at Intesa Sanpaolo’s chief Institutional affairs and external communications area. Responsible for supporting the internationalisation process of the bank by fostering institutional relations with national and international bodies, trade and investment agencies international chambers of commerce, business associations. Andrea’s previous roles at Intesa Sanpaolo include senior manager of the international department at the corporate and Investment banking division and head of foreign network development at infrastructure and public finance.

Phd in Commercial Law (Federico II, University of Naples), BA in Economics (La Sapienza University)

Shalendra Ranasinghe

Board Member

Shalendra is a leader in infrastructure with more than 30 years of global experience in the private and public sectors at Executive and Board levels in Australia, including with the NSW Government. In 2021, she was appointed Chief Commercial Office APAC and Middle East for the Webuild Group to lead business development activities, focusing on Australia and Saudi Arabia. In March 2023 Webuild acquired Clough, one of Australia’s leading companies to complement its capabilities and further grow its presence in Australia.  Today, Australia is the Group’s second-largest market with 4,500 people delivering circa €10B+ of infrastructure including the iconic Snowy 2.0 and North East Link.  Shalendra is also involved with peak Italian industrial bodies Confindustria and Assolombarda, is Austrade’s liaison with Webuild and participates on behalf of Webuild in activities with the Italian Dept of Foreign Affairs. BE Civil (USYD) GCCM (AGSM) MBA (AGSM) GAICD.

Stefano Fierro

Board Member

Country Head for Italy at Goodman. Responsible for investment and development projects in industrial, logistics and data centre sectors. Stefano previously served Goodman as senior technical development and asset manager. Before joining Goodman, he gained extensive experience in real estate, infrastructure and project management fields. MBA (ESCP, Paris), Master in Project Management (Politecnico, Milan), BAs in  Structural and Management Engineering (Federico II, University of Naples).

Andrea De Gaspari

Board Member

Head of international network at Intesa Sanpaolo’s chief Institutional affairs and external communications area. Responsible for supporting the internationalisation process of the bank by fostering institutional relations with national and international bodies, trade and investment agencies international chambers of commerce, business associations. Andrea’s previous roles at Intesa Sanpaolo include senior manager of the international department at the corporate and Investment banking division and head of foreign network development at infrastructure and public finance.

Phd in Commercial Law (Federico II, University of Naples), BA in Economics (La Sapienza University)

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News and events

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18 June 2024, Milan

 

Economic Briefing and Networking lunch

 

AIBA, together with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), hosted AIBA members and key figures in Australian and Italian business for an economic briefing and networking lunch at Portrait Hotel Milano.

Briefings:
Naila Mazzucco, Australian Consul General and Trade and Investment Commissioner ‘update on Australian strategic priorities and the federal budget’
Franco Bruni, AIBA Board Member and President of the Italian Institute for Political Science ‘Briefing on G7 agenda’
Raffaele Cattaneo, Undersecretary for International Relations at Regione Lombardia ‘Economic relationship between Australia and Lombardy’

12 April 2024

University of Bergamo, presentation of Australia’s net zero strategy to the Creo-Lab Sustainability start-up laboratory

April 9 2024

 

Australian Ambassador’s Official Residence, Business Reception

 

Australia Italy Business Association was hosted by Chargé d’affaires Alison Burrows at the Ambassador’s residence in Rome to celebrate the progress of our association and explore additional areas of collaboration to drive forward the bilateral relationship.

 

The reception was attended by leaders of Australian and Italian business including Webuild Asia Pacific Director Marco Assorati, Fortescue General Manager Europe Sara Edmonson, Goodman Country Manager Italy Stefano Fierro, Eni International Affairs Officer Ignacio Bianco, Intesa Sanpaolo Head of International Relations Alfonso Siano and Head of International Network Andrea De Gaspari, Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) Investment Director William Peasland, Monash University Prato Centre Associate Director Cathy Crupi, and Nexta President Giulio Cerioli.

March 2024

ISPI Young Leaders Forum in collaboration with OECD and Bocconi University

 

President Taylee Lewis attended the event as the representative for Australia. The event brought together future leaders across business and the public sector to engage on key global challenges and trends.

18 December 2023

Conference Artificial Intelligence and Multiculturalism

 

Event organised by The Progress Times in partnership with the Australia Italy Business Association, the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, the Australian Embassy in Rome, Sapienza Università di Roma, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, the Italian Inter-university Consortium for Informatics and NextGenerationEU.

21 November 2023

Business Behind Sport, conference organised by AIBA in partnership with the Australian Institute of Sport European Training Centre

 

Progress and opportunities in the Australian sports industry were discussed.

Our panelists included Myrtha Pools, a leader in the construction of competition swimming pools having supported Olympic Games including Beijing, London, Rio, Tokyo and Paris.

 

Pelligra®, Italo-Australian property development and sports infrastructure company and owner of Catania FC, Catania Volley and sponsor of Varese Basketball.

 

Leading sportswear provider and change-maker on the sustainability front for the apparel sector, Erreà Sport SpA.

 

Italian start-up Euleria Health, which continues to scale rapidly, including in the Australian market, on the back of its digital rehabilitation and re-athletisation solutions.

 

Fiona De Jong, Director of the AIS European Training Centre and AIBA Board member, provided an overview of emerging investment opportunities in the Australian sport sector.

18 December 2023

Conference Artificial Intelligence and Multiculturalism

 

Event organised by The Progress Times in partnership with the Australia Italy Business Association, the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, the Australian Embassy in Rome, Sapienza Università di Roma, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, the Italian Inter-university Consortium for Informatics and NextGenerationEU.