STEP Australia Quarterly Message from the Chair

STEP Australia Chair’s Update

Ian Raspin TEP, Chair of STEP Australia

What an amazing finish for the year for STEP across Australia.

I would like to firstly start this update by passing my personal congratulations to Bryan Mitchell TEP on being announced as one of the eight global recipients of the 2023 STEP Founders Award which was announced in London last week.  Bryan’s contribution and support to the STEP community in Queensland, throughout Australia and other jurisdictions is nothing short of extraordinary, and I cannot think of a more worthy recipient of this prestigious award.  My sincere thanks to Bryan for all the significant contributions he has, and continues, to make to our amazing organisation.

Last week the Australian branch chairs and I attended the STEP Branch Chairs Assembly in London.  This was a great opportunity for us to meet with senior STEP Staff and other STEP Chairs from around the globe.  We learnt more about the operations and strategic direction of STEP and obtained insights and take aways from other branches around the world.   My sincere thanks to Angela Rae TEP, Mark Streeter TEP (Former NSW Chair), Andrea Olsson TEP, Adrian Cartland TEP and Janene Bon TEP for making the massive effort and time commitment to attend this assembly.      

It was also a total delight to attend and present at theSTEP WA Branch Conference at the University of Notre Dame in Perth in October.  Their conference was on Self-Managed Superannuation Funds and was a very well attended, supported and educational event. The passion and high level of engagement of STEP and our membership throughout Australia has been so evident to me this year as I have been so fortunate to attend events with all Australian branches.   

One of the Board’s focuses this year has been on stakeholders’ engagement, be that member, sponsors, regulators, the public, and in recognising the contributions of our many volunteers. I am very pleased with the progress we have made to date.  Part of this program has also been to focus on building relationships with other professional bodies that have synergies with the multidisciplinary core of STEP. It was therefore a delight to see that on behalf of STEP Michael Perkins TEP, Bernie Walrut TEP and myself were all invited to present at and attend the Financial Advice Association of Australia (FAAA) annual congress in Adelaide last month.  We look forward to continuing our engagement and growth with those professional bodies we have worked with this last year.  I was also honoured to attend an event on behalf of STEP celebrating the 20th year of the office of the Inspector General of Tax in Sydney in October.  This is a direct reflection of the success and growth of the reputation of STEP though the work of our National STEP Policy and Advocacy Committee which was introduced during Peter Bobbin’s period as chair.

Finally, a big thank you to the contributions of our many branch and national volunteers who give countless hours in supporting and delivering amazing STEP events, conferences, programs (such as our mentorship program), newsletters, and in the delivery of such high advocacy and policy submissions.  Your collective contributions are significant and greatly appreciated.  I would also like to acknowledge my board of directors and Dior Locke who likewise, has worked so hard in support of branches and membership across Australia.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you for what promises to be an amazing 2024!

STEP Australia National Trust and Estate Conference 2024

The STEP Australia National Trust and Estate Conference will be held at The Langham, Melbourne, commencing with welcome drinks on the evening of Wednesday 8 May 2024, followed by two full days of high-quality presentations. During the conference STEP will host a Delegate Gala Dinner on Thursday 9 May 2024 and a social event on Friday 10 May 2024, to conclude the conference.

Link to Register and view the programme –

Excellence Awards Chair’s Update

Julie Van der Velde TEP, Chair of STEP Australia Excellence Awards Committee

Planning for the 2024 STEP Australia Excellence Awards is now well underway thanks to an enthusiastic and hard-working committee. We regretfully farewelled Adrian Cartland TEP from our committee with many thanks for his great contribution in 2023 and have been pleased to welcome our 2023 STEP Australia Excellence Award winner Natalie Silvester TEP to the committee. Thank you, Natalie for taking this on and thanks to Ian Raspin TEP and Kimberly Martin TEP for your continuing contribution.

Nominations for the 2024 awards will open on 9 February. We encourage all TEPs to consider nominating. In 2024 STEP Members will also be able to nominate TEPs in their networks whom they feel are worthy of the STEP Australia Excellence Award or the STEP Australia Masters Award so even if you do not wish to self-nominate please consider nominating one of the many outstanding TEPs who practice in Australia.

Link to Excellence Awards Page –

Mentorship Committee Chair’s Update

Ashleigh Poole TEP, Chair of STEP Australia Mentorship Committee

STEP Australia would like to acknowledge the Mentors part of the 2023 STEP Australia Mentorship Programme for their immense contribution.

Brendan Ashdown TEP
Renee Bennett TEP
Peter Bobbin TEP
Angela Brischetto TEP
Adrian Corbould TEP
Debra Davis TEP
Sarah Hooper TEP
Hari Maragos TEP
Craig McKie TEP
Bryan Mitchell TEP
Carla Parsons TEP
Michael Perkins TEP
Francois Salama TEP
Natalie Silvester TEP
Carolyn Sparke KC TEP
Mark Taylor TEP
Andrew Woods TEP

STEP Australia appreciates your generosity in giving your time and expertise back to the profession through The STEP Australia Mentorship Programme.

Link to Mentorship Programme Page –

Advocacy Chair’s Update

Jennifer Sheean TEP, Chair of STEP Australia Advocacy Committee

The STEP Australia advocacy committee continues to work hard to ensure that it has input into issues affecting STEP members in Australia.  The work that started with the call out for ‘war stories’ in relation to Enduring Powers of Attorney continues with engagement with the Australian Banking Association.  The committee is hopeful that an upcoming meeting with the ABA will be an opportunity to openly discuss the issues and begin the process of finding solutions.

STEP Australia has also endorsed a number of submissions, including the submission by BNR Partners to the ATO regarding PCG 2018/4DC1, and the STEP WA submission in relation to the WA perpetuity provisions.

The committee has also put together a submission in response to the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department consultation paper: Achieving Greater Consistency in Laws for Financial Enduring Powers of Attorney.

There continues to be work on a number of issues, including the issue of online Wills, the process of disputing decisions by Trustees in relation to superannuation Death Benefit claims, and the ongoing dissatisfaction with the various Public Trustees around the country.  In relation to the last issue, the Committee hopes to be able to make positive submissions that will support the good work of the Public Trustees while addressing the issues that have arisen.

As always, the committee welcomes members bringing issues to their attention
Link to Advocacy Page –

Newsletter Committee Chair’s Update

Rob Cumming TEP, Chair of STEP Australia Newsletter Committee

The STEP Australia Newsletter this quarter continued to keep members up to date on issues affecting STEP Australia members.  Articles, including one on Trauma informed legal practice and one on client incapacity, followed on from the successful STEP Australia National Incapacity Conference held in June.

Contributions from members are always welcomed. Articles are of 1,500 words or 750 words and should cover matters which are of interest in all Australian jurisdictions and includes case notes and other substantive practice areas as well as member personal profiles.  

Our accounting and financial planning members are particularly encouraged to submit articles arising out of their practices.

Contact Dior Locke, STEP Australia Operations Manager, for publishing guidelines and related information.

Link to National Newsletter Page and Latest Issue –