Special Counsels

Our panel of Special Counsels are highly talented senior leaders who provide strategic advice to CMAX Advisory.

These Special Counsels boast distinguished careers in their particular sectors and strengthen our team’s capability to assist clients identify opportunities for growth, mitigate complex risks, and execute strategies to meet corporate objectives.

Joel Fitzgibbon

Special Counsel

View Joel's Biography

Expertise —
Defence and foreign affairsAgriculture and resourcesEconomics and finance
Interests —
GolfRugby league

The Hon Joel Fitzgibbon is on CMAX Advisory’s panel of Special Counsels.

Joel brings over 25 years of experience as a former federal Member of Parliament for the New South Wales seat of Hunter. Throughout his extensive career in politics, Joel served in Cabinet and held the ministerial portfolios of Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Minister for Defence, and Chief Government Whip.

He also held several shadow portfolios throughout his time in Opposition, including Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Shadow Minister for Resources, Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Australia, Shadow Minister for Small Business and Tourism, and Shadow Assistant Treasurer.

Joel has served on a number of parliamentary committees, covering diverse issues including regional affairs; agriculture and resources; economics and finance; employment and workplace relations; foreign affairs, defence and trade; and public administration.

Prior to his time in federal parliament, Joel was a local Councillor and Deputy Mayor of the Cessnock City Council, and a small business owner.

Joel provides CMAX Advisory’s clients with corporate strategy and policy advice, assisting international and Australian businesses navigate the unique Australian business landscape. He also provides advice for Australian companies looking to expand their business overseas.

Neil Hart AM

Special Counsel

View Neil's Biography

Expertise —
Strategy development and implementationLeadership and transformationNew technology concepts and innovation
Interests —
FlyingAdventure motorcyclingAFL, rugby and cricket

Neil Hart AM is on CMAX Advisory’s panel of Special Counsels.

Neil also serves as a Strategic Defence Advisor to the Minister and Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Industry and Planning in Queensland, with a focus on the Aviation and Space industry. He was also recently appointed as a Professor at Deakin University and Chair in Defence Technologies for the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation.

Neil remains active in the Australian Defence Force though the Air Force Reserves, principally through work in ADF Airworthiness Boards. His previous senior command appointments and positions with the ADF include Deputy Chief of Air Force, Head One Defence Implementation, Head Force Structure Review, Head Joint Capability Coordination Division, Commander Air Combat Group, Director of the US Central Command Combined Air and Space Operations Centre, and Director-General Capability Planning in Air Force.

Neil is a fighter pilot and flying instructor with more than 3,000 fast-jet hours, including time on the F/A-18 Hornet, the Mirage IIIO and the Macchi MB326H. He graduated with distinction from the Royal Australian Air Force Academy and was awarded a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne. He is also a graduate of both the USAF Command and Staff College Course (Alabama) and the Royal College of Defence Studies (London).

Neil has served on flying squadrons operating throughout Australia and Southeast Asia, culminating as Commanding Officer of Number 3 Fighter Squadron, including leading the squadron on an operational deployment. Other key previous appointments include Director Special Operations Development in Special Operations Command, Director of the ADF Airworthiness Coordination and Policy Agency, and Deputy Director in the New Air Combat Capability project team.