University of Wollongong Professor Alex Frino has been invited to attend a meeting at the Italian Parliament this week

FAMILY: Professor Alex Frino with his parents Luigi and Maria on Tuesday. Prof Frino has been invited to attend a meeting at the Italian Parliament later this week. Picture: Sylvia Liber
FAMILY: Professor Alex Frino with his parents Luigi and Maria on Tuesday. Prof Frino has been invited to attend a meeting at the Italian Parliament later this week. Picture: Sylvia Liber

An internationally recognised economist and researcher at the University of Wollongong aims to honour his parents during an academic visit to Italy. 

UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Strategy) Professor Alex Frino has been invited to attend a meeting at the Italian Parliament later this week, where his research into public sector accounting practices in Italy will be presented by his research team.

Prof Frino, 49, said the invitation from the Chief Executive of the Italian accountancy accreditation organisation, Consiglio Nazionale Dei Dottori Commercialisti e Degli Esperti Contabili (CNDCEC) had special significance for him, as his parents, Illawarra residents Luigi and Maria, were born in Italy.

Prof Frino, who holds dual citizenship, has been engaged in a significant research project about public sector accountancy standards in Italy in the wake of the Greek financial crisis. 

He has been invited to go to Rome to present (with his Italian co-researcher) their research to an Italian Parliamentary committee. 

“My parents migrated to Australia in the hope of a better life, and to give their children opportunities that might not have been possible in Italy,” Prof Frino said. 

“My parents’ story is like that of so many migrants who settled in Wollongong in the 1960s. My father toiled in the Port Kembla Steelworks to give his children the kind of education he couldn’t have.

“So I feel that I am honouring him and my mother by engaging with researchers in Italy, and carrying out this research which will be presented to members of parliament from their homeland, and to be able to give something back to the country where they were born by conducting research that is having an impact in the ‘real world’.

“That it’s got to this level, where my research is able to influence government policy in Italy, is fascinating.”

Prof Frino’s father, while operating as a concrete worker, laid the slab at Building 1 at UOW in the early 1960s. 

His mother said they were “very proud” of their son’s achievements and upcoming trip.

“But it’s something that Australia’s given us too, because if he didn't study... He worked hard, but he had the chance to study and do these things (in Australia),” she said. 

Prof Frino and Prof Francesco Capalbo, of the University of Molise in Italy, have co-authored a number of research papers that examined reporting practices of Italian public sector organisations. 

Professors Frino and Capalbo’s research into Italian public sector accounting practices is considered important in the European Union’s efforts to establish harmonisation of public sector accounting standards across Europe. 

This is because in Italy, local government does not use typical (accrual) accounting practice to generate financial statements, but a cash basis of accounting. 

The research has been funded by a 100,000 Euro grant from the Italian accounting accreditation organisation (CNDCEC).

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