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The Fifth Estate was formed in 1995 by founding principals Ian Wiskin, Bill Hurditch and Maxwell Wrench. At that time the founders had been actively engaged in management of natural resources and industry policy through peak industry associations. In those roles, they employed their skills in structuring, advocating and implementing practical policies for balanced economic development. 


The Fifth Estate was established to bring that same suite of skills in policy for sustainable investment to individual corporations, principally in the forestry, mining, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.


The late 1990s and 2000s saw in Australia significant flux in community, industry and government attitudes and practices in the natural resources space. The Fifth Estate was able to harness its direct project strategy and implementation experience to influence the shape of public policy to enable jobs and investment, initiatives to proceed with a measure of certainty in the face of these societal changes.


In 2003 Craig Taylor joined The Fifth Estate as a principal following the earlier retirement of Maxwell Wrench.


During its 25-year history The Fifth Estate has been engaged to assist the development of more than 50 significant investment projects in the natural resources, processing and manufacturing, forestry, water resources and energy sectors. The organisations which have engaged The Fifth Estate have included some of Australasia's largest listed and private companies.


Today, The Fifth Estate operates from its headquarters in the Sydney CBD. 

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