QRC chief announces plans to retire from role by end of 2023

  • Posted 26 June, 2023
  • Media Releases

26 June 2023

After seven years at the helm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane announced today he will retire from the role at the end of the year.

Mr Macfarlane said the QRC was in very good shape, supported by a strong policy team and Board, and its ongoing efforts to increase awareness about the critical importance of the resources sector to the Queensland economy continues to gain momentum.

He said the industry’s fight against the State Government’s sudden decision last year to dramatically increase coal royalty taxes will continue because Queensland jobs and future investment is at significant risk under the current royalty regime.

Queensland’s coal royalty taxes are now the highest in the world and five times the rate of NSW, directly impacting the industry’s ability to compete for investment in future resources projects.

Mr Macfarlane said it has been a privilege to lead Queensland’s resources sector during an incredibly challenging and dynamic time in the industry’s history.

“The resources sector is more important to Queensland than ever before,” he said.

“It is the basis of Queensland’s economic prosperity, ongoing jobs and our future success, and it’s worth standing up for.

“Over the past three years, our sector proved its importance to Queensland when resources companies quickly adapted to the challenges of Covid and were able to continue to operate and support the state economy. This kept hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders in jobs and in business at a time other industries such as tourism were forced to shut down.”

Mr Macfarlane said the resources sector was undergoing a period of great transformation, as companies moved to decarbonise their operations as fast as the technology would allow.

“Our industry’s ability to continually innovate will see the mining and energy sector underpin jobs and the state economy well into the next century,” he said.

“Our determination to reduce our industry’s environmental impact will continue under new leadership at the QRC, along with an ongoing commitment to make our workplaces safer and more diverse and inclusive for all employees.”

QRC President Brent Gunther today paid tribute to Mr Macfarlane, saying the board and QRC members offer their sincere thanks to him for his strong advocacy on behalf of Queensland’s resources sector.

“For the past seven years, Ian has been a strong advocate for not only Queensland and Australia’s resource sector but also for mining communities, mining suppliers and the tens of thousands of Queenslanders who work in mining operations around the state,” Mr Gunther said.

“During his time as Chief Executive, the resource sector added more than $509 billion to Queensland’s economy, supported more than 2,343,000 jobs and paid more than $31.5 billion in royalties.

“Ian has also successfully led the industry through the incredible challenges posed by the Covid pandemic and has overseen industry improvements in safety, training, inclusion, and diversity.

“When the resources sector is strong, Queensland is strong, and Ian has been a tireless advocate for the sector, always working to keep the industry strong for the benefit of all Queenslanders,” he said.

“Ian and the QRC team have ensured that mining’s role in supporting the Queensland economy is recognised and celebrated.

“We are extremely grateful for his contribution, and he goes with our best wishes for the future.”

Mr Gunther said the QRC Board will commence an immediate global process to recruit a new Chief Executive, and thanked Mr Macfarlane for agreeing to continue in his role until a successor is found to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership of the QRC.

Further background:

While retiring from his QRC position and also recently as Chair of the Innovative Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre, Ian will continue to serve on the board of Woodside Energy, CSIRO, SoMAC, the fibre composites CRC, Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise and as a member of UQ’s Rural Clinical School Toowoomba Community Advisory Committee. Ian has also just accepted expanded roles on the board of CSIRO and TSBE and taken on a new role assisting St Vincent de Paul in a social housing project in Toowoomba and the Western Downs.

Ian was elected to Federal Parliament in 1998 and retired in 2016. He is Australia’s longest serving Federal Resources and Energy Minister and the Coalition’s longest serving Federal Industry, Science and Innovation Minister.

Prior to political life, Ian farmed peanuts, sorghum and wheat and ran cattle in Queensland’s Burnett region. He is a former President of the Queensland Graingrowers Association, President of the Grains Council of Australia and held executive positions on the Queensland and National Farmers’ Federations. Ian and wife Karen live in Toowoomba and have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.