The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has announced that former federal cabinet minister Helen Coonan will replace Vanessa Guthrie as the organisation’s new chair.
Coonan has been appointed to the position for the next two years and will begin her role when Guthrie steps down following the MCA’s board meeting on June 18.
Her selection follows an extensive process involving the company’s board and chief executive officer, which concluded in early May.
Guthrie, who has been MCA chair for the past three years after joining the board in 2014, reflected fondly on her time in the role.
“It has been a privilege to advocate on behalf of so many great companies and their employees – all of whom are critical to the economic success of Australia,” she said.
“We have much to be proud of in Australian mining, including our status as a global technology leader and our record as the nation’s wealth creator and jobs generator.”
Coonan brings a wealth of experience in governance, commercial and public policy to MCA, having served in parliament from 1996 to 2011.
Her experience includes being minister for communications, IT and the arts and deputy leader of the government in the senate, while also being the first ever female member of a federal cabinet to take on treasury responsibilities.
After leaving parliament, Coonan was appointed the inaugural chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and is a non-executive director of Crown Resorts and Snowy Hydro.
Coonan expressed her excitement to commence the new role, revealing what she intended to improve on for the country’s minerals sector.
“I am honoured to be appointed chair of the MCA at such a great time for our world-leading Australian minerals industry,” Coonan said.
“If Australia is to stay in front of its global competitors in an increasingly competitive world, we must continue to push for faster project approvals, greater sustainability and reforms in a whole range of policy areas.”