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Mining giant boss recognised for ‘amazing’ achievement

Brad Welsh
Brad Welsh

An industry body has applauded a multinational resources company’s most senior Indigenous Australian employee as a shining example of diversity.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) recently declared Brad Welsh winner of the exceptional indigenous person category at the 2020 QRC Indigenous Awards.

Proven track record

The first-ever indigenous general manager of operations at Rio Tinto has held a number of senior leadership roles in Far North Queensland, including community relations manager, east Weipa operations manager, Weipa north operations manager, acting general manager of operations and chief advisor to the CEO on indigenous affairs.

Welsh also works as inclusion and diversity chair and is responsible for supporting about 40 per cent of Rio workers who are female or identify as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander.

Always questioning

He revealed his secret of success was to always make an effort to understand how the business operates.

“Curiosity has driven me my whole career [and] trying to understand how things work. I was that kid who asked those annoying ‘why’ questions,” he said in a public statement.

“Rio Tinto has such a large investment position in Aboriginal communities across Australia and the world, so I was curious to find out what makes mining ‘tick’ and how I could help bring the two worlds together. We have a real opportunity to bring the world’s oldest living culture into one of the newest economies for the benefit of both.”

Others commended

This year’s award ceremony was held virtually due to the worldwide pandemic. Several other Indigenous Australians were also recognised, including QCoal social performance consultant Margarita Escartin (indigenous advocacy award), Hastings Deering leading hand Tenille Tonga (rising star award), and Tec-NQ student Lincoln Anderson (exceptional indigenous Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy student).

Arrow Energy’s Whanu Binal Program and Diversified Building Services won the best company indigenous procurement initiative, while Sodexo’s Breaking the Barriers to Belonging program was highly commended.

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“Our indigenous awards enable us to highlight exceptional indigenous people such as Brad, who is a valuable role model to young Indigenous people,” QRC CEO Ian Macfarlane said in a public statement.

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