Tributes have been flowing this week after the retirement announcements of two resource industry leaders.
Former resources and energy Minister Ian Macfarlane and Shadow Minister Gary Gray both announced their retirement from Australian Parliament.
“Today I confirm I will not contest the next federal election due later this year,” Mr Macfarlane said in a statement on Monday.
“After almost 18 years representing the constituents of Groom, serving nine of those years as a Cabinet Minister and Minister under the Howard and Abbott governments, and a further six years as a shadow minister, the time is right to pass the baton.
“After 32 years in public life in agri-politics and politics, I will now be looking for new challenges to use my wealth of knowledge and experience in the resources, industry and science sectors for the betterment of our great nation.
“I am truly grateful for the opportunities to serve the nation over the years and greatly appreciate the support I have received from my family, my electorate and ministerial staff and members of the LNP.”
Gary Gray made a similar announcement on Tuesday.
Since the announcement the resources sector has been sending messages of support to the ministers.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche farewells the “two great industry champions in the Australian Parliament”.
“Both former resources and energy Ministers and Shadow Ministers Ian Macfarlane and Gary Gray will be greatly missed. They brought to their roles a great depth of knowledge and affinity for the resources sector, along with a unique brand of bipartisanship,” Mr Roche said.
The South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) congratulated and thanked Mr Gray for his public service as the Member for Brand and more particularly in his roles as Minister and Shadow Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy.
“It has been a pleasure over the years to work with Gary. His immense knowledge of the sector and selfless attitude has been for the better of our State and Australian politics. I am sure that in retirement Gary will continue to contribute to our national interest,” said SACOME chief executive Jason Kuchel.
Resource industry employer group AMMA commended Mr Gray on his “outstanding political career and his exemplary contributions” to the resource industry.
“AMMA was particularly pleased to work with Gary on various recommendations from the 2010 National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce, where he actively engaged on a range of initiatives to address the industry’s skills requirements,” AMMA chief executive Steve Knott said.
“This included the establishment of the Australian Women in Resources Alliance, a joint industry-government funded scheme to encourage greater diversity of our workforce, and recognising the role of responsible skilled migration programs in securing long-term jobs and economic benefits for all Australians.
“The retirement of a federal representative with strong ties to the resource industry and extensive knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing our sector will be missed.”
Mr Knott also congratulated Mr Macfarlane on his “outstanding 18-year career in federal politics and the enormous contribution he has made to the development of our resource industry”.
“Ian’s leadership, commitment and support contributed significantly to the success of Australia’s resource industry,” he said.
“Most recently as former Minister for Industry, Ian played a key role in cutting excessive red tape, regulation and the mining tax, while introducing valuable incentives to kick-start new exploration activity.”
The Australian Energy Council also thanked Mr Macfarlane for his commitment to energy market reform over the past decade.
“Ian Macfarlane is one of the architects of a national approach to energy policy in this country. Through both his terms as Minister, and as the Shadow Minister, he worked constructively and tirelessly towards that goal,” chief executive Matthew Warren said.
“The energy industry greatly appreciated Ian Macfarlane’s intelligent and down-to-earth approach to difficult policy issues. His deep understanding of the industry made him a powerful political advocate, and he consistently demonstrated an ability to unite his fellow energy ministers behind necessary reforms.
“The energy industry thanks Ian Macfarlane for his outstanding service to the Australian Parliament and to the energy industry, which is so central to a well-functioning economy, and wishes him well in the next chapter of his career.”