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Tributes flow to ‘fearless’ industry leader who died after contracting illness

Former QRC CEO Michael Roche
Former QRC CEO Michael Roche

The nation is mourning the sudden loss of a former industry chief who passed away shortly after being diagnosed with an illness.

Former Queensland Resources Council (QRC) CEO Michael Roche died on July 30 after battling an unknown illness for a few weeks. He was only 64-years-old and two years shy of qualifying for the age pension according to the Australian Department of Human Services’ website.

‘Fearless leader’

QRC, which Roche led for the 11 years to 2016, paid a tribute to his “tireless commitment and passion for the resources sector”.

“Michael was a fearless leader and vocal advocate for the sector who championed new ideas that changed the industry forever,” QRC incumbent CEO Ian Macfarlane said in a public statement. “He led the organisation through one of the most severe downturns in recent history with determination and professionalism.”

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‘Made Qld a better place’

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk thanked Roche for his “invaluable contribution” through developing world-class mining rehabilitation reforms.

“Michael will be missed and his contributions to public life have made Queensland a better place,” the premier said in a statement. “[He] most recently [was] providing analysis at McCullough Robertson Lawyers on Queensland’s strategy to develop a hydrogen export industry and the development of minerals resources and renewable energy.”

Federal Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan felt “very sad” to hear of Roche’s untimely passing.

“He was a fearless advocate for Queensland resources jobs,” Canavan said on Facebook. “My sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Untimely death shocks and saddens

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) was “shocked and saddened” to hear about Roche’s passing.

“All round, he was a great bloke who will be sorely missed by everyone who had the good fortune to meet him,” CCIQ CEO Stephen Tait said in a statement. “On behalf of the CCIQ and all of our members, I would like to express our deep condolences to the Roche family at this time.”

Roche is survived by wife Jenny, their children and extended family.

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