The Minerals Council of Australia announced former Cabinet Minister, lawyer and experienced Board director Helen Coonan as its new Chair.

Dr Vanessa Guthrie has been MCA Chair for the last three years after joining the Board in 2014. During that time, the Australian minerals industry has increased its remarkable contribution to the economy and Australia, delivering strong jobs growth across our regional communities. Helen Coonan is an outstanding leader in Australian political and corporate life and brings a wealth of experience in governance, commercial and public policy skills to MCA and the world-leading Australian minerals industry. She served in the Parliament from 1996 to 2011, including as Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate.

During her parliamentary career, Ms Coonan also served as Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, and was the first ever female member of a federal cabinet to take on Treasury responsibilities. Prior to entering Parliament, Ms Coonan worked as a lawyer, including as principal of her own legal firm, as a partner in law firm Gadens, as a commercial barrister in Australia and as an attorney in New York.

After leaving Parliament, Ms Coonan was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). She is also a Non-Executive Director of Crown Resorts Limited and Snowy Hydro Ltd and serves on the Advisory Board of JP Morgan, Corporate Council of the European Australian Business Council and the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce Advisory Council. “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,” she said. “I am excited about taking on this challenge and leading a high-calibre board and a great organisation to advance the industry and benefit all Australians.”

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