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Industry in Australia is undergoing a significant transformation. From its traditional foundation of agriculture, through to heavy manufacturing, Australian industry is now beginning a third wave of development in which our best opportunities to be globally competitive will come by focussing on specialised, high-end manufacturing and areas in which we have a natural advantage.
Ian Macfarlane brings a unique perspective to Australian industry policy, having been Industry Minister for six years in the Howard Government, and now the Industry Minister with a ‘super’ portfolio encompassing diverse sectors of our economy, from its powerhouse – the resources sector – through to the driver of our future economic gains – research and science.
Minister Macfarlane will prove an insight into the changes he’s experienced in the Australian industry sector and discuss the Abbott Government’s focus on implementing the policy superstructure to encourage innovation, investment and the development of a skilled and sophisticated workforce to secure Australia’s role in the global economy and in the dynamic Asian region.
Ian Macfarlane is the Minister for Industry, a broad portfolio that covers key areas including manufacturing, energy and resources, skills and training and science.
Ian brings his extensive experience and pragmatic approach to policy work in these important sectors, which are the driving force behind the Australian economy.
As a Minister in the Howard Government he held the portfolio of Small Business (2001) before being promoted to the Cabinet role of Industry, Tourism and Resources (2001-2007). He has also previously been the Coalition’s spokesperson in Opposition for Trade and for Infrastructure and Water.
Before entering federal politics Ian farmed peanuts, sorghum and wheat and ran cattle in Queensland’s Burnett region before becoming one of the country’s most active agripoliticians. He was President of the Queensland Graingrowers Association for seven years, President of the Grains Council of Australia for two years and simultaneously held executive positions on the Queensland and National Farmers Federations.
Ian lives in Toowoomba, Australia’s largest provincial inland city.