Rod Welford is a thought leader and strategist in energy, sustainability and strategic policy. Originally trained as a lawyer, he practised as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland and a barrister of the High Court of Australia, working as a corporate and commercial litigation lawyer.
In 1989, he was elected to the Parliament of Queensland, serving for nearly 20 years as a leading legislator and policy maker. During his career as a Parliamentarian, he has held numerous senior positions in the Government, including:
- Chair of the Queensland Government Sustainable Energy Advisory Group
- Member of the Premier’s Smart State Council
- Minister for Environment and Heritage and Minister for Natural Resources
- Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Ministerial Council
- Australian State Delegate to the UN Sustainable Development Commission
- Attorney General and Minister for Justice
- Minister for Education and Training and Minister for the Arts.
Widely regarded as a strong policy innovator in government, he saw his role as a public policy ‘designer’, formulating new approaches to the environmental and regulatory challenges of the time.
As Minister, among other things, Mr Welford:
- established the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, the first in the world with a division focusing specifically on Sustainable Industries and resource efficiency
- initiated Australia’s first large scale water efficiency program
- introduced the first laws to prevent broad-scale land clearing on freehold land, thus enabling Australia to meet its unofficial Kyoto target
- forged the only Regional Forest Agreement in the nation to win the support of both the timber industry and the conservation movement
- doubled the area of the National Park Estate
- introduced the Water Act to provide the first ever protection for environmental flows in river systems
- established the Queensland Youth Environment Council
- established three innovative “Smart State” secondary school academies for maths and science, creative industries, and health sciences
- initiated the Year of Sustainability promoting sustainability education in Queensland schools
- launched the first ever State Design Strategy to harness the economic potential of the design professions.
Retiring from Parliament in 2009, Rod became CEO of the Australian Council of Recycling, the national peak industry body for the recycling industry. In this role he raised the profile of the industry with Governments, helped drive new Government policies to promote recovery of ewaste, tyres and other products, advocated for container deposit schemes and initiated national discussion about the need for a circular economy.
In addition to his role with ACOR, Mr Welford was also:
- Deputy Chairman of AstiVita Renewables Limited
- Chairman of the Energy Management Institute
- Board Member of Stanwell Corporation, a State-owned power generation company
- Board Member, National Packaging Covenant Industry Association
- Board Member, International River Foundation
- Inaugural Board Member of the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination, Murdoch University.
Most recently, he was Executive Chairman of an international, award-winning sustainable energy design practice, Ensight, based in Brisbane Australia. Ensight delivered energy transformation programs within some of the world’s largest energy intensive, resource industry corporations. He led Ensight to win the Optus Business of the Year Award and Export Business of the Year Award in 2016.
In 2017, he sold his interest in Ensight and returned to Australia, mentoring young entrepreneurs as Executive Manager of an App Development business, leading SME’s through digital transformation to migrate their operations to mobile digital technology.
He is a member of the Environment Institute of Australia, the Australian Smart Energy Council, the Queensland Environmental Law Association and was a founder and inaugural chair of the Whitlam Institute for Social and Economic Research.