New Board Backs Good Jobs For Queenslanders

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development The Honourable Lance McCallum

Minister McCallum with the new Jobs Queensland Board meeting for the first time in Cairns

  • The new Jobs Queensland Board has met for the first time in Tropical North Queensland.
  • The 11-member board, chaired by Jim Varghese AM, provides advice to government on future skills, workforce planning and apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • More Queenslanders have a job than ever before with 6000 employment opportunities created in January 2024 alone.

The Jobs Queensland Board is in Cairns and working with more than 100 local employers and training experts on future workforce priorities for the Tropical North and regional Queensland, including the Miles Government’s Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

Jobs Queensland’s Anticipating Future Skills (AFS) series predicts nearly 10,000 extra skilled jobs will need to be filled in Cairns by 2025-26.

The new 11-member Jobs Queensland Board led by Chair Jim Varghese AM features the expertise of priority industry, community and employee representatives and is delivering workforce planning workshops around the State with Regional Jobs Committees.

Jim Varghese is appointed to a four-year term as Chair and brings more than 30 years’ experience in leading government agencies.

Mr Varghese is supported by an experienced Jobs Queensland Board to deliver on the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032 including:

  • Heidi Cooper, CEO of Business Chamber Queensland (returning Board member)
  • Danielle Carey, Workforce Australia
  • Donisha Duff, University of Queensland
  • Jennifer Thomas, The Services Union (returning Board member)
  • Katherine Venables, CatholicCare Social Services
  • Michael Dart, Energy Queensland
  • Dr Michael Drew, Co-Founder and Director of Drew, Walk & Co
  • Bernard Hogan, Queensland Hotels Association
  • Walter Kuhn, Kuhn Corp Print and Packaging
  • Trent Young, Young Guns Container Crew

Quotes attributable to Employment, Training and Skills Minister Lance McCallum:

“More Queenslanders are in jobs than ever before with unemployment in Cairns at historical lows.

“And we know demand for skilled Queenslanders is strong with an extra 207,000 workers needed to fill good jobs by 2025-26 through initiatives like the Miles Government’s Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

“That’s why we’re investing in life-changing free TAFE and free apprenticeships for under 25s to make sure Queenslanders have the training and skills they need for the jobs of the future.

“The work of the 11-member Jobs Queensland Board is focused on critical workforce planning to give all young Queenslanders a fair go at building a great, well-paid career.”

Quotes attributable to the Jobs Queensland Board Chair Jim Varghese AM:

“I welcome the opportunity to lead the Jobs Queensland Board.

“This strong and diverse group of members are passionate about Queensland’s future.

“Our work will support Queensland to maintain and develop a highly skilled and resilient workforce to meet future needs.”

Quotes attributable to PCG Chair for Maritime Industry, Andrew Hayes:

“As Chair of the Cairns Maritime & Marine Project Champion Group, it has been great to work closely with Jobs Queensland on the Cairns Region Workforce Planning Project, focusing on Maritime and Aviation.

“Jobs Queensland has shown a deep interest in our industry – engaging directly to ask us what we think are our key workforce challenges and how to plan a way forward to address them.

“Having the Jobs Queensland Board in our region is another great opportunity for us to discuss unique challenges faced by regional workforces.

“We look forward to hosting the incoming Jobs Queensland Board as they tour the Norship shipyard this week as part of their engagement activities in the region.”

Additional information:

As an independent voice to government, Jobs Queensland works with industry, regions and government to shape a prosperous future for all Queenslanders.


A pic of the Jobs Queensland Board is here:

/Public Release. View in full here.