Sir Rod moves on, new Infrastructure Australia Chair appointed

Media Release


05 April 2014

Joint release with:

The Hon. Tony Abbott MP

Prime Minister

The Hon. Jamie Briggs MP

Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Mark Birrell will succeed Sir Rod Eddington as the new Chairman of Infrastructure Australia when his term expires on 8 April 2014.

Sir Rod has agreed to take up a role with the APEC Business Advisory Council at the request of the Prime Minister and recommended Mr Birrell as his replacement.

Mr Birrell is currently a member of Infrastructure Australia.

He plays a leading role in the transport and construction sectors as Chairman of the Port of Melbourne and founding Chairman of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. He was a Victorian State Cabinet Minister responsible for major projects.

Mr Birrell has the expertise, energy and experience to lead Infrastructure Australia at a crucial time and was recommended by Sir Rod as a suitable replacement.

Under the Coalition Government, Infrastructure Australia will be given a broader range of responsibilities and will be charged with developing a rolling 15-year infrastructure plan for Australia.

Infrastructure Australia is a key part of our plan to build a strong and prosperous economy.

The Government's $36 billion Infrastructure Investment Programme is building the vital road and rail projects across Australia to boost productivity, foster growth and reduce congestion.

Sir Rod has been Chairman of Infrastructure Australia since 2008 and he has accepted an appointment to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

Sir Rod is one of Australia's most experienced and accomplished business leaders and in this position he will advance Australia's trade and economic agenda through APEC.

Sir Rod's role will include attendance at the four APEC Business Advisory Council meetings (the next will be in Santiago on 4-7 May 2014 in Santiago, Chile) and outreach with Australian business, government and international ABAC members to promote Australian business interests in APEC.

The ABAC was created by APEC Leaders in November 1995 to represent the interests of the business community in APEC and provide input on business related issues. The ABAC comprises up to three members from each economy.

The Hon Mark Birrell

The Hon Mark Birrell holds a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws from Monash University and was admitted to practice as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1983.

He was the founding Chairman of the peak industry body Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and retired from the role in 2013.

Currently Mr Birrell is the Chairman of the Port of Melbourne Corporation and Citywide, serves on the statutory board of Infrastructure Australia and is President of the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He is the former national leader of the infrastructure group at Minter Ellison Lawyers and has extensive experience as a company director.

Other roles have included being Deputy Chairman of the board of Australia Post and Chairman of Evans & Peck Limited. Mr Birrell is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Previously he was Minister for Major Projects and Government Upper House Leader in Victoria, working on successful capital works initiatives like CityLink, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and the Docklands.

Sir Rod Eddington

Sir Rod Eddington is non-executive Chairman (Australia & New Zealand) of J.P. Morgan and Chairman of Infrastructure Australia.

Educated as an engineer at the University of Western Australia and then Oxford University as Western Australia's 1974 Rhodes Scholar, Sir Rod's career began in transport and aviation in 1979 when he joined the Swire Group and went on to become CEO of Cathay Pacific, Ansett Airlines and British Airways, before retiring in late 2005 to return to Australia.

Sir Rod was awarded a Knighthood by the British Government in 2005 for services to civil aviation.

In December 2006, Sir Rod completed a study for the British Government on the links between transport and the economy and completed a similar investigation and report for the Victorian Government in 2008, the ‘East-West Link Needs Assessment' report.

Sir Rod maintains non-executive directorships with News Corporation, Lion, CLP (China Light & Power) Holdings and John Swire & Sons.

Sir Rod also serves as President of the Australia Japan Business Cooperation Committee and Chairman of Victorian Major Events Company.