Case study: Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy


The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) has the important task of helping the community and the government make the best use of our renewable and non-renewable land, water, mineral and energy resources, and delivering safe, secure, affordable and sustainable energy and water.

DNRME is responsible for over 50 boards and committees. They make a valuable contribution to Queensland by providing advice on water, land, surveying, valuing, mining and energy. In a recent recruitment process for a number of these boards, DNRME sought to achieve a diverse applicant pool.

We chat with Rachelle Farquharson, lead for the DNRME Women on Boards team, to discover how the department was able to achieve their most diverse applicant pool for these boards.

Broadened recruitment channels

Historically, these board positions were only advertised through local newspapers and candidates were identified through a search of the Queensland Register of Nominees (QRoN). The Women on Boards team broadened their recruitment channels significantly to increase the diversity of the applicant pool. This included utilising various online platforms to build awareness of the vacancies.

Rachelle recalls:

Leveraging off a range of online platforms allows you to reach a far broader market than traditional advertising methods. Most of these platforms are also free to use—it’s a win-win.

Contacting individual candidates

Over 100 people who had registered their interest through the DNRME online board registration form were notified of the vacancies and encouraged to apply. As a result of this, 12 women applied.

The team also promoted opportunities through marketing collateral which was distributed at various events, conferences and meetings. As Rachelle says:

Board recruiters need to explore alternative ways of advertising their positions to achieve a diverse candidate pool.


A strong female candidate list

Through the Women on Boards team’s efforts, they were able to submit a strong female candidate list to the Minister for consideration. In total, 99 applications were received, of which 57 (or 58%) were female candidates.

All the nominations were assessed by a selection panel against the criteria and a list of 15 meritorious candidates, which included 9 very meritorious females, was put forward to the Minister.

Broadening the advertising channels was very effective, attracting the most candidates ever received. In fact, there was a 93% increase in applications.

Lessons learned

Empowering change

Making it known that gender balance is an objective of our boards and committees can empower change. Rachelle says:

The most rewarding part of the process we’ve undertaken so far is observing the transition from hesitation about the Women on Boards initiative to the realisation that there are very qualified women who are interested in board positions. The measure of success will be that targets will not be required in the future, because diversity of thought, gender, experience and culture will be the norm.

Diversity drives innovation

Diversity brings new perspectives, drives collaboration and innovation, and influences our relationships with one another and the community. DNRME wants their boards and committees to reflect the diverse community they represent—valuing different expertise, experience and backgrounds.