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Business and tourism pioneer Jim Kennedy dies


Businessman and leader in Queensland’s tourism sector Jim Kennedy has died, aged 87.

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Kennedy, a one-time chairman of the Queensland Investment Corporation, was a pioneer for tourism once owning resorts at South Molle, Tangalooma and Daydream islands, but he was also a leader in the business sector.

He was at one time on the board of the ASX, Qantas, Suncorp, the Commonwealth Bank, Santos and GWA and was inducted into the Business Hall of Fame in 2009.

He was an accountant, retailer, airline owner and resort owner.

“You name it, I’ve been there,” Kennedy said in an interview at the induction.

He started his career as an accountant and said he moved between jobs in search of better pay.

“I wanted to be paid a certain amount of money. I didn’t want to be rich, I just wanted enough to be comfortable.”

After quitting accountancy he started work in a radio and electrical store in Brisbane which eventually led to him owning 12 stores before selling out to GWA.

He conducted a number of commissions and enquiries for governments including the Australian, Queensland and Northern Territory tourism industries and had been chairman of a number of government statutory bodies, including the Australian Postal Commission, Queensland Investment Corporation,  Queensland Tourist and Travel Corporation, and the Queensland Corrective Services Commission.

In 1973 he was appointed a member of the Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Department of Post and Telegraph, which ultimately led to his appointment as Foundation Chairman of the Australian Postal Commission in 1975.

He has also been appointed to a number of federal and state-based review committees which have included Chairman of the Australian Government Inquiry into Tourism, the Committee of Review of the Queensland Tourist and Travel Corporation, the Premier’s Independent Commission for Change and Reform and the Tourism Task Force Strategic Review Panel, and Commissioner of Review into Corrective Services in Queensland.

Kennedy was named one of the 2006 Queensland Greats by then premier Peter Beattie for his outstanding contribution to Queensland’s accounting, banking and finance, business and tourism industries.

He was chairman of the Steering Group for an Economic Development Strategy for Brisbane, a member of the Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Centre for Strategic Management and a member of the Development Council of The University of Queensland.

He was one of 11 high profile Australian to participate in the then Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, a body which aimed to advocate, facilitate and recognise corporate social responsibility and partnerships between business and community organisations in Australia.

Kennedy received many distinguished awards during his lifetime, including a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1982, and in 1995 both the Order of Australia and an Honorary Doctorate from the Queensland University of Technology.

He was married with five children.



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