Long serving Coalition Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield, is out of the ministry, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday afternoon, with former Optus director of corporate affairs Paul Fletcher to move into the role.
Fletcher will take on an expanded portfolio that is now labelled as Communications, Cyber Safety, and the Arts.
“As the National Broadband Network nears full roll out and social media becomes an even more prominent front in the fight to keep Australians safe, Paul Fletcher, as Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts brings extensive experience and insight to the task,” Morrison said.
Senator Fifield became Communications Minister in September 2015 following the elevation of its former occupier, Malcolm Turnbull, becoming Prime Minister.
Fifield is set to be recommended to the Governor-General to become Australia’s Ambassador to the United Nations. The Prime Minister did not provide a timeline on when this recommendation would occur.
The Prime Minister said Fifield chose not to be part of the ministry.
“I would have been very happy for Mitch to continue to serve in Communications and the Arts,” Morrison said. “I think Mitch has done an outstanding job in what has been a very difficult task in the NBN, and Paul Fletcher comes to this role [as] no stranger to these issues.
“He has a deep experience when it comes to ICT in this country.”
Among other changes to the ministry are the inclusion of Senator Jane Hume as Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services, and Financial Technology, and Stuart Robert as Minister for Government Services, as the federal government looks to adopt the Service NSW delivery model.
The new ministry will be sworn in on Wednesday.
Liberal party may crow that its version of the NBN won out, but that’s because it oversaw the network for most of its life.
The subsidy charge to help fund the NBN’s loss-making satellite and fixed-wireless regional networks has been reduced from AU$10 to AU$7.10 a month.
9.5 million premises are now ready for service, while NBN announced revenue of AU$1.3 billion and negative EBITDA of AU$477 million for the first half of FY19.
Peter Dutton and Mitch Fifield will continue as Home Affairs and Communications ministers, respectively, while Karen Andrews will head up Industry, Science and Technology and Michael Keenan retains Human Services and Digital Transformation, with no cybersecurity department under the new Morrison government.