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Fifield out as Communications Minister as Fletcher fills role and gains cyber

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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.

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