Coonan announces communications authority board

The federal government has named the board for the its so-far headless hybrid communications watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which operates from July 1.

Appointing a board with a heavy focus on expertise from the telecommunications and information technology sector, Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan has also selected acting head of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Lyn Maddock as the deputy chair of ACMA - and will fill in as acting chairman .

The new regulator will take charge from July 1 2005 and will enforce laws across a diverse portfolio of activities including telecommunications, e-mail, Internet, television, radio and spectrum.

One of Coonan's closest advisors, current head of the Telecommunications Division within Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts has also been appointed to a full time board position. Rod Shogren, a former telco disciplinarian and commissioner with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has secured a part-time slot as has IT academic Professor Gerard Anderson.

Former SBS head Malcolm Long and telco lobby CEO Johanna Plante have also secured part-time board positions.

Coonan said the board will bring a "broad range of experience and expertise" to ACMA and said an announcement regarding the appointment of a full-time chair "will be made shortly when arrangements concerning the appointment have been finalized".

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