by George Nott

Morrison announces ministerial reshuffle, new Services Australia agency

May 27, 2019
CareersDigital TransformationGovernment

Paul Fletcher has been named Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new look ministry.

Fletcher replaces outgoing minister for communications and the arts Senator Mitch Fifield. Responsibility for ‘Cyber Safety’ is a new aspect of the role.

“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 Fletcherhellip;brings extensive experience and insight to the task,” Morrison said in a statement yesterday.

Prior to his political career, which began in 2009, Fletcher was head of corporate and regulatory affairs at Optus for almost eight years. He has also run a telecommunications consultancy firm, and until 2000 was chief of staff for then-communications minister Senator Richard Alston.

Fifield will be recommended to the Governor-General for the post of Australia’s next Ambassador to the United Nations, Morrison said.

The addition of ‘Cyber Safety’ to the communications minister’s role comes after a pledge by the Liberal Party to introduce a new Online Safety Act.

In February the Government released a draft Online Safety Charter which set out it’s “expectations, on behalf of the community, of digital platforms in reducing online harm”.

The expectations cover the removal of offensive content, stricter controls on accounts, the earlier identification of illegal and harmful content, and accountability and transparency, including regular complaint and compliance reporting.

Karen Andrews retains her position as Minister for Industry, Science and Technology and will work to create “more and better paid jobs in traditional and emerging industries” Morrison said.

Jane Hume was appointed to the role of Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology.

Services Australia

A new agency will be established, Morrison said, to “drive greater efficiencies and integration of Government service delivery and making best use of technology and digital applications”.

It will be modelled on Service NSW, which launched in 2013as a one-stop shop for access to state government services and transactions.

Responsibility for the new agency has been given to Stuart Robert as Minister for Government Services. Roberts will be balancing this role with his appointment as Minister for the National Disability and Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“A key focus for all of my ministers and their departments will be lifting performance on government service delivery. This will include congestion busting on regulatory and bureaucratic roadblocks, making better use of technology and better integrating service delivery across portfolios. The goal is to make it easier to deal with and access the Government services Australians rely on,” Morrison said.