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Former WA agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan to steer Regional Telecommunications Review

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Adam PoulsenCountryman
Former WA agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan will chair a Federal telecommunications review.
Camera IconFormer WA agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan will chair a Federal telecommunications review. Credit: Laurie Benson/RegionalHUB

Former WA agriculture minister Alannah MacTiernan has been appointed to lead the Federal Government’s latest Regional Telecommunications Review.

The review will examine barriers to equitable access to telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia, as compared to services available in urban areas.

Ms MacTiernan will chair an independent review committee that also includes Queensland grazier and regional telecommunications advocate Kristy Sparrow, regional education commissioner Fiona Nash, Queensland University of Technology academic Jessa Rogers, and Victoria-based consultant and advisor Ian Kelly.

“The review is undertaken every three years and is an opportunity for Australians living and working in rural, regional and remote communities to share their views and experiences using telecommunications services,” a Government spokesman said.

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“The review will also work with industry to consider regulatory settings and map solutions to improve regional communications.”

The committee will also consider the needs of First Nations’ communities, the effectiveness of Government investment programs, the potential of emerging technologies, the Universal Service Obligation and the suitability of telecommunications during emergency situations.

Public consultation starts in April, with the committee’s final report to Government due in December.

Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland described Ms MacTiernan — who was also the minister for regional development — as “highly qualified” and a “passionate advocate for rural, regional and remote communities”.

“The independent review committee also has the right experience and expertise to deliver a comprehensive assessment of the state of regional telecommunications in Australia,” Ms Rowland said.

“All Australians deserve access to quality communications service, no matter where they live or work.”

Ms MacTiernan announced her retirement in November 2022 after a turbulent five years in the agriculture portfolio.

She was succeeded by Margaret River winemaker and first-term Upper House MP Jackie Jarvis.

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