DBCDE’s NBN chief to retire


Stephen Conroy’s Department of Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy is about to lose another one of its most senior staffers, with its long-serving deputy secretary Colin Lyons set to retire from the public sector at the end of the month.

Lyons has been with the department since 1981 and currently has responsibility for implementation of the Government’s National broadband Network project. He picked up a Public Service Medal in 2004 for his work in the fields of telecommunications competition and regulatory issues.

In a statement, Communications Minister Conroy thanked Lyons for his work and revealed his replacement would be Daryl Quinlivan, currently a deputy secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

According to a brief biography of Quinlivan in DAFF’s annual report, the public servant has a background in competition policy, but not specifically in telecommunications.

He was an advisor to the Hilmer Committee, which prepared a report for governments on the National Competition Policy, the biography states, as well as acting as secretary to the Council of Australian Governments working group on micro-economic reform.

Currently, Quinlivan represents DAFF on the Natural Resource Management Standing Committee, the Primary Industries Standing Committee and the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, all inter-governmental organisations. Before his current role, Quinlivan was the executive manager of DAFF’s Fisheries and Forestry division.

It’s the second deputy secretary DBCDE has lost in as many years. In January 2008, the department lost its then-deputy secretary of Communciations Fay Holthuyzen. Lyons had reported directly to Holthuyzen before her departure, in his then-role as chief general manager, telecommunications. He was promoted upwards shortly after that point.

Holthuyzen had held the deputy secretary position since 2000.

DBCDE also has a new secretary. In August 2009, as part of a wide-ranging public service re-shuffle, the department’s secretary Patricia Scott — appointed to the role during the tenure of Conroy’s predecessor Helen Coonan — was ousted to make way for former Bob Hawke staffer and Victorian public servant Peter Harris.

Harris had previously been secretary of Victoria’s Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Image credit: Office of Stephen Conroy