Senator Stephen Conroy has retained the portfolio of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in the new Gillard Labor Government and been slightly promoted, while former Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has taken Lindsay Tanner’s role in Finance and Deregulation.
Gillard announced the new portfolio in a press conference this morning, noting that Conroy had also been appointed “Minister assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity”.
Several media outlets (ARN, ZDNet), quoted Gillard as saying that Conroy’s new role would see him working across the government to ensure that no matter what area was being discussed – health or education, for example – the Government would work to maximise what the National Broadband Network could deliver in those areas.
Wong’s role replacing Tanner will – if Gillard leaves the Department of Finance and Deregulation intact – see her overseeing the Australian Government Information Management Office, which coordinates whole of government technology procurement and plays a strong role in technology strategy across the public sector.
Tanner, for example, played a key role with respect to the Gershon review of government technology use and spending over the past several years, and has recently been involved with the Federal Government’s datacentre strategy.
The broadband and finance ministries have historically been the two with the most impact on Australia’s technology sector, however other ministries with an influence mainly remained intact.
Nicola Roxon will retain the health portfolio, for example, with its $466.7 million e-health records project to now go forward under Labor, and Industry and Innovation Minister Kim Carr has retailed his role as well.
Various sections of the technology sector had speculated that Senator Kate Lundy could take up an IT ministership, with the potential existing for IT to be split off from Conroy’s role on broadband. However, Lundy has instead been promoted to the role of Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Immigration and Citizenship.