New board but no chair for ACMA

The federal government has announced six appointments to the board of its new broadcasting and communications mega-regulator -- but is still to publicly name a permanent chairperson just one week before the new body starts operations.

The federal government has announced six appointments to the board of its new broadcasting and communications mega-regulator -- but is still to publicly name a permanent chairperson just one week before the new body starts operations.

An announcement about the chair of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) -- the entity resulting from the merger of the broadcasting and communications watchdogs -- will be made shortly, according to a statement from Communications and Information Technology Minister Senator Helen Coonan. Until then, the new deputy chair -- Lyn Maddock, acting chair of the Australian Broadcasting Authority -- will act as chairperson.

When the new ACMA chief is named, Maddock will step down into the deputy role. Until then, that post will be filled by fellow board appointee Chris Cheah, who heads up the telecommunications division of Coonan's department.

Both Maddock and Cheah have been appointed to ACMA for four years in full-time roles. Australian Film, Television and Radio school boss and former SBS managing director and ABC deputy managing director Malcolm Long will also sit for a four-year term, but as a part-timer.

Three other appointees will take on part-time board positions for three-year terms.

Those include Rod Shogren, a former commissioner of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Professor Gerard Anderson, an academic with the University of Central Queensland and experience in regional communications and IT.

Johanna Plante, who recently retired as chief executive officer of the Australian Communications Industry Forum, as well as holding various senior positions with companies like KPMG, Telstra and Pacific Star Communications, has also taken a post.

The federal government has taken its time appointing the ACMA chair, although the regulator will commence operation at the start of next month. While rumours had Macquarie Bank executive and ex-Liberal parliamentarian Warwick Smith first in line for the job, Smith publicly squashed speculation last month.

Long's part-time appointment will put paid to debate over his potential for the role, while Ross Jones -- a former ACCC commissioner -- is still publicly considered to be in the running.