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Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Minister’s intervention at ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014

4 November 2014

Mr Chairman, Secretary-General, Secretary-General elect and ITU officials, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.

It is an honour to be here with you in Busan, in the Republic of Korea, for the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2014.

Mr Chairman, let me begin by expressing my appreciation for your able stewardship in leading the work of this conference.

I've only just joined you but I want to assure you that the world has been watching your work. Through you and your Committee Chairs, a great deal has been achieved in the past two and a half weeks.

When I attended the ITU Council meeting earlier this year, I spoke about how, at PP-14, we would discuss ways the ITU can best assist its Member States in meeting the challenges and taking hold of the opportunities that will emerge over the next four years.

I believe the decisions taken by this conference so far will achieve this, and I think it is an opportune moment to take stock of our accomplishments so far.

We have already agreed to a new resolution that takes an important step to improve civil aviation safety. I believe my counterpart from Malaysia raised the question why flight tracking still makes use of technology developed in the 1940s and 1950s. By bringing this issue to next year's WRC you are bringing the technology into the 21st century. This achievement cannot be understated and is an outcome that all Member States should be proud of.

The conference's resolution to make use of ICT to support efforts to combat Ebola is a timely and important initiative. Our thoughts, prayers and sympathies are with the victims of this awful disease, and with their families. I commend the ITU for its important contribution.

All Member States of the Union have a strong interest in ensuring the sustainability and strength of this organisation. This conference has set our goals and objectives beyond 2015, through the strategic and financial plans.

The four goals of the Strategic Plan; growth, inclusiveness, sustainability and innovation, provide us with an ambitious plan for the next four years. The outcomes that have been achieved here at PP-14 put us, and the Union, in good standing to achieve these goals.

Further, you have set out the mechanisms that will ensure the Union can work effectively to meet these goals. The preparation of a balanced and realistic financial plan is one of the integral components of ensuring our future success.

The conference has also agreed to continue the Independent Management Advisory Committee, to continue the Academia membership category, to review our membership arrangements and to increase our efforts for greater transparency, which will help us to achieve the goals we have set.

On behalf of the Australian Government, I would like thank all of the Member States that saw fit to vote for Australia for re-election to the ITU Council. We are proud that you have continued to put your trust in us as Council representatives and we stand ready to continue to actively engage in the work of managing the Union.

The Australian delegation has already offered its congratulations to the new office bearers of the ITU, following the elections which concluded last week. However, I would again like to take this opportunity to congratulate the newly elected officials of the ITU; the Secretary-General elect Mr Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary-General elect Mr Malcolm Johnson, Mr Francois Rancy and Mr Brahima Sanou on their re-election for a second term as Directors of the Radiocommunication and Telecommunication Development Bureaus, and to Mr Chaesub Lee, the newly elected Director of the Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau. Finally, I would like to offer my congratulations to the members of the RRB and the Council on their elections.

Mr Chairman, distinguished delegates, I thank you again for the opportunity to speak. While my time here in Busan will sadly be short, I hope to meet with many of you while I am here.

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