Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Minister for Communications

Minister for the Arts

Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Appointment of two new directors to the ABC Board

27 February 2017

The Turnbull Government has appointed Dr Vanessa Guthrie and Ms Georgina Somerset as non-executive directors to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Board for a period of five years.

Both appointees bring exceptional skills, background and expertise to the ABC Board. Their membership will also bolster the gender and geographic diversity of the Board.  

Dr Guthrie is based in Western Australia and has substantial experience from a broad range of executive roles, primarily in the mining and energy industries. She is the Chair and a director of the Minerals Council of Australia, Deputy Chair of the Western Australia Cricket Association and an independent director of the Murlpirrmurra Connection.

Ms Somerset is an experienced rural leader and regional strategist from Queensland and runs a family beef cattle farming business. She has board experience across the not-for-profit, government and industry sectors as a director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland section), Children’s Health Queensland Hospital & Health Service, QRAA and Outback Sunrise. Ms Somerset is also the Vice President of AgForce Queensland.
These appointments are made consistent with the selection process for ABC Board appointments set down in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983. This process involves consideration of potential candidates by an independent Nomination Panel for ABC Board Appointments.

Ms Somerset participated in the Nomination Panel process and was recommended for appointment. Dr Guthrie also participated in the Nomination Panel process and whilst not on the Panel’s final list of recommendations, was identified by the Government as having the requisite skills to be a suitable appointment to the Board. In making appointments, the Government has been conscious of the need to ensure a balanced geographic and gender representation on the board.

The Government thanks the Nomination Panel for its work undertaking the selection process and providing a list of nominees for the Government’s consideration.

I congratulate Dr Guthrie and Ms Somerset on their appointments and look forward to seeing the valuable contributions they will make to the ABC Board.
The Government will shortly be considering the separate Report of the Nomination Panel in respect of the position of ABC Chairperson. An announcement on that appointment will be made in due course.

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