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Appointment of two new directors to the ABC Board

Dr Kirstin Ferguson from Queensland and Ms Donny Walford from South Australia have been appointed as non-executive directors to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Board, bringing strong business and financial management skills to the positions.

Dr Ferguson is a well-respected independent company director of ASX, private company and government boards who brings corporate experience and expertise in risk and compliance, corporate governance, remuneration and human resources and strategy. Dr Ferguson is based in Queensland.

Ms Walford is an experienced non-executive director and CEO of public unlisted companies and community organisations with specific expertise in strategy, finance, strategic marketing and building businesses. Ms Walford is based in South Australia.

I congratulate Dr Ferguson and Ms Walford on their appointments and look forward to the expertise they will contribute to the ABC Board.

It is important that the ABC Board reflects both gender and geographic diversity and the addition of Dr Ferguson and Ms Walford will achieve these objectives.

The Government's gender diversity targets are 40 per cent female, 40 per cent male and 20 per cent of either gender on Australian Government boards. With the appointment of Dr Ferguson and Ms Walford, the ABC Board will have a gender composition of four women (44.4 per cent) and five men (55.6 per cent) compared to three women (33.3 per cent) and six men (66.7 per cent) previously.

The geographic representation is now also better balanced, with new representatives from Queensland and South Australia joining representatives from New South Wales (four members), Victoria (one member), Tasmania (one member) and Western Australia (one member).

The process for ABC Board appointments set down in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (the Act) includes an independent Nomination Panel submitting candidates for consideration to government.

I thank the Nomination Panel for the diligent and professional performance of their statutory role.

Dr Ferguson participated in the Nomination Panel process and was considered 'Very Suitable' for the appointment, the Panel's highest rating. Due to other commitments, she withdrew before the Panel made their recommendations, but was subsequently invited by the Government to reconsider and accepted the offer to become a Board Member effective 12 November 2015.

Ms Walford was not assessed by the Panel, but was identified by the Government as having the requisite skills to be a suitable appointment to the Board. Her appointment will take effect from 24 November 2015.

I would like to thank Steven Skala AO, who served as a non-executive director for the maximum two five-year terms, for his decade of service to the ABC Board and also Cheryl Bart AO, whose five-year term as a non-executive director concluded in June 2015.

Media contact: Justine Sywak | 0448 448 487 | Justine.Sywak [at] communications.gov.au