Tuesday 10 July 2007
International Expert to lead 'Digital Australia'
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, today announced the appointment of Andrew Townend as the Executive Director of Digital Australia.
Since 2005, Mr Townend has been the Chief Operating Officer of Digital UK, the body coordinating the switchover to digital television in the United Kingdom. Before this, he held senior positions with the BBC and with Ernst and Young. Mr Townend has a BSc from King's College, University of London.
“Digital Australia is being established within the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and will work with industry to drive the move to digital television over the next few years,” Senator Coonan said.
“I warmly welcome the appointment of Mr Townend. His background in broadcasting and experience as a leader of the digital switchover process in the United Kingdom will be invaluable to Australia's achievement of digital switchover.”
In the United Kingdom, already 46 per cent of households receive free to air digital television with the first switchover to occur in Whitehaven in October this year.
“I am also looking forward to introducing Mr Townend to the members of Digital Australia's Industry Advisory Body at their first introductory meeting in Sydney next week,” Senator Coonan said.
The creation of Digital Australia was announced in November last year in the Government's Ready, Get Set, Go to Digital – A Digital Action Plan. It will be based in Sydney. Digital Australia 's objectives include to:
- educate Australians in the benefits of digital television in order to accelerate take-up;
- identify sections of the community which may have special needs and co-ordinate efforts to meet those needs;
- harness the expertise and co-ordinate the diverse interests of industry in the switchover process; and
- work to plan and manage the switchover process.
Mr Townend will assume his new role in August.
Media Contact: Katherine Meier 02 9223 4388