Anthony Albanese has been appointed communications minister in Kevin Rudd’s new cabinet.
The new deputy prime minister has taken on the portfolio in addition to his existing infrastructure and transport portfolio.
“This is a large set of responsibilities for a man with a prodigious work ethic and a heart for all Australia. He will do the job well,” Rudd said, according to AAP.
Rudd said overseeing infrastructure and broadband will mean Albanese “will keep the nation's arteries going”.
Albanese replaces Stephen Conroy, who stepped down from his role as minister for the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio last week following Rudd's victory over Julia Gillard in a Labor leadership ballot.
Meanwhile, Ed Husic has been appointed parliamentary secretary for broadband and Kate Lundy has been appointed Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy and Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation. She remains Minister for Multicultural Affairs but has dropped the sports portfolio.
Albanese has previously said the NBN can help bridge the digital divide in regional areas.
“One of the great benefits of the NBN is overcoming the tyranny of distance that has made it more difficult to do business in regional Australia than in the CBDs of our capital cities,” he told parliament in May this year.
“That is why new areas switched on to the NBN so far this year include Gungahlin, Toowoomba, Coffs Harbour, Bacchus Marsh and Gosford. Right around the country in regional communities the NBN is overcoming that tyranny of distance.
“That is why it is important that it be rolled out throughout regional communities so as to overcome the digital divide.”
Telco analyst Chris Coughlan said he doesn't expect Albanese to push through any significant changes to the NBN's rollout between now and the election.
“If he keeps Conroy’s telecommunications advisors, such as David Havyatt, they will be able to provide the depth of understanding that he is probably lacking on the industry. If that support doesn’t remain, he may struggle a little,” Coughlan said.
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