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O'Byrne looking forward to challenge.

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The Federal Member for Bass, Michelle O’Byrne said today that she was looking forward to the challenges created by her appointment as Opposition Parliamentary Secretary for Communications.

“Realistically this was the first opportunity I could have accepted a role as part of Labor’s front bench team and I am delighted it has come so soon, Ms O’Byrne said.

“And the exciting thing is that Simon Crean has offered me the chance to work in a challenging portfolio, and one which has real implications for regional Australia, like my own electorate of Bass.”

Ms O’Byrne said that she would be working closely with Shadow Minister for Communications, Lindsay Tanner in a number of areas, but was looking forward to her specific responsibilities which will be Australia Post and the regional implications of broadband technology.

“I don’t want to rush in and make too many rash statements on day one, but one thing I am certain about is that Australia Post plays a vital role in our national telecommunications network, especially in the regions. I am particularly concerned by the Governments statements about deregulation,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“Services to rural and regional Australia have been hit hard by the present Government. It is important that essential services such as those provided by Australia Post remain accessible to all Australians, not just those who live in the big cities.”

She said that she was proud to be the fourth Tasmanian on Federal Labor’s front bench team, joining Shadow Ministers Kerry O’Brien and Nick Sherry and fellow Parliamentary Secretary, Sid Sidebottom.

Launceston Canberra

(03) 6334 8664 (02) 6277 4278

Ms O’Byrne said she regretted that a fifth Tasmanian, Senator Sue Mackay, whom she had supported in the ballot for the recent Shadow Ministry vacancy, was not also taking on a front bench role.

“Sue is a committed and hardworking member of our team in Canberra and will continue to play a vital role as Labor’s Senate Whip and as a key member of several parliamentary committees.”

Launceston, 18th February 2003

Further information: Michelle O’Byrne 0417 379 562

Brian Roe 0438 604 571