The Australian Broadband Advisory Council is examining ways to maximise the economic and social benefits of widespread broadband connectivity, including through increased take up and use of NBN and 5G.

Australian Broadband Advisory Council, ABAC.

With the National Broadband Network (NBN) nearing completion and the rollout of 5G underway, it is important to develop strategies to maximise the value of high speed connectivity in Australia. Driving take-up and promoting the use of the NBN, 5G and other networks could significantly improve productivity across key sectors of the Australian economy.

The Council will examine and identify how to maximise the economic and social benefits of wide-spread broadband connectivity including through increased take up and use of NBN and 5G. It will provide advice and recommendations to the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts (the Minister).

The Council is made up of eminent Australians with significant digital, technology and business expertise. Ms Deena Shiff is Chair of the Council and is joined by five other members :

  • Bronte Adams, Director, Victorian Education and Research Network
  • Martin Haese, Chief Executive Officer, Business SA
  • Scott Lorson, Chief Executive Officer, Fetch TV
  • Georgina Somerset, President, AgForce Queensland Farmers
  • Zareh Nalbandian, Chief Executive Officer & Producer Animal Logic.

The Council is further supported by members of expert working groups.

Council profiles

Deena Shiff, Chair, Marley Spoon

Deena ShiffMs Deena Shiff was a senior executive in the telecommunications industry for over twenty-five years. As Group Managing Director at Telstra, she ran Telstra Wholesale, set up and managed Telstra Business, the unit dedicated to small and medium business and established Telstra's corporate venture capital arm, Telstra Ventures.

In her legal career, Ms Shiff has acted as Government adviser, in-house Counsel and as a Partner at law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques.

Ms Shiff is currently Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of e commerce company, Marley Spoon AG and is a non-executive director on the boards of AI services company, Appen and health software company, Pro Medicus. Deena also serves on the boards of Infrastructure Australia and Opera Australia.

Previous board roles include Chairman of global wireless infrastructure company, BAI; Chairman of the Cooperative Research Centre, Alertness, Safety and Productivity; board member of Export Finance Australia and the Citadel Group.

In 2015, Ms Shiff chaired the Australian Government's Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee. She has also served on the NSW Government Digital Economy Task Force.

Ms Shiff has a Bachelor of Science (Economics) with Honours from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from the University of Cambridge.

Bronte Adams, Director, Victorian Education and Research Network

Bronte AdamsDr Bronte Adams, Director and founder of Dandolo Partners, is a Rhodes Scholar, former McKinsey & Co consultant, senior government executive, and board director.

Dr Adams has chaired and sat on numerous public and private sector entities. Current and recent Directorships include the Rhodes Trust in Australia; Innovation and Science Australia; Victorian Education and Research Network; AICD Innovation and Technology Governance Panel; Museums Victoria; Creative Industries COVID Response Advisory Panel; UNESCO High Commission.

Prior to establishing Dandolo, Bronte led the Victorian Government's state ICT strategy which attracted FDI, supported the local industry, updated the legislative framework and acted in the role of CIO in a federated model.

Martin Haese, Chief Executive Officer, Business SA

Martin HaeseMr Martin Haese is the Chief Executive Officer of Business SA, Chamber of Commerce and Industry South Australia, and Chair of the Premier's Climate Change Council.

Mr Haese co-founded the Entrepreneurs' Organisation in South Australia and has taught entrepreneurship for MBA students across the nation. From 2010 to 2013, Mr Haese headed the Rundle Mall Management Authority, a subsidiary of the Adelaide City Council, where he led Rundle Mall's upgrade. As General Manager of Rundle Mall, Martin provided advocacy and program support for more than 700 retailers and 300 business and commercial property owners. He deeply understands the challenges facing SMEs.

In 2014, Mr Haese successfully ran for the office of Lord Mayor of Adelaide where he successfully served a four-year term. As Lord Mayor, Martin delivered a number of key innovations to drive economic growth and investment attraction including Ten Gigabit Adelaide, Australia's fastest CBD based fibre optic data network.

Scott Lorson, Chief Executive Officer, Fetch TV

Scott LorsonMr Scott Lorson joined Fetch TV as its inaugural CEO in 2009, and has overseen the dramatic growth of Fetch TV from a start up with 6 employees, through its launch phase, to its current position as Australia's 2nd largest and fastest growing Pay TV platform.  Under Scott's leadership, Fetch TV has designed and built an industry leading multi-screen platform, formed distribution partnerships with 3 of the top 4 Australian ISPs, secured content from leading local and international players, created a challenger brand, and introduced a compelling consumer proposition that delivers 'All your Entertainment in one place.'

Scott has 18 years experience in senior roles of leading Australian telco and media organisations. Prior to joining Fetch TV, Scott worked for PBL Media where he served as CEO of Ticketek and later ACP magazines.  He also served as Managing Director for Optus's Consumer & Multi-Media (CMM) and Small and Medium Business (SMB) divisions. Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management.

Georgina Somerset, President, AgForce Queensland Farmers

Georgina SomersetMs Georgina Somerset is a rural industry leader and strategist with a background in regional development across Australia. Based in Queensland's South Burnett, she is actively involved in the operation of the family beef business.

She has board experience across the not-for-profit, government and industry sectors as General President of AgForce Queensland Farmers, a Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland section), the RFDS Foundation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and as Chair of the Red Earth Community Foundation South Burnett. She serves on advisory committees for regional development, tertiary institutions, industry and community groups, including the Australian Broadband Advisory Council.

Ms Somerset has served in a range of advisory councils, government review committees, and board roles including the National Rural Advisory Council, the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, and the National Foundation for Australian Women. Ms Somerset is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and the Institute for Resilient Regions.

Zareh Nalbandian, Chief Executive Officer & Producer Animal Logic.

Zareh NalbandianMr Zareh Nalbandian co-founded Animal Logic in 1991. Today, Animal Logic is recognised as one of the world's leading independent creative digital studios, producing award winning design, visual effects and animation for almost 30 years and currently employs more than 650 artists and technicians across Sydney, Vancouver and Los Angeles.

Mr Nalbandian was Executive Producer on Academy Award-winning 'Happy Feet', directed by George Miller; Producer on the animated adventure 'Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole', directed by Zack Snyder; Executive Producer on 'The LEGO® Movie' and 'The LEGO® Batman Movie'; and, most recently, Producer on the hybrid live action and animated movie 'Peter Rabbit'.

In 2017, Animal Logic joined forces with UTS to establish the UTS Animal Logic Academy, which offers an industry-led Master of Animation and Visualisation, as well as postgraduate research opportunities, and in 2018 Mr Nalbandian was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University.

Mr Nalbandian is the Deputy Chair of Ausfilm, a board member of the Sydney Film Festival and a member of the Producer's Guild of America, Visual Effects Society, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2017 he was named National Cinema Pioneer of the Year.

Terms of reference

The Council will provide advice and recommendations to the Minister on:

  • ways in which the NBN and 5G can be used to lift Australia's economic output and the welfare of Australians more generally
  • opportunities to increase the use of the NBN, 5G and other broadband networks, including by small and family businesses
  • barriers to using the NBN and 5G, including financial and cultural/behavioural issues and cost effective strategies to reduce such barriers
  • potential implementation, communication and outreach strategies
  • any other matters identified by the Minister, from time to time.

The function and scope of the Council is available from the complete set of the Terms of Reference.