Former public servant Fay Holthuyzen has won the highest honour bestowed by the Communications Alliance, for her work as a senior departmental executive and later in independent roles drafting consumer protections.
Holthuyzen’s work over the past decade has gone towards a co-regulation regime that is supposed to protect consumers from dodgy deals and unscrupulous business practices when they go to buy phones and internet connections.
In a tribute to her “sustained and meritorious contribution to Australian telecommunications policy, to industry co-regulation and the protection of Australian communications consumers” the broad-based industry group “installed” her as its Australian Communications Ambassador for 2019 on August 15.
“Fay was a senior an influential figure throughout the liberalisation phase of the Australian telecoms industry, in her role as deputy secretary of the federal Department of Communications,” said Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton.
“Just as importantly, Fay has, twice during the past decade, thrown herself into what is almost certainly the most demanding and complex role in the co-regulatory sphere — as independent chair of the working committees that have revised industry’s Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) Code.
“It is a daunting assignment, trying to pull together the views of consumer representatives, regulators, industry and the general public and create a consensus on how best to protect the interests of consumers, while retaining a workable commercial environment that promotes innovation, improved customer outcomes and ethical business practices.
“The task demands skilful navigation across a landscape that takes account of technical and business process issues as well as a vast array of vital human considerations, including the needs of vulnerable customers and less advantaged individuals throughout Australian society.
“During the two major revisions of the Code since 2011, Fay has shown masterful analytical and diplomatic skills — along with huge amounts of patience and perseverance — and has produced outstanding outcomes on both occasions.”