A great move by the ABC to have a journalist of such calibre and experience take on the hosting role for Landline. From the press release:

Award-winning Brisbane-based journalist Pip Courtney will front Landline this year as well as continuing her long-standing role as one of its senior reporters.

ABC-TV’s Landline returns on Sunday February 5th on ABC1 with a new presenter and the award-winning team of reporters, camera crews, producers and editors who’ve been bringing rural and regional issues within the reach of all Australians for more than two decades. Landline’s consistently been the most-watched show in the ABC News Sunday schedule since its inception in 1991 and in recent years that popularity has extended to ABC Online and ABC iVIEW.

Pip Courtney’s in-depth analysis of the controversy over coal seam gas developments on prime farmland was judged the best television entry and the best broadcast story overall by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) at its 2011 conference, in Ontario, Canada. She also won the prize for Excellence in Rural Reporting at the MEAA’s 2011 Queensland Media Awards (The Clarions) and is a finalist for this year’s Queensland Rural Woman of the Year.

Pip dedicated the awards to her husband, John Bean who’d shot part of her award-winning stories. John was killed along with reporter Paul Lockyer and pilot Gary Ticehurst in a helicopter crash at Lake Eyre in South Australia last August while filming stories for Landline, 7.30 and ABC TV News.

Landline executive producer, Pete Lewis says while the programme – like Australian agriculture – had evolved and adapted to changing circumstances and technology over 21 years, it remained committed to covering the issues, events and characters at the heart of rural and regional communities.

“We’ve clocked up a lot of mileage – and not all of it on bitumen – to give people an insight into what makes the bush tick,’’ he said. “The Landline team’s experience and expertise has always been its point of difference and why it remains one of the ABC’s most popular and respected programmes.”

“Pip and the rest of the team has already the hit the road gathering stories for our 22nd season – which is designated the Australian Year of the Farmer,” Lewis said.

Kate Torney, director, ABC News said: “I’m delighted that Pip will be hosting Landline this year.
“She has worked on the program for almost as long as it’s been on-air, delivering the quality rural journalism Landline is renowned for. Pip has a genuine affinity with the bush and brings a unique style to her reporting of rural and regional issues. She has won a number of awards over the years and is a real asset to the team. We wish Pip all the best for 2012.”

Landline broadcasts each week on Sundays at noon and Mondays at 11am on ABC1, as well as online at www.abc.net.au/landline and on ABC iView www.abc.net.au/iview. You can also catch up with the stories behind the stories, on Landline’s blog The Overflow at blogs.abc.net.au/theoverflow/ and on twitter @abclandline.