Another report from Malcolm’s mates = another broken promise

In a shocking surprise, the $2 million cost-benefit analysis commissioned by Malcolm Turnbull, written by former staff of Malcolm Turnbull and former advisers to Malcolm Turnbull has concluded…that Malcolm Turnbull is right!

In Opposition, Mr Turnbull promised an independent cost benefit analysis. Three weeks before the 2013 election he promised that Infrastructure Australia would do this work:

“We are going to do a rigorous analysis, we will get Infrastructure Australia to do an independent cost benefit analysis.”

Interview with Allie Coyne, IT news, 16 August 2013

Like many of his pre-election commitments on the NBN, Mr Turnbull has broken this promise.

Instead of appointing Infrastructure Australia to do the cost benefit analysis, he has hand-picked former staff and some of the most vociferous critics of the NBN.

This includes well known critics of the NBN Henry Ergas and Kevin Morgan, former adviser to Malcolm Turnbull Alex Robson and former Liberal Party staffer David Kennedy.

This is not the independent cost benefit analysis by Infrastructure Australia that Malcolm Turnbull promised. Obviously Infrastructure Australia was too independent for him.

He has hand-picked people that he knows will give him the answer he wants.

Three months ago the Minister directed NBN Co to implement the Coalition’s second rate NBN policy. This was either an enormous risk or he knew what this report was going to say.

This cost benefit analysis is not independent. It is also flawed. The cost to taxpayers of Labor’s NBN and the Coalition’s second rate NBN is very similar. However the difference in benefits is significant.

Last year’s budget showed that Labor would allocate $30.4 billion in government equity to build the NBN. This year’s budget showed that the Liberal Party will allocate $29.5 billion.

In other words there is less than a billion dollars difference in taxpayer investment between Labor’s NBN and the Coalition’s second rate NBN.

Under both models the NBN will deliver a return on this investment to taxpayers.

The real difference is what the people of Australia will get. Under Labor they would have the real NBN, fibre to the premises, a game-changing project that would change the way we live and change the way we work. Under this government, only 24 per cent of Australia will get fibre to the premises. The rest of Australia will miss out. They will get a second-rate NBN from a third-rate government.

NBN Co has not yet gained access to the copper or HFC networks and the cost of operating, maintaining and enhancing this network has not been revealed.

It is now more than eleven months since Minister Turnbull was sworn in.

In that time, he has sacked NBN Co board members and management, appointed his mates to the board and key management positions, launched six politically-motivated reviews into the NBN, and broken a series of key election promises.

For the last 11 months all we have had from the Government on the NBN is political payback and recriminations, broken promises, excuses and delays.

The NBN is being rolled out slower now than it was before the election.

In the 10 weeks prior to the election, the NBN rollout was passing an average of 4,290 brownfields premises per week. During the last 10 weeks, that average has plummeted to only 3,631 premises per week.

Malcolm Turnbull now has 6 reviews and no excuses.

The NBN is now his responsibility. The mistakes that are made will be his mistakes and he will be judged on them.