Build the NBN, don’t wreck it

Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare today called on the Abbott Government to build the National Broadband Network instead of wrecking it.

The Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network today tabled its interim report into the Government’s Strategic Review of the NBN. It concluded, interalia, that:

  • The assumptions of the Strategic Review are flawed and unreliable;
  • The Government should direct NBN Co to accelerate the Fibre-to-the-Premises rollout not stop it; and
  • NBN Co is not as transparent as Minister Turnbull has promised it would be.

Minister Turnbull said during Question Time in December 2013 that “we are being thoroughly transparent”.

Despite this he has denied the Committee’s request for in camera scrutiny of the unredacted Strategic Review, which includes the redacted assumptions that underpin the conclusions in the report.

“So much for transparency the Minister has decided that the full unredacted report should not be subject to the scrutiny of the Australian Parliament,” Mr Clare said.

In Parliament today Mr Clare said:

“The NBN is the biggest and most important infrastructure project in Australia and that its construction will help business.

The legislation we are debating here is supposed to be about helping business. That is what the NBN does; it is the engine that will help to create jobs, build companies, drive productivity and increase trade. To do that, we need to build infrastructure not just for the next five years or the next 10 years but for the decades to come—not the second-rate version of the NBN that this government is building.”

Before the election, the Liberal Party promised that every Australian would have access to the NBN by the end of 2016. After the election, they broke that promise. Actually, on election night The Herald Sun published a letter from Tony Abbott to the Australian people in which he said:

I want our NBN rolled out within three years and Malcolm Turnbull is the right person to make this happen.

Well, it is not happening. That has gone. The promise has been broken. The promise that everyone would have access to 25 megabits per second by the end of 2016 is now gone. It is a broken promise and the people of Australia were deceived.

“The Government should get on with building the NBN instead of wrecking it,” Mr Clare said.