NBN Motion

This motion is very timely.

Because two weeks ago the Government released the 2016 NBN Corporate Plan.

And it reveals a massive blowout in the cost of the National Broadband Network – a $26.5 billion blowout.

The cost of the Abbott Government’s second rate version of the NBN has gone from $29.5 billion to $56 billion.

In other words it has almost doubled.

Today is the second anniversary of the election of the Abbott Government – and they have got no one else to blame for this mess but themselves.

This has happened because they got their assumptions wrong and because they seriously underestimated how difficult it would be to switch from building a world class network using fibre, to one using copper and HFC.

  • The negotiations with Telstra to buy back the old copper network were supposed to be finalised by June last year – but they were only finalised in June this year.  It took a year longer than expected.
  • As a result the fibre-to-the-node network is now at least a year behind schedule.  The Minister for Communications promised it would be rolling out at scale a year ago.  And it still isn’t.
  • The HFC network is also way behind schedule.  We were promised that 2.61 million homes would be connected to the NBN via HFC by the end of next year.  The Corporate Plan now reveals they will hit less than a third of this target.

These mistakes are based on this document (their election policy) and this (the much vaunted Strategic Review).

What we now know is both were hopelessly wrong.

  • The first document (their election policy) said the Coalition would build the NBN for $29.5 billion. When this policy was released the Minister said the assumptions he’d made were “conservative”.  He was wrong.
  • In the second document (the Strategic Review) this $29.5 billion promise blew out by $15 billion to $41 billion dollars. And I remember when this report came out the Minister said this figure $41 billion was based on the “most thorough and objective analysis of the NBN ever provided to Australians” and he said and that these costings were again “conservative and achievable”

He was wrong again.

The cost of their NBN is not $29.5 billion.  It’s not 41 billion.  It’s now blown out to up to $56 billion dollars.

So much for the great economic management of the Liberal Party.  They have doubled the deficit, and now they have almost doubled the cost of the NBN.

But it’s not just the cost of their second rate NBN they have doubled.  It’s also the time they promised it would take to build.

As I mention earlier, today is the second anniversary of the election of the Abbott Government.

That night, two years ago, as Tony Abbott celebrated victory he issued a public letter to the people of Australia, thanking them for their support and telling them what he would do.

In that letter he this: “I want our NBN delivered within three years and Malcolm Turnbull is the right person to make this happen”.

Three years!  Well that’s not going to happen.  It’s not going to be finished next year.  According to the Corporate Plan it won’t be finished until at least 2020.  And that will requires a massive increase in the speed of the rollout.

So instead of three years it will take seven years – or more than double what the Prime Minister promised on election night. Two years ago.

This Government has been very critical of the former Labor Government on the NBN.  Well know they are responsible.  They should be held accountable for the promises they made and the mistakes they have made.

Not only are they building a second rate NBN – but it is going to cost almost double what they promised and take more than twice as long to build as they promised.

No wonder people are starting to call the NBN – the National Blowout Network.

And no wonder the people of Australia are so disappointed in this hopeless, hapless, divided, backward looking Government.