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Shadow Comms minister hits out at what he claims is the ‘blowout’ of the NBN as it announced a $4.6bn increase in costs.

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Turnbull’s latest blowup over NBN ‘blowout’

Malcolm Turnbull released a statement to the press today, following the release of the NBN Corporate Plan 2012-15:

“Labor’s National Broadband Network is falling disastrously behind every benchmark the Government has set for it except one – the amount of taxpayers’ money being spent.”

Senator Conroy today released a revised NBN 2012 Corporate Plan showing costs are higher and NBN Co needs more investment from the Commonwealth than previously stated – yet the NBN fibre network is now projected to reach only one in four of the 1.3 million households the previous 2010 Corporate Plan estimated would be able to connect to the network by mid-2013.

Labor’s original plan for the NBN in 2007 promised only $4.7 billion of taxpayers’ funds would be needed to finish it.  Today’s forecasts show the operating and capital costs of the NBN from now to 2021 have blown out by $4.6 billion in the past two years alone.

Even more insulting to taxpayers is the forecast that while NBN Co is yet to meet a single one of its targets, the budget for ‘indirect’ operating expenses – primarily staff costs – has more than doubled, from $3.7 billion to $7.8 billion.

NBN Co may not be able to put together a budget or roll out a network, but it knows how to take care of itself.

Since the NBN switched its first customer onto the network in June 2010, it has been connecting customers to the fibre network at an average rate of about 6 per day.  But to meet its target this will have to increase by more than one thousand fold to around 6000 per day by 2016.

Senator Conroy admitted that the original 2010 Corporate Plan should no longer be taken seriously – due to policies imposed on the NBN and decisions taken by the NBN.

 

And yet, we are to believe that if re-elected, Labor’s project will perform even better than originally thought.

It’s time Senator Conroy had a serious conversation with the Australian public and admitted that houses needing broadband upgrades the most have not been prioritised.

The NBN needs to be directed to be given a definitive budget that it must stick to.

And the Productivity Commission should be asked to conduct a thorough cost benefit analysis to assess the most efficient means of upgrading Australians’ broadband as quickly as possible.

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