Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy today denied that McKinsey & Co's role in the National Broadband Network (NBN) implementation study, as well as three former partners on the NBN Co board, amounted to a conspiracy.
"There was one IT blog that thought there was a conspiracy because McKinsey was doing [the implementation study] and was employed by NBN Co," said Conroy. "Can I just say that the lead advisor is employed by my department, not by NBN Co."
The minister made his comments standing next to NBN Co's chief Mike Quigley, as the two announced the first five mainland towns selected for "live trials" as part of the NBN build.
"There was a conspiracy kicked around there for a while that McKinsey was taking over the world. McKinsey is not employed by NBN Co, and was never employed by NBN Co. They were employed by my department to give us a report," Conroy said, clarifying that it was actually the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy which had entered into an agreement with the consultant.
Conroy had announced on 6 August the appointment of two former McKinsey partners as directors of the NBN Co, and on the same day announced that McKinsey, along with KPMG, had won the lead advisor role for its NBN implementation study.
In December last year, Conroy also announced that a third former McKinsey partner, Clem Doherty, had been appointed to NBN Co's board.
The NBN Co also appointed Christy Boyce, former McKinsey principal consultant, as its head of industry engagement.
Conroy said he was still waiting to receive the report by KPMG and McKinsey, which was due at the end of February.
"We haven't actually received it yet," said Conroy. "We're expecting it very shortly."