NBN Senate committee examines draft law

Summary:The Senate Select committee on the National Broadband Network has decided to hold up to three more hearings to deal with issues raised by recently released draft exposure legislation.

The Senate Select committee on the National Broadband Network has decided to hold up to three more hearings to deal with issues raised by recently released draft exposure legislation.

Committee chair Ian MacDonald confirmed that the committee's scope had been broadened to include consideration of the exposure draft legislation for the National Broadband Network. Submissions on the matter can be handed in on until 30 March.

The committee will look into how the government plans to bring private investors into the company structure and will also try to gain some clarity on the issue of the NBN Co selling retail services. "We want to clarify the issue over whether the NBN is going to be a wholesale-only company," he said.

"The committee may well recommend in its final report that the draft [NBN legislation] be altered to make it clear that the NBN Co cannot be operated in a retail way," he said.

The committee reporting date may be moved back a few days from 30 April where it was moved last November so that the committee could deal with the implementation study which Communications Minister Stephen received on 5 March.

MacDonald thought it was unlikely the minister would release the implementation study, despite a move by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam to force its release yesterday. Ludlam demanded that Conroy table the study's report by 17 March; however, he too was not confident that Conroy would, which would leave the Senate in a deadlock over the issue.

MacDonald told ZDNet.com.au that if Conroy did not give the Senate Select committee the study, the committee would go after the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy. "If we get [no documents], then it will just be a one-day hearing where we go into it with the department," he said.

Topics: NBN, Broadband

About

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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