Federal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has rubbished the National Broadband Network (NBN) as "nothing more than a press release".
Malcolm Turnbull (Credit: Malcolm Turnbull)
Speaking with media at Sydney University this weekend, Turnbull took a swipe at the government's handling of the NBN and said the project, so far, was just spin.
"The broadband plan of Mr Rudd is nothing more than a press release. All they have done is hire somebody for $2 million a year to try and work out whether what Mr Rudd promised can actually be delivered," said Turnbull.
That somebody, NBN chief executive Mike Quigley, is expected to make his first public comments on the NBN tomorrow via a conference in Queensland, while the report following the NBN Co's implementation study — expected to define what can be delivered — is due in early 2010.
Turbull's weekend attack reiterated the Opposition's preference for the Federal Government to apply a cost-benefit analysis to the NBN before determining its price tag. It also echoed calls from the finance sector for such an analysis to be conducted, which would be necessary to attract large-scale private investment.
"[Rudd] said it would be commercially viable. He said the private sector would invest in it and he encouraged mums and dads, as he said, to buy bonds in it. He did that without any business plan or without any financial analysis. So, so much for a rigorous cost-benefit analysis," Turnbull said.
Turnbull in May said the NBN was the "absolute peak, the ACME in economic recklessness and inconsistency".
His comments come just days after news that economist consultancy, Concept Economics, which he had commissioned in to develop a response to the government's Treasury-led review of Australia's taxation system, went bust. The company is now under administration. Concept's chairman, Henry Ergas, earlier this month released its own cost-benefit analysis of the NBN, which positioned the project as a likely waste of money.