Australian Cabinet to consider NBN Co resignations

Australian Cabinet to consider NBN Co resignations

Summary: As the Coalition blames the NBN Co's board for delays and budget issues, Labor says its opposition had undermined the board.


The Australian Cabinet is expected to consider the resignations of most of the board of NBN Co ahead of a review of the Labor government's broadband plans.

NBN Co chairwoman Siobhan McKenna and all but one of her board colleagues have offered their resignations to new Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

It is understood that the resignations will be considered at a meeting of the federal cabinet as early as next Tuesday.

The NBN Co website makes no mention of the resignations, but states: "This website is currently under review, pending the introduction of new government policy."

An experienced media and telecommunications adviser, McKenna has only been in the chair since March.

A spokesman for NBN Co told AAP on Monday: "We have no comment."

The Abbott government has flagged at least three examinations into broadband: An independent audit of NBN Co's books, a review of its commercial progress, and a Productivity Commission inquiry into broadband policy.

The Liberal-National government wants to cut down the cost and speed up the rollout of a National Broadband Network by changing from a fibre-to-the-premises model to a fibre-to-the-node version.

The Coalition has blamed the board and executive team for massive cost blowouts, timetable delays, and contractors losing money.

But Labor leadership candidate Bill Shorten said that the Coalition has undermined the NBN Co board to date, and would seek to replace the board with a group made up of friends of the Coalition.

NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley, who sits on the board, announced his retirement in July, but remains in the job during the transition.

Former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski had previously been flagged as a possible replacement for Quigley.

Liberal frontbencher Mitch Fifield said the government would ensure there is "good and appropriate governance" of the NBN.

Fifield said the Abbott government supports the NBN.

"All political parties are for a National Broadband Network — that is not what is in debate here," he said.

"What we are going to do which is different is roll out the NBN faster, but we are not going to mandate that every single house has to have the same connection at the same speed.

"We will provide for fast speeds, speeds that are adequate for people's needs."

Josh Taylor contributed to this article.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Australia

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • This will be interesting :-)

    Also someone should remind Mitch Fifield that the NBN (the proper one) would allow people to connect at any speed they choose unlike their own gimped version which forces a speed based on distance from a node and condition of copper. Someone should also tell him that his gimped of the NBN wont provide fast upload speeds and in many cases wont be adequate.
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • Not really

      Someone should remind Hubert Cumberdale that under Turbull's plan, people can still connect at any speed they choose, the only difference is that residential and business users will need to pay for fibre if they don't get it by default.

      They should also tell him that upload speeds can similarly be the same if residential and business users choose to pay for it.
      Fred Fredrickson
      • Yes really, pay attention please

        Talking about FttN here. Upload speeds so dismal they don't dare mention it anywhere. Only one speed option available: Dirt slow. Want adequate speeds? Shell out for FoD because the coalition clowns are lazy bludgers, dont want to do the hard work for a proper FttP network and only know how to build a substandard network.

        Thanks for confirming FttN wont be up the task though. That is why FoD is needed after all isn't it. This is where Optus agrees with NBNcos funding model so no points for you at all I'm afraid.
        Hubert Cumberdale
  • Ziggy? F No!

    Please gods do not let anyone who has or has had any ties to Telstra, however remotely run NBNCo. Amen.
  • We Will Provide.

    "We will provide for fast speeds, speeds that are adequate for people's needs."
    However you'll need to pay up to $5K to replace Telstra's rotting copper connection at your own expense.
    Else due to FTTN's likely financing model, pay at least double your present ADSL monthly charges for "Up To" 25Mbps off peak downloads & forget all about using "The Cloud" on your pathetic upload speeds.