Conroy said NBN will flunk financials: Libs

Conroy said NBN will flunk financials: Libs

Summary: In the second reading of his National Broadband Network (NBN) Transparency Bill in Parliament this morning, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull alleged that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told independent MPs it would be unlikely that the Productivity Commission would give the NBN a tick of approval.


In the second reading of his National Broadband Network (NBN) Transparency Bill in Parliament this morning, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull alleged that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told independent MPs it would be unlikely that the Productivity Commission would give the NBN a tick of approval.

Turnbull's private members Bill would require the $43 billion NBN project to be subjected to a "comprehensive cost-benefit analysis" by the Productivity Commission, to be completed before June 2011. Conroy has previously said the Bill is a tactic to delay the roll-out of the project and wouldn't be worthwhile; however, Turnbull said Conroy has other reasons for not agreeing to the scrutiny of the project.

"The case he's putting privately to independent members, mister speaker, is of course a very different one," Turnbull said. "What he's saying there is that the Productivity Commission will not give the NBN a tick. He says he knows the NBN does not stack up economically and it will fail the Productivity Commission's tests.

"There is a vital interest in us having real accountability on this project," he added.

Noting that the McKinsey implementation study had outlined the need for price increases in order for the government to make a return on its investment, Turnbull said that the digital divide wasn't about internet availability in metropolitan versus regional Australia but one based on income.

He quoted the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures that only 43 per cent of homes with an annual income of less than $40,000 had internet connections, while 95 per cent of those on incomes over $120,000 per year had internet connections at home.

"That's the digital divide — it's based on income, it's based on affordability, it's based on poverty," he said.

In making his case for the passing of the Bill, Turnbull also mentioned concerns raised yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) about the anti-competitive nature of the NBN. This was immediately dismissed by Labor.

"The day that I take advice from [the OECD, which] tells us we should increase the GST, will be a long day indeed," Labor MP Michelle Rowland said.

Shadow Regional Communications Minister Luke Hartsuyker and Liberal MP for Bradfield Paul Fletcher — referred to by Conroy as Turnbull's "shadow shadow communications minister" — both gave speeches welcoming the Bill's second reading in parliament today.

Debate is expected to be resumed on the Bill later today.

Conroy's office was contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of writing.

Topics: Broadband, Government, Government AU, NBN


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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
  • "The case he's putting privately to independent members, mister speaker, is of course a very different one,"

    Is this kindergarten ??? Or parliament... could fool me.

    Proof or STFU comes to mind.

    Well he said this... She said that. Well get one of the independents to stand up and back you up Malcolm.

    Ohh that is right your speaking from your behind... As normal/

    P.s Conroy sucks i hate him too. But geez. Now now kids play nice and do want the population want...... Not your retirement fund!!
  • I am not sure how Mr Conroy has formed an opinion about the NBN, he has not yet read the business case provided to him by NBN Co
    Blank Look
  • Neither have you and yet you bag it, hmm!

    But I take it we all should listen to the OECD now, they're good guys after all...LOL!!!
  • yes but i have not launched the largest capital project in the countries history without proper research
    Blank Look
  • No you haven't...

    But let's start with tying those shoe laces first and when you eventually get the hang of that, then you can become Lib leader and we'll progress from there, k?

    No comment about OECD, LOL?
  • (MR)?? Turnbulls Digital Divide figures need some working on, i am an aged pensioner with no other source of income, so according to him, i am below the poverty level , and cannot afford the ADSL2+ internet at 9 Mbs, i am currently enjoying , as are many other pensioners.

    Mr ?? Turnbulls rants are joy to perceive, as his knowledge of technology,and finance leave a world to be desired.
  • Malcolm, you've missed the boat. You're not going to get the productivity commission to look into it and I'm not going to read your same ol' same ol rants anymore.
  • Well it doesn't tick these boxes.

    "Part of the plan is to shut down the existing copper network and the country's main cable network," the report states. "While establishing a monopoly in this way would protect the viability of the government's investment project, it may not be optimal for cost efficiency and innovation."

    "Empirical studies have stressed the value of competition between technological platforms for the dissemination of broadband services. It would therefore be preferable to maintain competition between technologies in the broadband sector, and within each technology, between internet service providers."

    But then you get to choose what boxes need to be ticked eh? - then pretend everything is all ok with the OECD report.
  • Except that's not what he said, he quoted ABS figures on internet connections by income, which did not state that no one with a income less than $40k did not have a internet connection at all, the figure was 43%, you are obviously one of the 43%.

    You are reading what you want to see.
  • Congratulations a day later you actually read the OECD report... and that's the best you can do 9because the positives of the Oz economy and the NBN outweigh the negative by about 95/5...LOL!!!

    I wonder why the Libs (and their puppets - not quite so euphoric now...LOL) honed in on two small negatives and ignored the rest of the report?

    So here's a few things for the FUDsters who keep talking about wastage, we can't afford an NBN and governmental mismanagement -

    From the OECD summary...

    "The performance of the Australian economy has remained solid. It weathered the world financial and economic crisis better than most of the OECD and, indeed, avoided a recession".

    "The stimulus was wisely accompanied by a well-designed fiscal exit strategy"…."This gradual retrenchment plan is appropriate and should be carried out".

    "In contrast to many OECD countries, LOW PUBLIC DEBT and good growth prospects leave ample fiscal space to respond to future shocks".

    "In contrast to most other OECD countries, the short term outlook is favourable".

    "The risks associated with foreign indebtedness are currently well contained. Currency risks are negligible, as most of the country’s foreign liabilities are either in Australian dollars or hedged. Moreover, the high degree of resilience of the Australian economy over many years despite several external shocks including the recent crisis, suggests that the vulnerabilities are at this point easily manageable".

    "The proposed changes in resource taxation are welcome but should go further… The reform of the resource tax to capture excessive mining-sector rents is welcome…"

    AND of course…

    "Adequate and well-functioning infrastructure is a key ingredient to growth and wellbeing. The benefits to activity of efficient spending in energy, water, transport and communication sectors go well beyond their contribution to capital accumulation. Good infrastructure facilitates trade, bolsters market integration and competition, fosters the dissemination of ideas and innovations and enhances access to resources and public services. These benefits are particularly important for Australia because of its size, the geographical dispersion of its population and production centres, and its remoteness from other markets. Nevertheless, Australia has an important infrastructure deficit. This is in part due to under investment in the 1980s and 1990s, while the rebound in capital spending at the beginning of the 2000s has been insufficient to deal with capacity shortages exacerbated by the strong demand generated by the mining boom, expected population growth, technological progress and environmental concerns". {END}

    I wonder when Mal is going to highlight these positive OECD claims and as the OECD suggest, also the mining Tax and a bigger mining Tax...well?
  • Yes nice cut and paste of all the OECD verbage that hasn't anything to do with the NBN rollout, you thought if I make my post big enough most people won't read all the irrelevant guff anyway and I may just get away with it looking as if the OECD report was mainly about supporting the NBN rollout.

    Then there is classic piece of deception:

    "because the positives of the Oz economy and the NBN outweigh the negative by about 95/5...LOL!!!"

    You roll the NBN and the current performance of our economy into one, make some outlandish statement about the positives outweighing the negative by some fanciful ratio you pulled out of a hat, and that constitutes a well thought out argument?

    The 'LOL!!!' bit is at least right.
  • NO NO NO... The point being that OECD report is not just NBN related.

    The OECD doc. is about Australia's economy, it is not a doc dedicated to the NBN. The NBN is but a small part an add on. If there was no NBN there would still be an OECD doc... GOT IT?

    Rational human beings, would never, from this small part about the NBN, take two minute snippets therein and claim anything (especially after the OECD have lauded the Aussie economic positives in general and the NBN positives). Rationla humans without a financial or political agenda certainly would never then claim, doom and gloom, as Mal and you puppets disgracefully did yesterday.

    You need to take into account the "entire doc", of which I summarised many paragraphs (economy, infrastructure, debt, mining, GFC, exit strategy etc) not just your two FUD lines, from within two small clauses, which vaguley support your ridiculous claims!

    That is more commonly known as... you guessed it FUD!

    LOL indeed...!
  • So again advocate when is Mal (and you for that matter) going to comment about all these positives from the OECD doc, now that you have finally said we should heed their advice...

    Oh, we should only listen to those two small snippets from within two paragraphs of their entire doc, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Purely as a matter of interest RS, how do you rate Conroy on a scale of 1 - 10 with the way he is handling all things NBN. I listened to him today on National Radio, and he sounded like a raving lunatic ! As I said purely as a matter of interest. After all, we all know that you are the one that should be there, doing what he has been elected to do !
  • This discussion is about the NBN aspects of the OECD report, not your wild and totally inaccurate 'opinion' that it is a 95/5 positive about the NBN, I can make a intelligent guess where you pulled that figure from.

    The sole basis of that fanciful ratio prediction is based on the phrase the 'NBN has the potential to be beneficial', the OECD is more specific when it comes to the lack of infrastructure competition under the NBN.

    But hey you only see what you want to see I guess, add some spin to it and a fair dose of smoke & mirrors - you and Conroy would get on well.