Govt may not release NBN study

Govt may not release NBN study

Summary: The Federal Government today said it wasn't yet sure whether it would publish the multimillion-dollar National Broadband implementation study currently being undertaken by consulting firms McKinsey and KPMG.

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The Federal Government today said it wasn't yet sure whether it would publish the multimillion-dollar National Broadband implementation study currently being undertaken by consulting firms McKinsey and KPMG.

In this year's budget, the government allocated $53 million towards consulting fees for the study, which will look at engineering, commercial and structural issues facing the builder of the network and is set to be delivered to the government by early next year.

However, answering a question from a Senate committee (of which Shadow Communications Minister Nick Minchin is a member) this afternoon, the new chief of the Department of Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy Peter Harris said the government hadn't yet considered whether the study will be published.

The government has previously declined to release several reports into the first NBN tender process, from an expert panel appointed to oversee the process and the Australian Communications and Media Authority, despite intense pressure from the Opposition to do so.

In the Senate hearing today, Minchin questioned Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley and Harris on what the relationship was between Quigley's current plan of action and the study.

Quigley is currently taking the lead role in negotiations with Telstra about any possible role of the company's infrastructure in the NBN, as well as talking to other telcos about currently acquiring their assets; moves which Minchin considered could be at odds with the plan.

Conroy clarified that Quigley had the sanction of the government to acquire telco assets if he could do so at the right price, even before the study was handed down in early 2010.

In general, during the hour-long hearing, Conroy himself intercepted quite a few questions directed at Quigley by the opposition, including on matters such as capital funding for the NBN and its pricing plans, while Quigley and Harris spoke relatively little.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government, Government AU

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15 comments
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  • Interesting times are here.

    Be very careful Senator Conroy when you put your foot on the sticky paper, events tend to get a little interesting.

    Best let everything out in the open for the Australian public to see as I am sure they will examine where every dollar is spent.
    anonymous
  • Interesting?

    Do you believe people really want to know where every dollar goes relating to hospitals, roads and schools too? We have elected reps to do this for us.

    Really these are much more important issues to the nation than the broadband network, as far as I'm concerned and I'm sure most people aren't that interested in the nitty gritty of any of them, as long as they have, when they need. So why would average people, not ICT related or stakeholders, care about the financials of the NBN?

    The only time people become interested is when they don't have a decent hospital, road or school and they force the government to do something.

    For example, we don't have a decent broadband network, thanks to Telstra resting on their laurels and plundering $b's each year from the existing network. So people have complained and now the government has been forced to do something about it.
    anonymous
  • Re: Interesting?

    Every single dollar of taxpayers monies should be itemized & published.

    Please stop bashing Telstra. Rudd had the previous option of Opel, of which he dumped. He then wanted to go the NBN alone, now he wants to steal Telstra's assets. What next?
    anonymous
  • No need for the govt to waste time and money publishing it

    when Wikileaks will do it for free...
    anonymous
  • Interesting missing the point

    You can bang on about who might be interested, the fact remains is that if even one taxpayer is interested, the information should be available...

    The arrogance of the current and former governments is, for the most part, a direct result of the apathy of Australians. Unless you hold them accountable, they will just become more secretive.
    anonymous
  • re Interesting?

    Are you for real. Of course we want to know where every dollar is spent. You certainly seem to be of the opinion that Telstra has ben "plundering $b's each year from the existing network, and people have complained" so why shouldn't this arrogant Government Minister show us where he is going to spend what he intends to plunder from Telstra's shareholders.
    anonymous
  • @RE:Interesting

    Rudd, with extreme pressure from a relentless Telstra campaign, dumped OPEL and was lauded by Telstra stakeholders and supporters, probably even you! Now you turn it around to suit today's agenda?

    So what's next, you ask?

    Well, maybe next, Telstra stakeholders will stop calling for ridiculous accountability, the likes of which Telstra would bluntly refuse and these same people would be hypocritically "arguing against" if roles were reversed. And..

    These same Telstra supporters may stop referring to constructive criticism about Telstra, as Telstra bashing. And..

    Pigs might fly!
    anonymous
  • @Interesting missing the point

    Speaking of missing the point, although I may not have made it overly clear, I agree we need accountability in governance. But my point was; Australians will not be concerned about the NBN finances, exclusively.

    The main (only?) people who are calling for NBN accountability are Telstra stakeholders and of course the opposition too. But the opposition are concerned about governance in general, not just the NBN.

    These Telstra stakeholders have never called for accountability in relation to roads, education, hospitals, but want the NBN finances gone over with a fine toothed comb, simply because Telstra are no longer in control...
    anonymous
  • If you have nothing to hide.....

    ...you should reveal the results.

    I smell a rat .........
    anonymous
  • re if...

    maybe your nose is just too close to your rotting shares
    anonymous
  • Back the Aussie.

    Don't write Telstra off Anon like all Aussies we punch above our weight and when things get tough we shine.
    A bit different to Telstra opponents when things get tough they WHINE.
    anonymous
  • ozie oy ay syd, meh.

    youve done more whine than the barossa syd!
    anonymous
  • The squeaking door gets the most oil.

    My Mum always taught me "whinge and win". She learnt it from Telstra opponents. lol.
    anonymous
  • funny, na

    you are funnier when you are trying to be serious syd.
    anonymous
  • not funny, na

    And you get sillier, every time you comment.
    anonymous