Turnbull attacks 'spin and paper' NBN

Turnbull attacks 'spin and paper' NBN

Summary: Federal Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has rubbished the National Broadband Network (NBN) as "nothing more than a press release".


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.

Topics: Broadband, Government AU, NBN

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • The greatest wild west show on earth

    With a big cast ..All chiefs but no indians.

    Best of luck
  • Great judge.

    Turnbull is a great judge, his number 1, expert consulatnt has has gone bust.

    Next he'll endore Hel$tra and it will be 2 miserable failures from 2 attempts.

    Keep it up try hard Turnbull.
  • Poor old Libs

    *Yawn* Still trottting out the same empty comebacks. No actual substance as usual.

    Its time for the Libs to put foraward their alternate broadband policy if they want to be taken seriously. Until they can offer something better they dont even have as much as a press release.
  • Coming soon after the next election?

    Kevin07 has been feeding us BS about broadband
    since 2007. Forget it, it will never happen. No doubt he will repeat his 07 spiel in his campaign promises for the next election.
  • Re: Coming Soon...

    Do you think it would take less than 2 years to build a broadband network covering all of Australia? Give him more time, will you?

    As long as the government hires the professionals to build the network, and sack Conroy too in the process, the NBN should become a reality.
  • re re

    agreed. the other mob had 10 years or more and did 0. but their avid voters who still can't accept defeat want everything now from rudd?
  • re re re

    Well. Your arguement is where is the lib's option? a dream is NOT a plan it's a dream! numbers make a plan and we are still to see ANY. the libs launched their plan before the election! WiMAX. where is rudds? The rudd government just resorted to WiMAX as a stop gap... 10 years of paying labor's bills stops you from doing to much. Lets face it rudd didn't win Howard lost it! he should have been out when he was told! just because you beleive the spin doesn't mean anyone else should. When Rudd completes ONE of his list of comitments I'll be supprise... YES NOT ONE is ticked yet... where is his report card?
  • Krudd better not let us down.

    He's failed (lied?) on climate policy.
    He's failed (lied?) on hospital policy.
    He's failed (lied?) on water (Murray) policy.
    And so far yes this is not much more than a press release. They'll connect a few houses in Tassie next year, get on tv and tell us "see, we told you we'd build an NBN" then call the next election. He'll win, but THEN watch all the spin start!

    If you think the NSW Govt is on the nose due to all spin and no action, you ain't seen nothing yet!

    Go Greens. Libs are no better, they're just "Rich Labor".
  • Kevin Krudd

    Yeah, okay I don't see Turnbull as the greatest figurehead but its not the figure head that does the work, its the party and the people not on the media to my understanding. Frankly, all I see is Krudd and Labor wasting mountains of cash we dont have, for absolutely nothing.. eg. Conroy and NBN Mark 1, stimulus handout.. (im yet to talk to anyone that believes free cash is genuinely a good thing - especially when its borrowed cash), and now a fibre network. Fibre would be cool and all but i'd rather the country held onto its current assets eg. Brisbane port, as I think this is a bit more of a priority than my internet connection. Telstra is an absolute miscarriage but would be a lot cheaper to sort out that out and consolidate current assets than to give birth to another miscarriage. Sounds too good to be true? Then it probably is. This country wont see affordable fibre for eons, not with current 'management'. Keep working cause things are only going to get much more expensive and your pay rate is going to stay exactly the same guys. Good luck!
  • Turnbull

    Macolm Turnbull ought to get together with Megabuy because they both suck right toyally.
  • Turnbullcrapola

    Turnbull would be better off going back from whence he came.
  • Free competition Mr Rudd.

    I fear Australians could be about to see a great financial white elephant with Mr Rudd's NBN.

    His plan sounds fantastic ( and a vote buyer) but as with the cash splash, where the benefactors were the Chinese exporters, the losers will be the long suffering Australian taxpayer.

    Of course the snouts ( of Telstra opponents) will be in the trough with a sniff of the 43 billion on offer but the truth is that the NBN cannot be a success unless Telstra is seriously included.

    And please Mr Rudd don't even think of confiscation of Telstra assets or hijack of Telstra customers 'cos if you do the 1,400,000 Aussies who own Telstra will cut you to pieces at the next election. If not before.
  • Sydney - it's democracy stupid

    If 1400000 million shareholders (assuming they are all one-eyed extremists like you) are going to cost Rudd votes, then there are 19000000 others who are sick to death of telstra monopolism and greed that are going to be more likely to vote for him.
    How would a referendum go - "should the government be given power to structurally separate telstra?" - i's say a majority in all states and about 70% of the vote.
    The NBN should bypass telstra's "network" which is in a state of utter disrepair, apart from the few FTTP locations.
  • re re re re

    Yep. the plan was Wimax and could have been an economical and viable alternative. You Labor dolts scream about time and geography yet not one solitary hole has been dug. How long do we give Rudd? 2 years, 4 years, 6 years?
    If you work in any part corporate IT you would know poor infrastructure is costing Australia millions. These needs to be done now.

    Please, somebody, without the political crap, why would Wimax have been so bad?