Turnbull to force NBN analysis via Bill

Turnbull to force NBN analysis via Bill

Summary: Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today revealed that he had garnered coalition support for a private member's Bill that would force Labor to disclose key financial details of its flagship National Broadband Network project and conduct a cost-benefit analysis into its construction.

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Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull today revealed that he had garnered coalition support for a private member's Bill that would force Labor to disclose key financial details of its flagship National Broadband Network project and conduct a cost-benefit analysis into its construction.

Malcom Turnbull

Malcom Turnbull (Credit: Malcom Turnbull's Office)

A statement issued by Turnbull's office this afternoon said that the National Broadband Network Financial Transparency Bill (2010) would require NBN Co to produce and publish a detailed, 10-year business plan for the $43 billion project, including key financial and operational indicators.

"It also requires the Productivity Commission to conduct a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of the NBN and report back to Parliament by 31 May 2011," said Turnbull's statement.

According to the Bill, the Productivity Commission would be required to analyse the current availability of broadband across Australia (including identifying areas where services are of a lower standard or a higher price than in capital cities) and consider the most cost-effective and speediest options by which all Australians could receive fast broadband.

In addition, the commission would need to analyse the economic, productivity and social benefits likely to flow from better broadband, and the applications that would be likely to be used. A "full and transparent economic and financial assessment" would also be conducted into the NBN.

Turnbull has proposed that a Joint Select Committee be established from both houses of parliament to oversee the NBN roll-out — including government, opposition and cross-bench MPs and senators.

"The Coalition will be seeking government and cross-bench support for the Private Member's Bill and Motion in both houses," said Turnbull's statement.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that there was a detailed financial analysis in McKinsey and KPMG's $25 million Implementation Study and that NBN Co was due to submit its business plan to government, which he said would be released publicly.

"[The Implementation Study] found that the $43 billion total capital cost is a conservative estimate and there are opportunities to significantly reduce the build cost," Conroy said in a statement. "The Heads of Agreement between NBN Co and Telstra will also reduce the cost of the build by billions.

He added that the study had said that government investment would peak at $26 billion.

"Australians have already had to wait 12 years for action while the former Howard Government did nothing to improve broadband services across the country, they don't deserve to put up with further delays."

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, NBN

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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3 comments
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  • "consider the most cost-effective and speediest options"
    So this idiot stilll doesn't know that answer after 12 years of all talk no action under Howard?
    Or another ploy to stall & increase the cost?
    grump3
  • Grump3, not quite right, afterall most have access to broadband today and at reasonable speeds. What we have today did not cost the taxpayer $B's
    Blank Look
  • Umm yes it did cost the taxpayer $Bs, then it was sold!

    Remember Telstra and their government funded PSTN with last mile monopoly (still being used)...? How quickly we forget!

    What we have today in relation to broadband, is on its last legs and doesn't cover everyone (even those in cities on RIMs). It originally cost us all and continued to cost us, while Telstra kept prices high (which of course suited their wholesalers too).

    That was, until the NBN was announced and they knew the party was over, then and only then did real discounting begin.

    Which explains why there are still those in IT who argue against the NBN as it will affect their own finances... and here they come about... now!
    RS-ef540