Minchin may stall NBN legislation

Shadow Minister for Communications, Nick Minchin, late yesterday threatened to hold up legislation required for the National Broadband Network roll-out unless the Labor party releases the initial NBN expert report.

Shadow Communications Minister Nick Minchin late yesterday threatened to hold up legislation required for the National Broadband Network roll-out unless the Labor party released the initial NBN expert report.

Minchin yesterday accused Communications Minister Stephen Conroy of being in contempt of the Senate for not producing the NBN expert panels' report covering the initial $4.7 billion plan, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's report on the NBN proposals to the NBN Panel of Experts.

The Shadow Minister handed Conroy an ultimatum of 6:50pm yesterday to table the reports, threatening that unless they were revealed, consideration of any legislation relating to the new $43 billion NBN proposal would be postponed.

Conroy has maintained the stance that the government cannot release the documents due to commercially sensitive information it contained, likely relating to network infrastructure belonging to telco giants like Telstra and Optus.

"The government cannot and will not comply with this irresponsible ultimatum," Conroy said in a statement. "The Opposition continues to seek to opportunistically delay the roll-out of high-speed broadband to support Australia's future businesses and services, despite endorsing investment in economic infrastructure."

"The release of this commercially sensitive information by the government would be irresponsible," Conroy said. "Senator Minchin's behaviour is grossly irresponsible." Furthermore, Conroy added, Minchin's demands were hypocritical given he had withheld similar reports while in government during the Howard administration.