NSW Commmerce Minister Paul Lynch today announced plans to appoint a "coordinator" to "cut red tape" and oversee negotiations for an accelerated roll-out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in the state.
The coordinator would be the one go-to point for NBN Co, negotiating access to NSW government-owned infrastructure (such as power poles, microwave towers and bridges) for the network's build. NBN Co had told the government that access to such infrastructure will speed up the roll-out of the network.
Legislation entered into NSW Parliament today proscribed that a dedicated position be formed which would have the power to act on behalf of the state.
By having one specific person, supported by an existing NSW NBN Taskforce, the state would have a whole-of-government approach to negotiations, which have to deal with issues such as liability, insurance cover, contract termination provisions and occupational health and safety obligations.
"This approach will allow the assets owners to focus on their business while helping to accelerate the NBN roll-out in NSW, with all the job creation and broader economic benefits that an early roll-out will deliver," Lynch said in a statement.
According to the government, NBN Co has already agreed to use energy infrastructure to roll out fibre in Armidale and Kiama Downs/Minnamurra. The negotiations for access had been carried out by the Federal Department of Services, Technology and Administration.
The NBN Taskforce will continue to push NSW's case to the NBN Co.
"The Taskforce will continue its work in a range of areas including negotiating an early broadband roll-out for priority areas in NSW with NBN Co, identifying industry skills and training needs to support the roll-out, and running broadband technology trials," Lynch said.
The coordinator would have his job until the NBN is built.