'Reluctant' NBN Co execs summoned to Senate committee

A Labor and Greens dominated NBN senate committee will hold hearings over the next two days that will include appearances from 'reluctant' NBN Co executives.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

The newly established Senate Select Committee overseeing the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout will hold its first hearings over the next two days, with appearances from government departments, agencies and NBN Co executives who have been summoned to the hearing.

The committee — which was established earlier this month by Labor senator Kate Lundy and Greens senator Scott Ludlam to replace the joint parliamentary committee on the basis that the opposition and Greens would have more control over the committee — currently only has Labor and Greens senators on it: including Lundy, Ludlam, former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Tasmanian Labor senator Lin Thorp. 

Lundy, who is chairing the committee, said today that NBN Co executive chair, Ziggy Switkowski, NBN Co's head of strategy JB Rousselot, NBN Co's COO Greg Adcock, NBN Co's chief technology officer Gary McLaren, and its CFO Robin Payne were all called before the committee but were "reluctant to attend in person".

"It is with regret that we have had to issue this summons, given the public commitment the government has made to openness and transparency in all matters relating to the NBN," Lundy said.

The committee has now summoned the executives to appear on Friday. The last time this power was exercised by the parliament was when Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe were forced to appear before the IT pricing inquiry in February.

But the hearing will come just as NBN Co is preparing to submit its report from the 60-day strategic review to the government next week, which Switkowski described in a Senate Estimates hearing last week as a hard deadline for the review to be handed back to government but one that NBN Co was on target to meet.

The Department of Communications, the Department of Finance, the CEPU, and the ACMA are all scheduled to appear before the committee tomorrow.

An NBN Co spokesperson was not immediately available for comment at the time of writing.

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