Federal Labor has written to the Auditor-General, requesting an independent assessment of key assumptions underpinning the medium and long-term financials of the NBN.

In light of the scathing assessment by Standard & Poor’s about the long-term economics of Turnbull’s multi-technology mix, an independent assessment is appropriate.  

Given the scale of public investment in the NBN, it is important the Parliament and public have confidence the assumptions in the Corporate Plan have been subject to genuine independent scrutiny.

The ANAO assessment should examine key financial assumptions underpinning the long-term forecasts contained in the Corporate Plan, and whether the assumptions reflect the best information available to NBNCo, including the market insights, risk assessments and analysis.

We have asked the ANAO to undertake an urgent assurance review that includes a focus on several key areas:

  • Revenue forecasts out to 2040
  • Explicit and implicit market share forecasts out to 2040
  • Operating cost forecasts out to 2040
  • A comparison of how long-range assumptions have changed through successive Corporate Plans
  • The sensitivity of the business case to changes in these assumptions 

“The multi-technology mix has sold Australia short. It is $20 billion over budget, costs more to maintain, generates less revenue and is more exposed to wireless competition – all because Malcolm Turnbull abandoned the original fibre design for his own political gain,” Ms Rowland said.

“While the copper and HFC approach has blown out by $20 billion, countries such as New Zealand, the US and UK have slashed the deployment cost of fibre to the premises by between 40 and 50 per cent.”

Mr Chalmers said: “Turnbull and his Liberals have made a mess of the Budget by racking up record and growing debt at the same time as they’re gifting $17 billion to the big banks.

“The Liberals are exposing the Budget and taxpayers to significant risk through a potential write-down of the NBN, an outcome that many in the industry consider increasingly likely.”

Given Australians already have little faith in the Liberals’ multi-technology mess, they should at least be able to see how the NBN’s finances stack up.