MEDIA RELEASE - THE NBN CANNOT SURVIVE ANOTHER THREE YEARS UNDER THE LIBERALS - 31 AUGUST 2018

Joint with Jim Chalmers MP, Shadow Minister for Finance.

The Liberals’ second-rate NBN is on life support, with today’s $2 billion NBN cost blowout nothing short of a disaster.

The Liberals’ $51 billion multi-technology mess is now $22 billion over budget and four years behind schedule compared to what they promised to deliver.
 
Among the key failures revealed in the 2019 NBN Corporate Plan:
 

  • $2.1 billion cost blowout for the NBN;
  • Rollout delays to 1.3 million homes over the next twelve months;
  • $700 million in lost revenue as a result of the HFC rollout halt;
  • $500 million increase in the cost to deploy HFC; and
  • The copper footprint will expand by a further 100,000 premises.

 
The scale of these failures raises serious questions over Mathias Cormann’s judgement and whether Mitch Fifield should continue in the Communications portfolio at all.
 
Since taking over the portfolio, Minister Fifield has not taken his responsibilities seriously, which at key junctures has bordered on wilful ignorance.
 
Fifield’s HFC debacle must be subject to forensic examination given the shareholder governance failures at play.
 
The Liberals’ NBN failures have significant consequences, including:

  1. Consumers are paying more for less;
  2. Taxpayers and the federal budget are more exposed;
  3. NBN has less revenue to fund future upgrades; and
  4. The broken long-term economics are placing pressure on NBNCo to increase prices in unfair ways.

The unfair price hikes were on full display when NBNCo attempted to charge regional fixed-wireless users $20 more per month than city users on the same speed.
 
This is nothing short of a shambles and it is clear the NBN cannot afford another three years of this incompetent and divided Government.