A shorter version of the Government’s response would read - we will do as little as possible between now and 2020, and even then we’re still not sure.
This humdrum approach towards policy development is not conducive towards delivering optimal or timely outcomes.
It is telling that the Government has not commented directly on the 19 specific recommendations outlined in the PC report, instead opting to offer a restatement about the obvious trajectory of USO reform, dressed up with a new acronym – the ‘USG’ - to distract from its lack of work.
One has to question whether the Turnbull Government is purposefully delaying progress. Whilst Labor recognises any changes are complex, the significance of USO reform deserves a more serious approach.
The cooperation of policy makers, industry, NBNCo and stakeholders will be essential towards achieving a more flexible, relevant and efficient set of arrangements.
These arrangements should be transparent, creative and place the consumer at the centre – particularly given the potential for mobile infrastructure and the NBN to play a larger role.
To support the next phase, the Government should take steps to improve the availability and quality of information about the costs to deliver the USO, as well as the distribution of USO premises. This will ensure policy makers are positioned to make well-informed judgements about the costs and benefits of alternative options as part of any negotiations.
Stakeholders deserve clear direction about the next steps leading into the 2020 transitional period. We can’t afford another road to nowhere by a Government that needlessly kicks the can down the road.