SUBJECTS: NBN Corporate Plan results

MICHELLE ROWLAND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: One thing is clear, from the NBN Corporate Plan released today, and that is the National Broadband Network is on life support. It cannot survive another term of this moribund Coalition Government. A few other things have also become clear. The first is we know that there is a $2 billion cost blowout in NBN. We were told that it was going to be delivered by the Liberals for $29.5 billion. That went up to $49 billion. And today, we have found out that has gone up yet again to $51 billion.

We were told, and Australians were led to believe, that the NBN was going to be delivered sooner. And we know from today’s corporate plan there are some 1.3 million premises who will be delayed this year. We have also seen the debacle of the HFC brought into the spotlight. We now know that the cost of HFC deployment has increased by more than half, and at the same time around the world, we know that the cost of fibre deployment has decreased by about that amount.

We have also learnt that the cost of the pause to the HFC network, which Labor said from the start would not be achieved and would not work, the combination of this is around $1 billion. That’s $1 billion attributable to this Communications Minister being so irresponsible, so out-of-touch and so inept at handling his portfolio, that it is Australian taxpayers who are bearing the cost and consumers who are suffering as a result of this second-rate network.

We know that the ultimate root of all these problem lies with the multi-technology mix that continues to be pursued by this government. The NBN is on life support. It cannot survive another term of this Liberal Government, and a Minister whose ability to manage this portfolio and whose tenure should seriously be questioned by all Australians. He is so completely detached from the needs of consumers, so reliant on spin, and yet so unwilling to take responsibility for this project, that he should seriously consider his position in this role.