Speaking before the Joint Standing Committee in August 2017, the NBN CEO had this to say about an NBN write-down:
“We believe there is a lot of value to be gained by the capital spend. There is no write-off plan. I'm not sure why people speak about that, but we don't have any plans for any write-offs. There is no reason to do so.”
What a difference two months and a 160 per cent surge in complaints makes.
In a striking change of tone, Mr Morrow has today conceded the multi-technology mix may not be commercially viable:
“The government has two options: to regulate to protect this model, or to realise that the NBN won't have the finances it thought and might require some off-budget monies to go in to make it happen."
Mr Morrow was then asked on ABC radio whether a write-down was now needed:
“No, not at this point in time Fran.”
It is remarkable that amidst the panic engulfing the NBN spin machine, the company has been forced to openly ask for regulatory protections against mobile competition in the form of new taxes and levies.
This is a concerning plea for help from a CEO who is under immense pressure and has been abandoned by Turnbull.
Labor calls on the Government to immediately endorse Recommendation 2 of the NBN Joint Standing Committee which sought an independent audit of the assumptions underpinning the financial forecasts contained in the 2018 NBN Corporate Plan
The Australian public deserves to know whether the multi-technology mix can stand on its own two feet.
If today’s comments are any guide, the NBN CEO is not so sure.