Critical.
Authoritative.
Strategic.
Subscribe to CIO Magazine »

NBN oversight falls victim to partisanship

A parliamentary committee into the NBN has made eight recommendations in a report, including providing greater transparency from NBN Co around audited financial statements.

Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has lambasted the Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network (JCNBN) for becoming more about party politics than about the roll out of the NBN.

Oakeshott, chair of the committee, wrote in its fourth report [PDF] that the role of parliamentary committees is to leave party politics at the door.

However, he wrote it was a concerning trend “where sensitivities of our oversight work as compared to political party election platforms has made the work of the committee much more difficult than it need be.

“In my view, this is an early warning sign that the topic of higher speed broadband technology is likely to feature strongly in political debate throughout 2013, an election year.”

Oakeshott said the committee was becoming stuck on “policy dispute” about which technology was the most appropriate for the NBN roll out.

“Despite the opportunities to report and provide oversight on a number of important aspects of the current roll-out, there is every chance the next report will be nothing more than a compendium of political statements and election promises,” he said.

“If this is all we can produce, I could write it now, and it makes the entire committee process worthless and a waste of time for all involved.”

Committee recommendations

The JCNBN made eight recommendations in its report, among them calls for greater transparency from NBN Co, with the committee asking for performance indicators on business plan targets and actual results of the rollout progress every six months.

The JCNBN has also suggested private equity interest in the network should be explored at an earlier date – in its 2012-15 corporate plan, NBN Co said around $13.7 billion in funding would come from peak debt, with NBN Co’s initial corporate plan indicating additional debt funding would “involve private sector investment”.

Oakeshott previously told Computerworld Australia there was interest from domestic and international companies investing in the NBN but the private sector was reluctant to invest too early.

Other recommendations from the JCNBN report include requirements for NBN Co to provide annual statements on where workforce demand and training was needed for the NBN.

The JCNBN also cautioned the federal government on ensuring the NBN remained affordable to all Australians.

Dissenting report

The Coalition has used a dissenting statement in the parliamentary report to slam the federal government’s handling of the NBN rollout.

Malcolm Turnbull, Shadow Communications Minister, said the project is a “black box”, with Turnbull calling for greater transparency around rollout data, capital expenditure and take-up rates.

He also reiterated his call for a cost benefit analysis of the NBN to provide details on construction costs, revenue and any implications for end user prices based on NBN Co’s current SAU, which freezes wholesale prices of NBN products for five years.

The JCNBN is required to report to parliament every six months “until the NBN is complete and operational”.

Oakeshott challenged committee members to prove that the committee could provide valid commentary and recommendations on advancing the NBN policy.

“Somewhat naively, I live in hope!” he said.

JCNBN hearings

NBN Co downgrades construction targets

NBN Co still working out how to connect apartments to the NBN

NBN delay is NBN Co's fault, not ours: ACCC

Parliamentary report: NBN Co should prioritise funding models

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

More about: ACCC
References show all
Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: Malcolm Turnbull, nbn co, Rob Oakeshott, National Broadband Network (NBN), Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network (JCNBN)
Latest Blog Posts
Whitepapers
  • How Flash Storage Changes Everything
    Pure Storage set out with a simple mission: to create a purpose-built storage array that overcomes these barriers. The result is the Pure Storage FlashArray and its tightly-coupled software, the Purity Operating Environment. When compared to a disk array, the FlashArray is: - 10X faster (on both IOPS and latency); - 10X more efficient in power, space, and cooling; - More reliable on enterprise workloads; - So simple that it installs in minutes; and - Less costly than the $5 per GB that is the going rate for performance disk.
    Learn more »
  • The THREE Pillars of High Availability Storage
    Without high-availability storage, you don’t actually have anything – so for a storage system to deliver high availability, system architecture needs to handle component failure as well as service upgrades. This webcast presentation discusses the importance of high-availability to organisations, and how to make sure you can access your data whenever you need it. By using Pure Storage system architecture, along with infiniband as a stateless controller, viewers will learn how Pure Storage meet their philosophy of a “non-disruptive everything”.
    Learn more »
  • Information Management
    Valuable data can be a needle in a haystack, but by leveraging the value in existing information assets, organisations can generate real and achievable gains in revenue generation, IT investments and productivity gains. This whitepaper discusses how Information Management (IM) is a multi-faceted discipline that can be employed to meet or exceed your business objectives.
    Learn more »
All whitepapers
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to Invitation only events CIO, reports & analysis.
Latest Jobs
Salary Calculator

Supplied by

View the full Peoplebank ICT Salary & Employment Index

Recent comments

Computerworld
ARN
Techworld
CMO