Coalition Senators have attacked as ‘chaotic, shambolic and frantic’ the Rudd Labor Government’s approach to development of a National Broadband Network (NBN), Senator Simon Birmingham said today.
Coalition Senators today lodged additional comments to the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts Committee’s report into the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network) Bill 2008.
They express concern in relation to the very conduct of the committee’s inquiry; the effectiveness and nature of the Bill’s disclosure and safeguard provisions; and the general failings of policies and processes being applied in relation to the NBN’s development.
“The conduct of the inquiry in the shadow of the Request for Proposals led to reluctance from interested parties, such as companies considering lodging a proposal, to make submissions to the inquiry,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“We understand companies and other industry experts would nevertheless have been willing to provide evidence if called to do so, but this move was blocked by the Government’s numbers on the committee.”
After several years of attacking Coalition Senators over accountability and the conduct of Senate committees, along with countless promises from Labor’s leaders to adhere to higher standards of accountability and transparency, Coalition Senators are amazed at the breathtaking hypocrisy of the Government in blocking public hearings into the forced provision of such sensitive information by private companies and the investment of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds.         – Coalition Senators additional comments
“The Bill itself leaves more questions unanswered than it answers, and the Government’s needless haste further underlines its chaotic, shambolic and frantic approach.”
The development of the NBN is increasingly being criticised by telecommunications carriers, companies and commentators as a shambolic process driven by the Government’s desire to appear to be fulfilling its election promise as quickly as possible, regardless of the best approaches to regulation, structural reforms or the provision of public funds.                                  – Coalition Senators additional comments
“Failure to get these issues right won’t stand in the way of the Government delivering its election promise of an NBN, but it will mean inefficient use of $4.7 billion of taxpayer funds, with likely reduced competition and higher access costs leaving Australian businesses and families actually worse off.”
Note: The additional comments will be available in full on the Senate Committee’s website at or will be provided on request