Here's some of today's report in The Australian.
In a devastating critique into the formation of Australia’s biggest infrastructure projects, former Productivity Commission head Bill Scales has found the NBN Co set up to develop the high-speed internet network was given a job that only a “well-functioning, large and established” telecommunications company could do under the tight timetables for the rollout. For a start-up, it was an “impossible assignment”.
Mr Scales said he was told that some of those involved in the first 12 months of the NBN Co were “making it up as they went”, while others related a “salutary anecdote” that, in the early days of NBN Co, ‘‘all we had (to guide us) was the press release and a bunch of business cards”.
In a move that will reignite political debate over the NBN, the Coalition late yesterday tabled the 186-page audit into the process that led to the formation of Labor’s NBN. It is significant as it contains sweeping recommendations on what future actions Canberra should take when considering major projects such as the network. It also comes ahead of an independent cost-benefit analysis into broadband and the regulatory arrangements for the NBN.
The audit examined the original “Mark I” NBN policy — based on 2007 election promises by then opposition leader Kevin Rudd of $4.7bn public funding towards building a fibre-to-the-node network — and the vastly more ambitious $43bn Mark II policy that replaced it.
Both were developed under the Rudd Labor government. In April 2009, after the world’s economy was rocked by the financial crisis, the original proposal was replaced with a $43bn plan for the government to go it alone and build a fibre-to-the-premise network.
More on the NBN from me soon.