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Tuesday, 19 October 2010 14:44

Coalition moves to force NBN cost study

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Ramping up pressure on Government over the cost of the National Broadband Network, the Coalition will introduce a Private Members Bill calling for a 10-year cost-benefit analysis of the project.


A Coalition joint party room meeting this morning agreed to support the National Broadband Network Financial Transparency Bill 2010, a notice of motion of which was to be tabled today by shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The Bill will require the NBN Company to produce and publish a detailed 10-year plan, including "key financial and operational indicators."

It also calls for the Productivity Commission to produce a cost-benefit analysis of the project and to report back to the parliament by the end of May next year.

Mr Turnbull will also move a motion to create a joint select committee - with representation from both the House and the Senate - to oversee the roll-out of the NBN.

With the Liberals and Nationals supporting the strategy and the numbers in both houses so tight, the Coalition says it will seek the support of the cross-benches to get support for the Private Members Bill and the Motion.

The Coalition wants the Productivity Commission to investigate in three primary areas: First to look at the current availability of broadband across Australia, and to identify which suburbs and regions had services that were of lower standard or higher price than capital cities.

Second, to investigate the most cost-effective and speedy options by which fast broadband services can be made available, particularly those in regional and remote areas, and in underserved metropolitan areas.

And thirdly, to investigate the economic, productivity and social benefits likely to flow from enhanced broadband around Australia.

 


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