He didn't come out and use those words, but this morning on ABC Local Radio, Opposition leader Tony Abbott effectively announced that the NBN would be sold if the Coalition were elected to Government.
For some time now, a strong point of difference has existed between the ALP and the Coalition as to the future of the NBN.
When it was originally announced, the Government (through Communications Minister Conroy) made it very clear that the Government would pay to build the NBN, but once completed, it would be sold to recoup the investment.
The argument being that no private industry organisation had wanted to build the entire structure, instead preferring to cherry-pick the most lucrative pieces - generally areas of high population density.
Interviewed by Jon Faine on ABC Local Radio in Melbourne this morning, Abbott was pressed on how he would fund the many promises his party was making, and with that in mind, Faine offered him the speculation that the NBN would be sold as early as possible to both gain some cash and to also remove the future expenditure commitment.
Of course the Opposition leader would neither confirm nor deny, preferring to defer such an announcement to the run-up to the next election, but his surrounding comments were most telling.
On more than one occasion, Abbott expressed the view that Government-owned telecommunications infrastructure was an idea long-gone; that private industry was best-equipped to deliver major projects such as this.
A strange idea really since Governments don't need to make a profit; and that as mentioned earlier, there were no commercial takers to build the NBN in the first place. Oh, and it was always going to be sold anyway, but as a completed, going concern.
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