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Tuesday, 26 October 2010 21:28

Windsor won't support Turnbull NBN bill


Rural independent MP Tony Windsor says he is unlikely to support shadow communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull's bill calling for a cost-benefit analysis of the National Broadband Network.

The Member for New England doesn't believe it is possible to measure the possible benefits of the fibre roll-out, particularly from the perspective of regional Australia.

And while acknowledging Mr Turnbull's concerns about the cost of the NBN and whether the current plan is the most effective way to deliver improved broadband to under-served areas, Mr Windsor clearly does not trust the motives of Coalition leader Tony Abbott.

"I know that Malcolm has genuine concerns about this," said on SBS television's Insight program. "But Tony Abbott"s agenda, in my view, is to stop (the NBN). Not just to check it, but to stop it."

Mr Windsor said he thought there was enough information in the public domain - through the McKinsey report and various other Government agencies - to support the NBN.

He also said he looked forward to seeing the NBN Company business case, which is expected to be released in the next several weeks.

He said he had spoken to Mr Turnbull and Mr Abbott this week about referring the NBN project to the Productivity Commission for investigation and told them he had concerns about the "assumptions" on which such a study would be based.

"You're making assumptions about the technology that may be able to use the fibre cable in the future. I don't know whether Gary Banks (from the Productivity Commission) has a crystal ball in terms of what this fibre optic cable will be used for in 20 years," Mr Windsor said.

"I have doubts about the Productivity Commission (investigation) and I am a great supporter of the National Broadband Network," he told Insight.

"I think it is the one piece of infrastructure that I have seen from a country perspective that actually can negate distance as being a disadvantage of living in the country."

"We talk about paradigms in this particular Parliament - changing paradigms - and I think this is the one thing that can actually do that in terms of doing business, health, education and a whole range of other things."

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