Tuesday, 19 February 2019 10:36

Labor slams govt over 'ridiculous' NBN target claims Featured

Labor slams govt over 'ridiculous' NBN target claims Pixabay

The Australian Labor Party has described as "ridiculous" a claim made by the government that the NBN Co — which released its half-yearly results on Monday — was continuing to exceed its targets.

Labor Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers said in a joint statement the NBN Co had fallen well short of the targets it had outlined in its first corporate plan which was issued after the federal election in 2016.

In a statement issued shortly after NBN Co announced its results, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Finance Minister Matthias Cormann said they welcomed the figures which "confirms the company is exceeding its connection and financial targets".

[It was pointed out to Labor that the NBN Co had issued corporate plans in subsequent years as well, but a spokesperson said these were of no significance as the only thing they did was to lower targets in the hope of meeting them the next time around.]

On the targets set for revenue in FY19, average revenue per user, activations, HFC installations ready for service and HFC activations, Rowland and Chalmers claimed the government would fail to reach each and every target.

For example, on the FY19 revenue, they said the post-election target had been $3.7 billion and what had been achieved for the half-year was only $1.3 billion, which pointed to a possible failure to meet the target (See table below).

nbn table

The two Labor shadow ministers also pointed to targets outlined in the government's 2013 NBN election policy and said the Coalition had promised to spend $29.5 billion to get the network built but the current estimate was %50.9 billion, or $21.4 billion over budget.

On the timeframe. too, the government had failed, Rowland and Chalmers said, pointing to the expected date of completion: in 2013, the government said the rollout would be done and dusted by 2016 but now the end date was put at 2020 - four years behind schedule.

"It appears the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government is hoping no one notices their NBN 'targets' get changed every year because the previous 'targets' have been missed," the two Labor shadow ministers claimed.

"Not only is the claim by shareholder ministers that NBN Co continues to 'exceed targets' false, it [also] disrespects the intelligence of the Australian public.

"While the Liberals continue to spin, too many consumers are being let down with missed appointments, dodgy HFC installations, and limited speeds over their copper service."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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