Turnbull to hold Government "ferociously to account" on NBN

Tony Smith punted to parliamentary secretary for tax reform

Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has used the appointment of Malcolm Turnbull as Shadow communications minister to rubbish the National Broadband Network (NBN) as an “icon of waste and incompetence".

“In particular the National Broadband Network, or nationalised broadband network, is going to become an icon of waste and incompetence,” Abbott said at press conference on the new Shadow Cabinet.

“I have already described it as school halls on steroids and we can be certain that the National Broadband Network will be to this term of government what pink bats and school halls will be to the last term of government.”

“It is a complete waste to spend $5000 per household delivering an information superhighway beside every dirt track in this country whether or not people want it or can afford it.”

Abbott said Turnbull would have the business and technical expertise to “entirely demolish” the Government on the issue of the National Broadband Network.

“This is going to be the absolute focus of the battle over the next 18 months or so,” he said. “The Government is going to invest $43 billion worth of hard earned money in what I believe will turn out to be a White Elephant on a massive scale and I can’t think of anyone better than Malcolm Turnbull given his experience in telecommunications and in business to hold the Government ferociously account in this area.”

Abbott would not address the sacking of Tony Smith as Shadow Communications minister directly, instead arguing that having Turnbull in the role would lead to a “stronger, hungrier team” which would better hold the Government to account and “better present as a credible alternative".

“Tony still has a strong contribution to make and he is the Shadow parliamentary secretary for tax reform and deputy chair of the Coalition policy development committee,” Abbot said. “I think he has a big contribution to make in the Coalition’s future.”

The change, widely rumoured for a number of days has been welcomed by the ICT industry.

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