Communications minister Stephen Conroy asked his opposition to apologise for what he called “outrageous claims” that the NBN will cost up to $100 billion.
Shadow communications minister Malcom Turnbull and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey “have claimed that the cost could be as high as $100 billion". “This is false and inaccurate," Controy said.
“The Government released the 2012-2015 NBN Co Corporate Plan provided by the NBN Co Board on 8 August. That plan stated the capital cost of the NBN will be $37.4 billion.
"The NBN Co Corporate Plan is informed by the agreement with Telstra and signed construction contracts. The Corporate Plan was prepared by the experienced executives of NBN Co, and was approved by the highly qualified independent NBN Co Board.
“Mr Hockey's and Mr Turnbull's outrageous claims effectively accuse the NBN Co executive and board of being negligent in their duty. This is a disgraceful slur on NBN Co. They should apologise immediately and stop misleading the Australian public."
In a blog entry dated 6 September, Turnbull wrote that he made the estimate based on the advice of industry.
“I have been careful not to nominate a particular sum of money as the difference between what we would do and Labor’s current plan,” Turnbull wrote. “For a start there is enormous scepticism that the NBN Co project can be completed within the cost and time-frame of their business plan.
“Several very experienced civil contractors and engineers have said to us recently that they think the actual build cost is likely to be $80 to $100 billion for example.”
The Conroy statement is the latest volley in an ongoing spat between Labor and the Coalition over the NBN. Turnbull recently provided more details on the Coalition's alternative NBN.
Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam