Senate orders release of Coalition's NBN review

Senator Scott Ludlam moved an order requiring the release of the 60-day review by noon Monday
Greens ICT spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam

Greens ICT spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam

The Senate has required Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to release the government’s 60-day review on Monday.

Senator Scott Ludlam successfully moved an order requiring Turnbull to make the report available to the public no later than noon on Monday.

Ludlam invoked Parliament’s power to require the production of information, which is available to legislature to enable it to carry out functions of scrutinising legislation and the performance of the executive arm of government.

The review was due to the government yesterday, but had not been expected for release until later this month. The document, which is meant to analyse the progress and cost of the NBN rollout and NBN Co’s financial and operational status, may contain some commercially sensitive information that will need to be redacted prior to release.

“It won’t be good enough for Minister Turnbull to say everything is commercial in confidence,” Ludlam said on the Senate floor this afternoon. “The government’s proposals for the NBN should be put in the public domain.”

The government had always planned to release the 60-day review following its submission, a Turnbull spokesperson told Computerworld Australia. The government is currently reading the draft report—submitted at close of business yesterday—and will determine how and when it will be released, the spokesperson said.

At a hearing last week, NBN Co CEO Ziggy Switkowski said that Turnbull had not told him when the report would be published.

Switkowski indicated that the report was likely to conclude that the NBN should move to a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) approach that would rely on existing copper networks for the last mile to the home. The existing plan crafted by Labor takes a fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) approach, requiring fibre all the way to the home.

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