Shadow Minister of Finance and Debt Reduction, Andrew Robb, has used the launch of the Opposition’s national broadband policy to attack National Broadband Network wholesaler, NBN Co, claiming it is filled with talentless staff.
Speaking at Parliament House in Canberra, Robb claimed that by virtue of being a government-owned company, NBN Co would be unable to attract quality staff with the drive to create innovative telecommunication solutions for the country.
“NBN Co will not attract these highly skilled, highly innovative, highly specialised talents. Many of them will go oversees. They will not go and join a stodgy government bureaucracy with all its rules and bureaucracy and dictate to the Australian community,” he said.
“These people value being part of an entrepreneurial creative industry and that is what we will seek to promote. Australia will go backward in telecommunications compared with the rest of the world if this $43 billion fully owned government monopoly takes place.”
In contrast, the Opposition’s broadband policy and its proposed ‘National Broadband Commission’ would ensure that the drive of the private sector could be harnessed for national benefit.
“We will ensure that the innovative potential, the highly specialised creative talents within the private sector telco companies will be applied to provide exciting and leading options to the Australian community,” he said.
Some of the major hires at NBN Co include the head of Westpac IT sourcing; former Queensland Labor MP, [artnid: 335597|Mike Kaiser|new]]; former Telstra CEO speech writer Cassandra Scott; and the company's chief executive and former Alcatel-Lucent global COO, Mike Quigley.
Robb’s comments follow the launch of the Coalition’s national broadband vision, which would see the “unleashing” of competition through the private sector deployment of broadband across arrange of technologies, according to Shadow Communications Minister, Tony Smith.
The plan would see $2.75 billion of public money combined with at least $750 million of private sector funding to create an open access optic fibre backhaul network which all telecommunications companies could access.
“This will break the competition problems, this will break the bottleneck which has been holding back competition and investment in broadband, particularly in rural and regional Australia,” he said.
“This together with associated regulatory reform will remove the roadblocks and drive a cycle of future improvements and higher speeds across a range of technologies.”
Computerworld Australia has contacted NBN Co for comment.