NBN Co defends itself against Lib's "talentless" slur

Internal company email says comments are “ill-informed cheap shots"

NBN Co has hit back at slurs from the Federal Opposition shadow treasurer, Andrew Robb, that the company responsible for managing the National Broadband Network is a “stodgy government bureaucracy” and filled with “talentless” staff.

In an internal email, purporting to be from NBN Co chief human resources officer and head of corporate services, Kevin Brown, the company urged its staff to refrain from publicly defending the company in the “confronting time” leading up the Federal Election.

In the email, Brown wrote that the Coalition’s views on NBN Co were not views expressed to himself or by many other players in the Australian business community or among global technology companies.

“Such unjustified remarks are ill informed cheap shots, and do not reflect the remarkable progress in the last twelve months,” the email reads. “I urge you to disregard this commentary. “

Brown went on to argue the quality of NBN Co’s staff, stating that of the company’s top 100 employees, one half had two university degrees, and more than half have worked in senior roles in telecommunications providers in Australia, such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and AAPT.

Further, more than some 27 per cent were also are engineers by training, and seven out of the eight of chief executive, Mike Quigley’s direct report team had lived and worked overseas in the telecommunication industry.

“If the university system, all major Telco’s in Australia, the global technology supply companies and a number of ASX50 companies produce no talent then NBN Co may be “talentless”! I think not,” the email reads.

As reported by Computerworld Australia Robb, speaking at Parliament House in Canberra, 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.”

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