Greens Communications Spokesman Scott Ludlam today welcomed Malcolm Turnbull’s appointment as Shadow Communications Minister but warned the Liberal heavyweight against “wrecking” Labor’s National Broadband Network project.
Just hours after winning the post yesterday, Turnbull blasted the NBN straight out of the gate, saying it would waste tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.
The MP said everything he had seen with respect to Labor’s NBN project demonstrated that the financial investment in the effort could not be justified. He highlighted the NBN Implementation Study produced by consulting firms KPMG and McKinsey and the low levels of take-up of NBN services so far in Tasmania — just hundreds of households so far — as examples.
“Malcolm Turnbull obviously brings a wealth of knowledge to this field and I welcome the increased focus it will bring to the portfolio. But I am concerned that he has simply been placed there to ‘demolish’ the broadband rollout, which has widespread public and industry support,” said Ludlam in a statement, adding “political wrecking tactics” would not be welcomed.
The Greens Senator said his party understood the importance of transparency and of testing the Government’s economic assumptions. However, he said Coalition slogans to the effect that the NBN was a “giant white elephant” and a “colossal destruction of taxpayers’ money” were unhelpful and purely political.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said one of Turnbull's roles as the new Shadow Communications Minister would be to expose problems with the NBN with the aim of wooing independent MPs back to the Coalition’s camp.
“Holding the government ferociously to account is one thing, using a crucial infrastructure project like this as a platform to bring down a minority government is another,” said Ludlam.
Ludlam has locked horns with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in the Senate previously, forcing the Labor to release the NBN Implementation Study put together by consulting firms McKinsey and KPMG, and pledging to block Labor’s internet filtering legislation.
But today the Greens Senator noted his party conditionally supported the NBN.
“The Greens see the NBN as a fundamental nation-building project that will create untold opportunities for our future, and I look forward to working constructively with all parties and independents in this portfolio,” he said.