Confirmed: No NBN business case until December

The business case for the NBN will not be made public until after the Parliament has risen for summer

The office of the communications minister, Stephen Conroy, has confirmed that the business case for the NBN Co will not be released until after the Parliament rises for the summer.

In a statement to Computerworld Australia a spokesperson for Senator Conroy confirmed the plan would not be released until December.

“The Government has made clear the business case for NBN Co will be made public, once it has been reviewed to remove commercial in confidence material,” the spokesperson said.

“The business plan is over 400 pages and includes detailed information such as costings, pricing and revenue. It is right that the Minister and government colleagues are briefed on the plan before it is released.

“The plan will be released in December when it has been considered by Cabinet.”

The confirmation follows a Twitter post from Opposition communications minister, Malcolm Turnbull, criticising the timing of the release.

“Gillard confirms NBN business plan won't be released until after Parliament rises for summer - no scrutiny, no accountability for #nbn b'ns,” the tweet reads.

According to the spokesperson for Senator Conroy, the business plan would receive Parliamentary scrutiny.

“The NBN is subject to Parliamentary oversight, including Senate committee scrutiny and the tabling of its annual report in Parliament,” the spokesperson said.

“NBN Co’s management has appeared before Senate Estimates since NBN Co was established.”

The confirmation of the December release flies in the face of Coalition and Greens calls make the government immediately release key national broadband network documents, including the business case.

The Greens and Coalition had today intended to use their numbers in the Senate to force the Government’s hand and release the 400-page NBN business plan.

Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has previously stated that it is up to the Federal Labor Cabinet as to when the business case is released.

"I have already had a three-hour briefing on it. I have another four-hour briefing myself coming up later this week. Then it has to go to my cabinet colleagues and ultimately the cabinet makes this decision," he told ABC television.

"There is a whole range of information which we will be making available. But until the cabinet has had a chance to be briefed on it yet, I am not in a position that I can commit to when it will specifically be released."

In a November 8 statement the NBN Co confirmed on that the business plan had been delivered to Senator Conroy’s Office.

“NBN Co, the company formed to design, build and operate a high-speed national broadband network, has today delivered its Corporate Plan to its shareholder ministers,” the statement read.

“Submission of a Corporate Plan is an obligation as a Government Business Enterprise.”

The news over the state of the business plan follows the passing of draft laws which will pave the way for the rollout of the NBN through the structural separation of Telstra in the lower house of parliament.

Turnbull’s office has been contacted for additional comment.

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