Minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has called on the O’Farrell government to stop misleading the NSW public about the rollout of the NBN and power prices.
According to Conroy, the O’Farrell government is claiming power prices in NSW may have to rise because NBN Co is refusing to pay fair compensation to roll out fibre cable on the state’s power poles.
“This is an absurd and ridiculous claim without any basis in fact. The truth is that the O’Farrell Government is trying to gouge Australian taxpayers, delay the NBN rollout and make it more expensive,” he said.
Conroy mentioned that every other state and territory has finalised sensible commercial arrangements with NBN Co for access to power poles, but the NSW Government wants to charge almost six times as much.
“NBN Co has negotiated in good faith with the NSW Government for almost two years, but from the moment Barry O’Farrell became Premier, they have been frustrated at every turn. NBN Co is seeking to rent access to the poles only and will cover all design, preparation and installation costs,” he said.
He also claimed that excluding Western Australia, if NBN Co accepts what was on the table, it would cost Australian taxpayers an additional $175 million over the life of the NBN – almost six times what utilities in other states and territories are charging.
“It is time for the O'Farrell Government to stop slowing down the rollout and come to an appropriate commercial arrangement so the people of NSW can get the NBN as soon as possible.
“In the interim, NBN Co is prepared to use Commonwealth powers to gain access to the poles it needs now to continue the rollout to the areas of Gosford, Long Jetty and Lidcombe, until sensible commercial arrangements can be finalised with the relevant utilities,” he added.