yARN: Life’s a cup of $0.085 coffee at NBN Co

Or how NBN Co and the Senate Estimates Committee combined to waste a lot more money than that

Is this a $0.085 cup of coffee?

Is this a $0.085 cup of coffee?

And so we degenerate into pure idiocy. Today, NBN Co sent out a press release headlined: Coffee claims roasted.

It begins this missive: “NBN Co has dismissed claims about the high cost of coffee on the company’s premises.

“A single cup of coffee at NBN Co works out at around eight and a half cents per cup per working day per person.

“When the cost of the coffee machines and their annual maintenance is added to the equation, the price comes to about 16 cents a cup.

“The company was responding to media reports arising from an answer to a Question on Notice from the Senate Estimates Committee.”

The release goes onto state that a detailed, multi-part question sought from NBN Co the cost of coffee, coffee pods, coffee machines and their maintenance, specifics about the type of coffee machines purchased as well as the reason for their purchase.

It then explains that coffee and coffee machines have been purchased by NBN Co as an amenity for employees, contractors and visitors in order to aid productivity by reducing the time spent by staff purchasing coffee outside their offices.

This is all in the name of accountability of taxpayers' money, I assume.

There are so many questions this begs that I literally can’t handle them. The coffee is too hot!

Why is the Senate Estimates Committee wasting its time checking on the price of coffee at NBN CO? I mean, is it doing coffee/cup checks right across all government bodies. Are the folks in the tax office under scrutiny or maritime. Maybe roads – you know, I reckon coffee out there in the middle of rural Australia could be a tad expensive.

And then we have to ask? Why just coffee? Is tea a proven low cost alternative? Has the Senate Estimates Committee looked, for instance, at whether NBN Co or any sector of government is using designer tea bags. Not your cheap brands but the good stuff. Hell, even tea leaves.

And what about hot chocolate? Whoa! Worse still - with marshmallows.

Of course, maybe the Senate Estimates Committee thinks NBN Co is using beans way above its station and is just plain jealous.

One thing is certain: I don't think the balance of payments is going to be affected by the cost of coffee at NBN Co.

It’s almost enough to think that somebody is pulling our proverbial leg – but it’s not April 1.

So next question: Why on earth would NBN Co think it necessary to put out a press release defending the cost of a cup of coffee on its premises.

What was the cost to NBN Co of a PR sitting down and writing this dark brown defense, taking into account the time spent in meetings getting briefed and the release approved?

I know it’s an election year but surely the stupidity hasn’t already started.

And how much is it costing me to sit here and wax lyrical about the sheer stupidity of bureaucrats and governments?

For those of you who can’t get enough of the rich aroma of this debate, you should apparently see Question on Notice No.420, Supplementary Estimates Hearings, Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy Portfolio, October 2012.

The rest of us, I’m sure, will find it all just hard to swallow.

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