A Senate Committee investigating the National Broadband Network (NBN) has used its final report to call for its scrapping and the publication of calculations used for the $25 million Implementation Study.
The committee, which was made up of combination of Senators from Labor, the Coalition and Australian Greens, also recommended the Government commission a cost-benefit analysis of the NBN as well as a detailed prediction of its benefits.
The committee has long been derided by the Government and the Australian Greens as being biased in its results. While there was consensus that Australia needed a high-speed broadband network in the future, it claimed the public had not been educated enough to make a decision.
“They have no way of knowing whether in fact the government's NBN project will leave them with a taxpayer-funded company that will be unable to attract private-sector investment and will drain taxpayers of enormous sums of money well into the future,” the report said.
Australian Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, largely agreed with the Coalition against the Government on its call for the public release of the calculations used in the Implementation Study.
“Putting these details in the public domain would be a worthwhile exercise in transparent governance and would facilitate a more informed public debate,” he wrote.
But Ludlam said open access to the NBN proposed by the Government would boost social inclusion and allow transformational benefits to occur.
The three Government Senators used their minority report to attack the Howard Government’s record on high-speed Internet and call for the Senate to pass its telecommunications legislation.
“Opposition Senators represent a party that offers no genuine pathway to a broadband future,” the report said. “The Howard government had 18 failed broadband plans in 11½ years which left Australia falling behind most developed countries.
“The Opposition’s plan to shut down the National Broadband Network puts Australia’s economic future at risk.”