NBN: Abbott sets Turnbull on independents

NBN: Abbott sets Turnbull on independents

Turnbull to try and expose problems with NBN and swing independents back to Coalition fold

Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, says one of Malcolm’s roles as the new Shadow Communications Minister will be to expose problems with Labor’s National Broadband Network project with the aim of wooing independent MPs back to the Coalition’s camp.

It was the support independent MPs Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie which allowed Labor leader, Julia Gillard, to form Governmeny — and all three cited broadband as a key reason to support Labor.

However, Abbott has told ABC Radio National that his aim is to convince the independents to switch sides. The first step in that direction was the appointment of Liberal heavyweight, Malcolm Turnbull, as Shadow Communications Minister.

“I think that’s what we should be doing,” said Abbott after being asked whether his aim would be to turn the independents. “And as I said, with someone like Malcolm in charge of communications policy, in charge of exposing the waste and extravagance inherent in the Government’s broadband plans, that becomes a very real prospect.”

Turnbull yesterday blasted the NBN, claiming it would waste tens of billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

Turnbull 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.

Turnbull said the NBN would eventually be worth between a half and a quarter of the total estimated cost of the network — normally put at $43 billion, although NBN Co expects its deal with Telstra to cut that price down significantly.

Abbott repeated previous statements that the project was “school halls on steroids” and said around the world, no country had proposed spending anything like Labor had under the project. He wasn’t sure that even Telstra had been convinced of the veracity of the project — claiming Labor had bought the telco out with its $11 billion deal with NBN Co.

“His {Turnbull's] job is to explain that this is not a sensible policy for Australia and that this is typical of a Labor Government which is addicted to waste and incompetence,” said Abbott.

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Tags Malcolm TurnbullTony AbbottAndrew WilkieTony WindsorRob OakeshottNatiuonal Broadband Network (NBN)


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