Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has promised to release NBN Co’s business case by the end of the year, but the Opposition won’t get a full copy.
Speaking at an event in Sydney, Conroy said NBN Co’s business case was a 400-page document that would take time to digest.
“I’m confident when the people see the information released it will absolutely vindicate and validate the McKinsey findings that it is affordable, viable and that taxpayers will get a return on their money,” he said. “I’d like to brief my Cabinet on it before I release it wider.
“I would have to say yes [it will be released] this year.”
Conroy said he had not finished reading the document and could not confirm exactly how much could be released. But he refused to provide the Opposition a full copy of the business case for scrutiny and also declined any potential
When asked how he’d respond to a Coalition request for an independent audit, he provided this response.
“If they want to waste more time and delay Australians getting access to fast broadband, they’re welcome to,” Conroy said. “They’ve been engaged in delaying tactics for two years now and I was hoping with Malcolm Turnbull now shadow minister that we’d at least begin to see a more enlightened approach than continuing to try and nitpick on irrelevancies.”
But the Communications Minister was more open to negotiating with the industry on the controversial issue of Points of Interconnect on the National Broadband Network. He claimed to welcome the vigorous debate and said it was legitimate.
“The point of this [ACCC discussion paper] was to promote debate and we’re having a very robust and colourful debate,” he said. “But it’s not unexpected that people who have assets want to ensure that they will continue to be used.
“[Providers] will all represent what is in their own commercial interests – as they should.”