Shadow Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has criticised the Federal Government hiring of external advisers for the National Broadband Network (NBN), branding the idea “unusual” and “puzzling”.
Greenhill Caliburn is expected to tender a draft review of the NBN Co’s business plan.
The Department of Finance and Deregulation commissioned the firm to assess key assumptions on a number of areas including revenue, operational expenses and market constraints of the NBN.
“I’m really quite intrigued why the Department of Finance, which we assume is full of skilled economists and financially trained people, has hired someone to read a business plan for them,” Turnbull said.
The absurdity is compounded by the fact Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, herself has yet to read the NBN Co business case report, according to Turnbull.
“So we’ve got a report the Prime Minister hasn’t read. That the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer hasn’t read and the Department of Finance doesn’t have the courage to read by itself,” he said.
“And yet this is a document that the Government won’t publish to the public in response to a $43 billion project it says has to be started and legislated immediately.”
The 30-year business plan was due to be released but has been delayed to December.
Turnbull is a staunch proponent of a cost-benefit analysis for the NBN by the Productivity Commission.
Last month, he brought his Coalition-backed private member’s bill to Parliament. The bill would force the Federal Government to publish a 10-year business case for the NBN with key financial and operational indicators by November 19. It was subsequently voted down in the House of Representatives.