Thursday, October 9

Turnbull dismised NBN panel Findings

My letter as per below was published on Wednesday in the AFR.

In “Turnbull dismissed NBN panel findings” (AFR, October 2) David Ramli reported Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected the panel’s recommendations to promote efficiency and divestment within the NBN (National Broadband Network)  on the grounds of the financial burden on the budget and taxpayers would be too severe.

But such assertions are at variance to the panel’s findings, which conclude the current rollout “results in unacceptable risks to, and costs on, taxpayers and consumers”.

Furthermore, the assertion by Minister Turnbull [that] such measures would be a financial burden on the budget, since this would result in bringing to account current capitalised costs to the budget is invalid as these are sunk costs already spent. This point was made clear by chairman Dr [Michael] Vertigan who said: “The government may hold that view but in my view, no. “It’s actually just crystallising a cost that already exists.”

How can a government championing competition and budget discipline aimed at reducing waste to promote efficiency ignore the findings of its expert panel on the flimsiest of reasons such as was reported; that is, to adopt the recommendations now risks distracting management and that opening up the NBN to competition involves uncertainty.

If there are in fact good reasons to delay adopting the recommendations those reported by the government fall short – since weary taxpayers and business alike are routinely subject to all manner of uncertainty and distractions not of one’s making.

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