Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Questions without Notice
My question is again to the Prime Minister and refers to his government’s largest single infrastructure investment—the National Broadband Network. If, as the communications minister said today, the network will not cost $43 billion, what will it cost? How many subscribers will it have and what will they be asked to pay? If it is going to be able to pay interest on the bonds the Prime Minister has urged mums and dads to buy to finance it, what will its net revenues be?
I would suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that if he reflected for one moment on the conspicuous failure of the previous government to build a national broadband network he would begin to understand the deficiency and the gap into which the current government seeks to move. Secondly, an expert advisory panel, including the Treasury, upon reflection of the responses to the initial tender round for expressions of interest from the communications industry, advised the government through the Treasury that this represented the absolute best value for taxpayers’ money which existed. In other words, to embark upon another course of action was not desirable in bringing about this infrastructure which is necessary for the future of the Australian economy. It is good for business, good for productivity, good for the delivery of e-health, good for e-education and good for Australia.