Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Questions without Notice
I thank the honourable member for his question. Today the government released the cost-benefit analysis into the NBN, completed by the independent panel, chaired by Dr Mike Vertigan, and comprising Henry Ergas, Tony Shaw and Alison Deans.
Opposition members interjecting—
from increasing broadband speeds from current levels to 25 megabits per second or more will exceed $40 billion in today's dollars. That of course is just the total benefit. However, when you take the cost of Labor's approach to the NBN into account, it provides less than $2 billion in nett value to the economy. Whereas the approach now being taken by the company, with the multitechnology model, has nett benefits of $18 billion. That is to say, there is nine times as much economic benefit from the approach taken by the government compared to the approach that was taken by the Labor Party.
The Labor Party, mostly in the form of the member for Grayndler, is currently talking about cost-benefit analyses and calling for them to be conducted on every road project. Yet for this project, the biggest project in the country's history, the then Labor government resolutely opposed any cost-benefit analysis. Indeed, former finance minister Lindsay Tanner, in an outburst of candour, said there was no point doing a cost-benefit analysis because 'We were determined to build it, come hell or high water,' absolutely rejecting any possible rational economic approach to this project. You would think that, at some point, the Labor Party would get off that Conrovian drip, get away from that crazy ideological approach they had and take a rational approach. How many reports, how much analysis and how much common sense do you need before the light breaks through?
We are thinking of launching a social media campaign #freejason. The member for Blaxland has got to be freed from the grip of Conrovianism. He is a latter-day Fay Wray being clutched—hung onto—by Senator Conroy as King Kong. There he is. He cannot escape.
Who will rescue the member for Blaxland? Will it be the Leader of the Opposition? He has no heart. He does not care about the tens of billions of dollars wasted. He does not care about the tragic position of this silenced shadow minister who never emerges from the shadow. We say: 'Free Jason! Free Jason!' That is the meme of the moment.