Senate debates

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


National Broadband Network Committee; Report

5:56 pm

Photo of Ursula StephensUrsula Stephens (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I present an advisory report of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network on the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2011. I seek leave to move a motion in relation to the report.

Leave granted.

I move:

That the Senate take note of the report.

Mr Acting Deputy President, I present the report of the Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network entitled An advisory report on the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2011.

The issues presented to the committee during the inquiry provided an overview of industry and community views associated with possible enactment of the Telecom­munications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2011. The inquiry was also a forum for receiving industry views on the government's Fibre in New Developments policy which underpins the proposed legislation.

While the committee made a number of additional findings, the main provisions of the bill are supported by the majority of the committee. Where the committee found areas of dispute, these were less about the bill and more about the underlying policy that has led to this bill.

Major findings of the report include:

1. That NBN Co. put in place benchmarked internal customer service protocols in regard to the timeliness of the issuing of statements;

2. That NBN Co. commit to publishing its performance on the fibre rollout against specific timeframes and that these commitments be subject to regulatory oversight; and

3. That the government investigate the possible impact on risk premiums of regular changes in development regulations and install anticipatory and mitigation measures if required.

In relation to the bill's possible impact on competition in the existing fibre provider market in new developments, the committee acknowledged the views put forward by industry groups. The industry groups highlighted the potential adverse impact that the government's existing Fibre in New Developments policy may have for existing smaller fibre providers.

Some of these industry groups reported that they have lodged their concerns with the Australian government Competitive Neutrality Complaints Office. Taking into consideration the findings and recom­mendations of the Australian government's Competitive Neutrality Complaints Office report when it is released, the committee believes the government should examine the competition issues put forward by the fibre providers and industry groups in the context of the rollout of the National Broadband Network with a view to rectifying, where possible, any potential adverse impact on competition. On the committee's behalf, I thank those who contributed to the inquiry and I commend the report to the Senate. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.


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