Monday, 24 June 2013
Questions without Notice: Additional Answers
National Broadband Network
For the information of the Senate, I table additional advice on a question asked of me last Thursday by Senator Birmingham and I seek leave to incorporate the information into Hansard.
The answer read as follows—
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
SENATE QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE
20 JUNE 2013
Senator BIRMINGHAM (South Australia) (14:47): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question.
1. Can the Minister advise the Senate how many of these new specialist contractors are being engaged?
2. How long does the government anticipate needing to use such specialist contractors?
3. What will the additional cost to NBN Co. be of engaging these specialist contractors in addition to its existing contractors?
A new national standard for dealing with asbestos in pit and pipe infrastructure is being developed. Until such time as the new national standard is agreed and the training course is up and running, NBN Co will transfer the important task of handling and removing asbestos in pit and pipe, and disposing of asbestos waste, from its Tier One contractors to specialist asbestos removal firms. In the Northern Territory NBN Co is managing the rollout directly.
1. NBN Co has identified a number of specialist licensed asbestos removal contractors in each state and provided that list to our build partners. When a build partner identifies infrastructure that they propose to remove that may contain asbestos, they will call one of those listed and contract direct to have the material safely handled and disposed of. They inform NBN Co 24 hours in advance so NBN Co can monitor that the process is being adhered to.
2. NBN Co will continue with this process for as long as it takes until a national standard for asbestos removal in telecommunications infrastructure is developed and implemented.
3. With regards to the cost of engaging specialist contractors, the asbestos removal work that NBN Co contractors are undertaking is minimal as most of this work will be undertaken by Telstra. NBN Co therefore does not envisage a significant impact over the life of the project. It is anticipated that this work will be done within the parameters of the Corporate Plan.