Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Consideration by Estimates Committees
(a) the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee meet to consider 2017-18 supplementary Budget estimates on 23 November 2017, from 3 pm to 6 pm, to further examine the NBN Co Limited; and
(b) the following NBN Co Limited officials appear before the committee at that time to answer questions: the Chief Executive Officer, the Chairman, the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Network Engineering Officer.
The minister is unavailable on this date and cannot be expected to cancel longstanding commitments with only one week's notice. Alternative dates have been offered to the committee and Senator Urquhart—in particular, in the following week on 1 December. With this in mind, the government cannot support this motion.
Opposition and minor party senators have acted in good faith in seeking a spillover hearing for Environment and Communications supplementary estimates for NBN Co. The minister failed to arrange for two of the requested four hours of spillover hearings from the May 2017 budget estimates hearings in the available four months between June and October. After the supplementary estimates, opposition and minor party senators requested three hours of spillover hearings for NBN Co. The minister made no effort to accommodate this very reasonable request until this morning when a date next month was offered. I remind the minister that a fellow senator minister can represent him at the spillover hearing.