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Monday, 4 July 2011
Page: 7288


Mr OAKESHOTT (Lyne) (12:02): On behalf of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network, I present the committee's report incorporating a dissenting report entitled An advisory report on the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2011.

In accordance with standing order 39(f) the report was made a parliamentary paper.

Mr OAKESHOTT: by leave—The issues presented to the committee during the inquiry provide 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 various 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. I suspect these disputes will be ongoing for some time.

The 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 publish its performance on the fibre rollout against specific time frames 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 acknowledge the views put forward by various 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 Competitive Neut­rality Complaints Office report, when it is released, the committee believes the government should examine the competition issues put forward by these fibre providers and industry groups in the context of the rollout of the National Broadband Network with a view to rectifying wherever possible any potential adverse impact on competition.

I do note that there is a dissenting report attached to this report, put forward by the shadow minister and on behalf of coalition members. I welcome that dissenting report. Referring legislation to committees is an important part of the process of flushing out dissent and potentially highlighting any amendments so that better consideration of those amendments can then take place when bills are put before the House. I therefore thank the shadow minister for the work that he has done in preparing that.

On behalf of the committee, I therefore thank those who contributed to this inquiry for taking the time out of their busy schedules to provide submissions or appear in person before the committee. I commend the report to the House.