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Senate calls for government to release broadband reports.

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Wed, 4th February 2009


Senator the Hon Nick Minchin Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

The Senate has passed a motion which obliges the Rudd Government to make public both the reports of the ACCC and expert panel in relation to bids for the troubled National Broadband Network.

Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Nick Minchin submitted a motion which would have required the Government to table the reports in the Senate tomorrow (5 February).

In a compromise, which allowed the motion to pass with the support of Senator Stephen Fielding, it was amended to require the documents to be tabled “the day after the winning bid is announced”.

Senator Minchin has repeatedly called for these documents to be released for public comment before the Government makes any decision in relation to NBN bids.

“Despite Senator Conroy’s claims that this tender process would be ‘open and transparent’, it has been anything but. While I maintain this advice should be publicly released before a successful tenderer is chosen, the Senate has agreed that at the very least they should be tabled immediately after a winning bid is announced,” Senator Minchin said.

“This is about ensuring the Rudd Government is accountable and the Australian public are properly informed about a project which puts at risk $4.7 billion of taxpayers’ money.

“Hopefully Senator Conroy now realises that it is totally unacceptable for this process to remain secret. Public scrutiny of this crucial advice to Government will enable a proper assessment of whether Labor is acting truly in the national interest and not purely in its short-term political interest,” Senator Minchin said.