The Australian Government notes the report by the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network (the Committee) into the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The Government is disappointed that after considering 191 submissions; holding 15 public hearings; receiving testimony from 179 witnesses; and undertaking three site visits, the Committee’s majority report and recommendations indicates a failure to understand the fundamentals of the NBN. While it does not agree with all of the conclusions and recommendations contained in the majority report, the Government does however note that the report highlights the consumer experience and acknowledges that improving consumer experiences during connection and use of the NBN is an important priority. The Government fully supports the dissenting report given by the Chair of the Committee.
The NBN is Australia's largest and most complex infrastructure project. It will be a key facilitator for innovation in the nation and it is essential for a successful Australian economy in the 21st century, especially for households and small business. Rolling out the next-generation NBN to all Australians as quickly as possible is therefore a priority for the Government.
No project is subject to greater public scrutiny than the NBN. From NBN Co Limited’s (nbn’s) Corporate Plan and Annual Report to parliamentary committees and weekly and quarterly reports, there is already a significant amount of public data about nbn’s objectives and performance.
As a government business enterprise (GBE) established in corporate form, nbn is subject to multiple layers of corporate governance and public accountability. As a company, nbn must comply with the governance requirements of the Corporations Act 2001, including an annual independent audit of its financial statements and performance reporting. As a corporate Commonwealth entity, nbn is subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) which requires nbn to publish an annual corporate plan setting out how nbn will achieve its purpose over a forward-looking four-year period. As a GBE, nbn must also comply with the Commonwealth Government Business Enterprise Governance and Oversight Guidelines. Public accountability of nbn is already rigorous and so many of the Committee’s recommendation about governance are unnecessary.