Government rejects NBN recommendations

Rejects call for external independent review of NBN Co's corporate plan

A terse government response to a report from the Senate's NBN committee contains no surprises.

The government's formal response to the second interim report of the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network was today published online by the Department of Communications, though the document is dated 19 June.

The Senate committee is dominated by Labor and the Greens and has released two unflattering assessments of the change in direction of the NBN since the Coalition came to power.

The first interim report was released in March last year.

The second interim report, released in March this year, took aim at an alleged lack of transparency from NBN Co since the Coalition oversaw a post-election purge of the company's board and management.

The recommendations in the second report were that the government release full versions of the strategic review into the NBN and NBN Co's 2014-17 and 2015-18 corporate plans, that the that the government "reinstitute the external independent review process of NBN Co’s corporate plan" and that the government investigate "governance and probity issues" the committee's majority said had been identified during its hearings.

The government's response said that the full version of the 2014-17 plan had been released and it supported the release of the 2015-18 corporate plan. The other three recommendations were rejected.

"The Government is satisfied that both NBN Board members and Executives - are demonstrating high levels of personal and professional integrity, are operating in the best interests of the Commonwealth and are focused on delivering fast affordable broadband for all Australians as soon as possible," the government response states.

It also said that reviews of NBN Co's corporate plan carried out by the federal finance and communications departments provide "a high level of governance and scrutiny in relation to the plans and forecasts used by NBN Co in preparing the corporate plan".

Coalition senators on the NBN committee have previously called for it to be scrapped. Senator Cory Bernardi previously attempted to have it replaced by a committee less hostile to government's new NBN direction.

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