Thursday, 23 August 2018 08:07

NBN Co should have appointed interim CEO: Labor Featured

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The Australian Labor Party says it was not appropriate for the Federal Government to appoint a permanent chief executive for NBN Co, the company rolling out the national broadband network, this close to an election, especially given that the government is going through a great deal of turbulence.

Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers said in a joint statement that the party had made its view plain, that any chief executive should be appointed only on an interim basis now.

The NBN Co announced on Wednesday that chief financial officer Stephen Rue would take over on 1 September, the day after the incumbent, Bill Morrow, leaves. Morrow announced in April that he would be stepping down at the end of the year.

Rowland and Chalmers said Labor had also made it clear that it expected to be consulted on any appointment for these reasons, but this had not occurred.

"Between now and the next federal election, whenever that may be, NBN Co should focus on the following," they said.

  • "Minimise the amount of fibre-to-the-node deployment wherever feasible, and at a minimum take fibre to the kerb;
  • "Implement Labor’s NBN Service Guarantee to establish effective wholesale service standards for consumers;
  • "Bring an end to the spin which has undermined internal decision-making; and
  • "Improve transparency over the risks in the business case caused by the multi-technology mix."

The two shadow ministers said there should be an end to the "political co-ordination between the Coalition and NBN Co that occurred during the 2016 election", with the appointed chief executive being directly accountable for this.

"Equitable access to quality broadband is transformative in its potential to extend social and economic opportunity," Rowland and Jones said. "This has always been Labor’s driving purpose, no matter where you live or work in Australia."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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