Friday, 16 July 2021 14:38

Only one in ten front-line NBN workers received a bonus


The federal opposition has issued a media release questioning statements by Minister Paul Fletcher on the topic of NBN staff bonuses.

A media release from Michelle Rowland MP (pictured), Shadow Minister for Communications, and Senator Kimberley Kitching, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, in full follows:

"If making things up about the NBN and being caught out was an Olympic sport, Minister Fletcher would be deserving of a gold medal."

During a press conference on 18 February the Minister claimed that “a substantial proportion of those [$78 million in NBN] bonuses were paid to front-line staff”.

This wasn’t simply an exaggeration.

It was the latest instalment of sheer rubbish by a shifty Minister who makes it up as he goes.

Data supplied by NBNCo shows only 179 out of 1,761 NBN employees earning under $100,000 received a bonus in financial year 2020.

This means a staggering 9 in 10 NBN employees earning less than $100,000 received no bonus at all.

Furthermore, despite comprising nearly 30 per cent of total employees, this cohort of 1,761 staff received less than 2 per cent of the $78 million bonus pool.

NBNCo also perversely cut the payments rates of small business sub-contractors by up to 30 per cent earlier this year.

In contrast, the NBNCo Board awarded 775 company executives earning over $200,000 an average taxpayer-funded bonus of $50,000 each during the recession.

This happened despite NBNCo hiding $1.5 billion in cost blowouts, concealing a larger than expected $7.4 billion cash flow loss, and setting themselves misleading revenue targets.

Something is terribly wrong when the Board of a publicly owned enterprise operates with such contempt for taxpayers and community expectations.


Schedule A of the NBNCo and CEPU Technical Employees Agreement publishes salaries of call centre staff, network engineers and advanced telecommunications technicians as ranging from $61,036 to $87,891.

A Senate Question On Notice (question 13) states 179 employees earning less than $100,000 in FY2020 received a bonus. The NBNCo CEO said at a subsequent Senate hearing that NBN actually employed 1,761 people in that salary band in FY2020.

Senator KITCHING: How are we going on the band zero to $100,000?

Mr Rue: I have the answer for you. I don't have the zero to $50,000 and the $50,000 to $100,000.

Senator KITCHING: That's okay. I'll take the zero to $100,000.

Mr Rue: I've been advised for 30 June 2019 there were 1,855 employees that had a base salary of less than or equal to $100,000 and for 30 June 2020 that number was 1,761. "

Media release ends.

For my thoughts on this please see my editorial, 'One-in-ten' political beat-ups still the norm for the NBN.

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