Fresh from a rest on the backbench, Stephen Conroy returned to the fray with the admission that he did not do his homework on the national broadband network and had underestimated the scale of the project to which he had so recklessly committed the nation (and its taxpayers).
But then, with that uncharacteristic exercise in contrition off his chest, he launched into another homework-free, fact-free attack on the Coalition claiming that we had abandoned our commitment to a cost benefit analysis of the NBN project.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As stated in our Broadband Policy (page 13) released in April 2013, the Coalition will conduct an independent cost benefit analysis of the project and a review of the regulations relating to broadband.
Details of the composition of the review panel will be announced shortly.
The terms of reference of the cost benefit analysis and regulatory inquiry as set out in the policy are restated here:-
"Independent cost-benefit analysis and review of regulation
This review will analyse the economic and social costs and benefits (including both direct and indirect
effects) arising from the availability of broadband of differing properties via various technologies, and to
make recommendations on the role of government support and a number of other longer-term industry
matters. The study (which will be conducted at arms-length from any previous NBN activities) will report
within six months on these questions:
• What is the direct and indirect value, in economic and social terms, of increased broadband
speeds, and to what extent should broadband be supported by government?
• Given the Coalition’s overarching policy objectives, what are the optimal long-term ownership
and regulatory arrangements for NBN Co?
• How should the activities of NBN Co be constrained given its mandate to efficiently build,
operate and maintain a wholesale-only access network?
• How should NBN Co’s capital investment, products and pricing be reviewed and regulated?
• Are NBN Co’s products structured to promote efficiency, consumer choice and competition?"