Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell today applauded the major back-down by Communications Minister Senator Conroy in extending the deadline for tenders for the National Broadband Network.
Senator Boswell said “the extension was a major victory for the industry, consumers and the Coalition who had been fighting for more time in the tender process”.
“This is a welcome back-down by the Minister; it was ridiculous to expect such a major infrastructure tender to proceed in such a short time-frame.”
Senator Boswell raised the issue in a major speech in the Senate last week where he challenged the Communications Minister to extend the deadline for the $4.7 Billion taxpayer funded National Broadband Network proposals to allow competitors more time to deliver a value for money project.
Senator Boswell stated in his speech that, "It takes two or three weeks even to put in a bid for something simple, and here we are faced with the most complex bid, on the most complex piece of infrastructure ever to be introduced in Australia, and the minister thinks he can do it in two months."
"You do not just go and buy a network off the shelf. It has to be designed. It has to be structured. The minimum it will cost is $4.7 Billion. It will probably go to $11 Billion when the telcos put in their money."
"You cannot just design and put forward a tender to the government in two months, and you certainly cannot do it if you do not have the information," Senator Boswell said.
“We are all very relieved that the Minister has backed down on this crazy timetable for the broadband tender. If only he would revisit his government’s raid on the $2 Billion Communications Fund that the Nationals set aside to fund infrastructure in rural, regional and remote communities, we would all breathe a little easier.”
“This back-down by Minister Conroy does beg the question, if he admits that there have been errors in the time-frames for tenders; then what other problems are there with the process?”