Friday, February 05, 2010

The ANAO report again

I suggested yesterday that the Liberals will find no joy in the ANAO report on the NBN.

I neglected to mention the spin that some such as Stephen Bartholomuesz put on this that the report detailed a "$30M failure". The figure includes the costs of industry to respond, not just the costs to Governmenment.

Meanwhile the ANAO report criticised the NBN process for being a one step rather than two step process, going straight to RFP withut an intermediate RFI. It could be argued that the first process really ended up just being the RFI from which NBN 2.0 was built.

But getting too stuck in to Conroy will be hard given the ANAO has also just reported that the former PM awarded $100M in water projects against departmental advice.

Meanwhile Conroy's defence at a personal level has been detailed in today's Oz, which outlines in a bit more detail the battle between the Minister and his Department.

This continued a duel begun when Senator Conroy was opposition spokesman on telecommunications and highly critical of the department and its head. From the beginning, he knew the department's tender process was flawed, and he was as frustrated by its failings as those attempting to bid for the right to build the relatively modest fibre-to-the-node system.

But his complaints and attempts to change the process were overruled by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and its acting secretary, Jenny Goddard, Scott's partner.

Estimates next week will indeed be interesting! If I were the coalition I'd change tactics. I'd get out of the way on the NBN - at the moment they are the excuse for the Government. "We haven't been able to proceed any faster because of obstruction by the coalition in passing enabling legislation". The infamous Senate order on not debating NBn legislation until the expert panel report from NBN 1.0 is released is technically the touch point.

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