Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network

December 02, 2021

I rise to express my deep dismay that it's end of the year and the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network has failed to table its report which was due months ago. The committee chair, the member for Barker, has been asked repeatedly by me, as deputy chair, about scheduling a meeting by email, text or in person but has let this final fortnight go without a meeting. In fact, the last meeting of the full committee was on 17 March.

This inquiry into the business case for the NBN and the experiences of small businesses began in October 2019. I take full responsibility for being unable to attend meetings in March this year to finalise the report, which was scheduled for a time when my community was underwater with serious floods. So the committee published a progress report on 31 March and was due to issue a report by 30 June. For eight months now, I have worked collaboratively—or so I thought—with the chair and with Independent committee members to try to get this report finalised. It is clear that the chair does not want a report tabled and is using every delaying tactic in the book to stop it. I can only see this as a deliberate strategy by the chair to avoid releasing findings that the government may not like about the quality of NBN coverage, executive bonuses and the challenges small businesses face, all of which we took public evidence on as part of the committee hearings. We take committee work seriously. Out of respect for witnesses who appeared before the committee, this report needs to be made public.