Coalition, Labor back new NBN committee

Labor flags concerns over committee rules

Labor has backed a move by the government to create a joint standing committee that will scrutinise the rollout of the National Broadband Network until its completion, which is expected in 2020.

Leader of the house Christopher Pyne this afternoon moved a motion that a “Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network be appointed to inquire into and report on the rollout of the national broadband network”.

Until the NBN is “declared built and fully operational”, assuming the Senate supports the committee's establishment, the committee will report annually on rollout progress.

The terms of reference include utilisation of the NBN, Australia’s comparative global position with regard to residential broadband infrastructure, take-up of NBN services and “any market, industry, or regulatory characteristics that may impede the efficient and cost‑effective rollout of the national broadband network”.

“We are pleased that there will be a committee established for parliamentary scrutiny of the NBN,” Labor’s broadband spokesperson Michelle Rowland said. However, the Labor MP said that she had some concerns over the rules governing the functioning of the committee.

The committee will have 17 members: Nine members of the House of Representatives (four each nominated by the Coalition and Labor, plus one non-aligned member) and eight senators (three each from Labor and the Coalition, one Greens senator, and one other cross-bench senator). (The government will nominate the committee’s chair and Labor its deputy chair.)

Rowland said she was concerned that under the government’s resolution, to achieve quorum a deliberative meeting of the committee would have to include a government member and an opposition member (and a total of five members overall).

The rules “could result in a perverse situation,” Rowland said. If three crossbenchers and seven Labor members turn up to a meeting but there is no government member present it wouldn’t be a quorum for a deliberative meeting of the committee, the MP said.

“We’ll be reserving our right to pursue this matter further in the Senate,” Rowland said.

Under the previous parliament, scrutiny of the NBN rollout was provided by a Senate committee dominated by non-government members.

At one point the Coalition senators on the former Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network called for it to be scrapped “and a new, properly constituted Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network be formed as existed in the previous Parliament”.

Coalition Senator Cory Bernardi in 2014 unsuccessfully sought crossbench support for a motion to disband the Senate NBN committee.

The committee tabled two interim reports that were critical of the government’s handling of the NBN rollout, before the double dissolution election caused the committee to be disbanded and a perfunctory final report was issued.

The motion to create the new joint standing committee was passed unopposed in the lower house.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NetworkingNational Broadband Network (NBN)national broadband networkbroadband

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Rohan Pearce

Rohan Pearce

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?