A series of court cases has revealed the extent to which some of the key stakeholders of the National Broadband Network are pushing for the Federal Government to be forced to scrap the NBN, which has been under construction since the early 1990s.
The key stakeholders are the Victorian Government, the Victorian State Government and the State Government of Victoria.
The Victorian Government says the NBN is a “significant investment” that has been built on an “overdue level of investment”.
The Victorian State Department says the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBRC) has a “clear responsibility to ensure that the State’s national broadcasting system is built to deliver the highest quality of services to Victorians, and to provide the best possible value for money for taxpayers.” “
The State Government believes the NBN will enhance the quality of life in Victorian communities and that it is in the best interests of all Victorians that it continues to be funded.”
The Victorian State Department says the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBRC) has a “clear responsibility to ensure that the State’s national broadcasting system is built to deliver the highest quality of services to Victorians, and to provide the best possible value for money for taxpayers.”
The State Government says that in its submission, it “believes the NBN has met its legal obligations and should be delivered”.
In its submission to Judge George Williams, the State Department argued the NBN “is a significant investment that has recently been delivered, has been delivered on an appropriate and reasonable timetable and on an equitable terms” and “should be funded on a commercial basis.”
The submission also said the NBN should be a “state-owned enterprise” because it was a “national network that should be in the public interest”.
The State Department’s submission to Mr Williams also said “the NBN is the only network in the nation that can deliver high-quality high-speed broadband to Victorian communities, providing Australians with reliable, high-capacity, fibre-optic communications to the home”.
The NBN is in fact a privately funded network with the Commonwealth, Victoria and New South Wales funding it.
However, in December 2016, the Federal Minister for Communications, Mike Quigley, released the following statement to the ABC: “The NBN is an ongoing investment and the Federal Department of Communications has always been clear about that.
The National Broadcast System is a National Government-owned business, funded by taxpayers.
The NBN does not receive any taxpayer subsidy, and therefore the NBN can be funded in full by private capital and private investment.”
The NBN was also criticised by the Victorian Greens for the cost of the NBN project, with Mr Yarwood calling it a “major waste of taxpayers money”.
The Victorian Labor Government also questioned the cost-effectiveness of the project, saying the NBN was “futile” and that “we could have a more cost-effective network”.
But the Federal Opposition has said the Coalition has a responsibility to “invest” in the NBN because it “needs” it.
“What the Federal Coalition should do is invest in the National Government’s national broadband network and build the NBN in a way that maximises the value of taxpayers’ money, and maximises job creation,” said Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
“But this Government’s NBN is just a small part of that.
It’s also the wrong thing to do, and a failure to do so.”
In his submission to this week’s Federal Court, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says the Federal government “should have the financial resources to build the network” and said the State is “very supportive of the NBN”.
In his own submission to Court, Mr Yarwoods said that the Victorian government’s “clear obligations” are “for a project that is a significant investments in the future of Victoria’s national communications network.”
The Federal Government has not yet responded to the Victorian Opposition’s submissions.