What Happened With The NBN This Week?

Power struggle! Sorry. I just really wanted to say that at the front of a story like a newspaper journalist might. Moving on. This week the Federal government and the New South Wales state governments have gone head to head over the cost of power bills following the introduction of the National Broadband Network. Who is telling the truth and who should buzz off?

This is no petty war of words like the battle between Conroy and Turnbull or the battle between Huawei and, well, pretty much everyone. The NSW State Government and NBN Co are heading straight for a date before a judge in the Federal Court over access to power poles for NBN fibre cabling. State Finance Minister, Greg Pearce, said that he has already made several concessions with NBN Co about the price for pole access, and wouldn't go a cent lower. An interesting statement considering Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's rebuttal. Conroy claims that other states have allowed access for around $30 to $40 per pole, while NSW is allegedly asking for $140 per pole.

Conroy and NBN Co is accusing the Liberal NSW government of trying to gouge taxpayers and delay the roll-out of the super-fast fibre-optic network. NBN Co's Mike Quigley is claiming that NSW is doing itself a disservice, because better broadband infrastructure means more investment in the state.

Also in the power arena, electricity provider Ausgrid is claiming that the NBN on local power poles will push up power bills.

Finally, NBN Co has made a new hire: a chief information officer! Turns out it's someone from the Sol Trujillo era of Telstra.



    This is weird, how has it taken them 2-3+ years to get to the first point of negotiation?
    (eg how to deliver the nbn)
    One would think that this would be covered or flagged as problematic in the first few months.

      The problem isnt that its taken this long to get to negotiation, the rollout is underway. The problem is that it's taken the NSW Government this long to realise what they're being paid per connection on the power poles. Now that they've realised its relatively small, they think they're getting screwed when in reality they're not they're actually getting the same as every other state (uniform pricing and rollout).

      The NSW Government want to charge more for this access than its worth. Now the Federal Gov are pissed and dont want to pay it. Realistically, given the NSW Government is the only one to have a problem with the pricing and didnt raise this with the ACCC, legally they dont have a leg to stand on.

      O'Farrell's numpties are holding this up, noone else.

    Ok.. We really need to keep Labor in Government. If the idiots running the NSW and Qld Governments are anything to go by, we're all screwed if they get into Canberra.

      After a decade or more of labor Governments in each State, the current Coalition governments have huge fincial messes to fix. Niether are great governments, but both are infinitely superior to the alternative. In case you have fofgotten just how bad Labor governments can be, then just look at our Federal government - easily thw rost government in our history. And let us not forget the corruption from Labor, past and present, more of which unfolds every day!

        Just because those states are in some forms of debt (albeit relatively minor) has ZERO to do with the ability to negotiate on current projects. NSW Government is attempting to hold NBNCo to ransom, even tho legally they cant do it.

        You've just tried to make an arguement based on zip. GJ.

          @Master T QLD is currently in $65 Billion debt with that expected to balloon out to $100 billion by 2018/19 financial year unless they cut spending. That is hardly minor debt, considering there are roughly 4.6million people living in QLD, that is roughly $14,000 debt per person in the state.

          If the Coalition governments don't cut spending then the interest alone on (current $65 billion) is $2.5 billion per year which works out to be $550 per person in the state. Meaning if there was 0 debt, the state government would be able to use that $2.5 billion extra money towards helping people in the state, instead of paying off interest.

        How does that line of argument explain the 6x greater price that NSW is charging?

      Cant tell if your trolling...

      If we keep labor in power for another 4 years we'll probably be another 150 billion in debt! NSW and QLD are broke! That's the reason why when Liberals get into power they need to cut spending.
      Labor has been in charge at a state level for so long and gotten so many states into so much debt that whenever the Liberals get into power they need to be "the bad guys" and cut spending so that they can get the states out of debt.

        Federal Labor are only having problems because they are a minority Govt and Abbot wants in so bad he can taste it. Federal labor are doing a decent job imo. However I will agree that the Qld state Labor Govt did get very greedy.

          Federal labor F****D up on so many things from the overspending money on school building programs that schools didn't actually need to wasting money on the insulation scheme that caused deaths and had to be aborted, to the biggest current issue, the over 40,000 asylum seekers costing the government nearly $100,000 each per year which could be better spent getting our own Aussie born battlers out off the streets and into homes and jobs!
          And dont get me started on jJuLIAR and the carbon tax!
          Labor is toxic and has no idea how to properly run a country. The only one thing i agree with them on is that Australia does need to upgrade our broadband network. Although so far they have actually achieved sweet F all on that front either.

          With your Abbot wants in so bad he can taste it comment, At least he has stuck to his values and wouldn't sell out the country to Greens and Independants just to become PM!
          JuLIAR did anything and everything she could to get in, from flat out lying about the carbon tax to giving the independants and the greens anything they wanted for their votes.

          I may not agree with everything the Liberals/ Coalition does, but at least they stick to their values and beliefs.

            RE: Abbot sticks to his values: its easy to stick to ones values when you have very few or none like him.

            Ever since his comment "We are the opposition, its our job to oppose" (even if he actually thought it was a good idea) he lost my vote for ever and any chance of me every respecting him as a politician or person. If the two parties could stop acting like 3 year olds who both want the last lolly pop and instead work together we would be much better off.

            I can tell that this probably won't sway you a bit, but for others noting the fallacies in your argument, this link sums it up appropriately. Good on Crikey.

            JuLIar is the new Godwin's.
            If Gillard got a majority gov't there would not have been a carbon tax. It's called negotiating.

        Oh this "we are in debt" stuff is ridiculous. The states and the country are doing pretty wonderfully actually. Through careful spending they were able to successfully weather a global financial storm that almost sunk everyone else, including the very heaviest hitters. People act like that never happened and like the US and Europe aren't continuing to feel it. That's simply childish.
        Yes we have people buying our resources, but if the government didn't wisely take their share in taxes all those billions would be secreted in the bank accounts of a few greedy plutocrats and never seen again.

        Whatever your political persuasion, the current government is doing a pretty good job on a world scale.

          ozoneocean, your closed mind attitude it ridiculous, we "weathered" the financial crises because when it struck labor had only just gotten into power and still had A SURPLUS OF $40 BILLION!

          We are now $150 Billion in debt! in 5 years Labor OVERSPENT 190 Billion Dollars. That isn't spent, that is overspent. As in spent over how much we make each year!
          Look at the USA they are Trillions in debt and completely unable to get out of debt now because they can't cut spending because that would make their people lose jobs and cant pay back the interest they owe, which just keeps on getting higher and making them have less money per year to spend on their people.
          If we don't actually reign in spending and cut debt we will end up like the USA, unable to pay back our debt without crippling our country!
          We only did so well during the last GFC because we were left in such a good position by the Howard government!

          Debt management is a simple concept. If i earn $50,000 per year and have to repay a $250,000 mortgage with 5%interest means that the first year i am paying $12,500 in interest alone without reducing my debt at all, making my total available income go from $50,000 per year to $37,500 per year without actually making my situation better off at all. But if i paid an extra $5000 per year for 10 years then for those 10 years by available income would be lower, but at the end i would have $2500 per year more money to spend as i have reduced my debt by $50,000.

          It is the same concept with the countries financial situation, YOU HAVE TO PAY OFF DEBT TO STOP PAYING INTEREST AND RAISE THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF MONEY AVAILABLE!

          It is a very simple concept, I'm only 23 years old and i have a firm grasp on it, but not one person in the labor party seems to have a real world attitude with money.

            When I was 23 I was in that sort of mindset myself. Don't worry, there's time yet :)

            @ Brian
            You are 23, obviously a Lib fanatic and apparently know it all, going by your comments above.
            Just a few points tho':

            - Queensland's state of finance - Mr Costello's report into Qld's finances has been proven to be biased ie bought and paid for to support the LNP's claims. It is full of inaccuracies, faulty premises and unrealistic worst case scenario assumptions, such as expecting that the double whammy of massive cyclone damage in the north and neverbefore seen flooding of the southern half of the state, a la events of 2011, to happen every single year between now and 2018. This year's double whammy hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure it's not too far away, 'cos Mr Costello said so.

            - During the GFC, the money spent by the government on the schools was done so as to prop up the building industry. This kept people in jobs when they would otherwise have been unemployed, maybe lost their homes and family units.
            The deaths caused by the insulation scheme was not the fault of the government. Sure, the money for the scheme was put out there by the government, but it was the (very few) contractors whose greed got the better of them that hired completely unqualified people, put them in a confined space with live wiring and then gasped with amazement when accidents occurred. "oh noes, there's been an accident. We put an untrained person in position to be killed, but it's not our fault. It's the government's fault for putting money out there, forcing us into dodgy acts to grab a chunk of it. The government made us GREEDY!" Puh-leeze.

            - Speaking of the GFC and the wonderful $40B surplus left by the outgoing Liberal Party, do you realize what a trifling figure that is when you consider that the Howard government was in power during arguably the most prosperous decade in Australian history, including the golden mining boom years between 2000 and 2006? I know you were, what, 8 when Mr Howard took the reigns, and 18 when he left, so you probably weren't paying a lot of attention to what the government was doing at the time (and hey what kid does?), but I'd suggest that you talk to some people who lived through that period as contributing adults, and get a clue.
            Here's a word for you, "pork-barrelling". Maybe look it up. The Howard government were amazingly good at it. The Howard government was a wonderful caretaker government - maintained the country, made a few controversial decisions, sold a couple of assets that maybe they shouldn't have, and generally kept the status quo. But one thing they didn't do, was invest in new infrastructure. Zip, zilch, nada, not a skerrick of major infrastructure. Prosperity years, while only paying the maintenance, but not building anything new, means we really should have been in even better shape when the Rudd government took power.
            So how amazing was that surplus? The answer is not really amazing at all. Certainly handy to have when the GFC struck, but not amazing.

            Reality is, no matter whether the LNP or Labour party is in charge, there are always up- and down-sides to the record. And credit where credit is due, the Labour government got Australia thru the GFC in arguably better shape than any other country in the Western world. Partly due to the surplus left by the previous LNP government, but mainly due to their willingness to spend the money to keep the country ticking over, and their willingness to invest in infrastructure.

            TL,DR: There are no GODS in politics, so please stop making out that it'll be all rainbows and butterflies if the LNP takes the next election. It'll just be more of the same.

              Ok so you still don't seem to understand, the Coalition Government is under a policy not to spend money until it has it. The last term of the Howard government was when they finally achieved a surplus. In the government that was to go against the Rudd government they actually increased forecast spending by $15 billion per year, the Rudd government increased by $45 billion per year over what the then current Howard led Coalition was spending.

              The simple thing is, you call it a care-taker government because they didn't invest heavily in infrastructure, but they never said they would at the time. They said they would get Australia out of debt and they did it. Then after Australia was out of debt they would invest in infrastructure in a financially responsible way, ie not making us overspend $190 Billion in just 5 years.

              You can already see in the new federal government spending the pressure the public is putting on them to get us a surplus, the Gillard government projected a cut of $23 Billion per year for the next 4 years just to get us a $1 billion per year surplus. That is per year, not a total debt free surplus.
              Meaning that in 4 years our debt will only be reduced by $4 billion making total Aus debt $146 billion. And that is if you believe them, they have been saying for the last 2 budgets before this one that they would give us a yearly surplus.
              Look at the QLD floods, the government has no money to spend to help the people so has to borrow it and then put a flood levy on ordinary hard working Australians to pay back what they borrowed.

              With your comment " And credit where credit is due, the Labour government got Australia thru the GFC in arguably better shape than any other country in the Western world" - Australia was in the "best shape" of any country in the Western world prior to the GFC. Unlike the USA and most EU countries we didn't already have massive debt, and could use our surplus to help the country.

              Read this article please if you still think the Howard era government had it so easy ; http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/punch-labors-waste-to-blame-for-dud-budget/

                Lets not forget that John Howard went on record crediting Paul Keatings with a large portion of the Liberal Goverments economic policy. Keating helped put the country on the right track and Howard and Costello followed on with that.

                Also a LARGE bulk of Americas debt is state owned. Meaning the interest paid ends up going back to the government themselves. Only a small portion is foreign owned. Also if they were as bad as you make out their bond yeilds would be RISING. Yet they are at incredible lows. Additionally the interest rate being paid is incredibly low.

                Another point is about how Howard managed the greatest economic boom in our countries history. It is financially irresponsible to not use debt as the great tool it is. Debt when used and leveraged correctly is VITAL to growing an economy. A lot of people say a country/economy should be run like a business. Well it's a GREAT business policy to 1. Operate a shot term deficit when their is a global down turn. By doing so it keeps the economy moving and avoids a recession, high unemployment, stupidly low interest rates and massively reduced revenue. 2. Operating a government debt can be good. So long as that debt was used on things that actually contribute to economic prosperity as in infastructure tht actively employs people and/of brings in revenue for the goverment (NBN).

                The stimulus package introduced by the labor government was brilliant. It focused on ensuring the PEOPLE could afford to live without having to go into bankruptcy. It kept the economy ticking over. Other countries spent more on theirs (despite their debt they could afford it) yet got little response due to not investing in infastructure. That was a mistake!!

                If labor were as bad as you suggest we should have HIGH unemployment and interest rates down at 0-1%.

                Howard did a good job, but it could of been better. The man is not god, he would admit it himself. I suggest reading his own book. Very enlightening.

                Lastly. Your 23 so its expected you think you have all the answeres. Have you done any economics degrees at Uni? What's your educational background to understand the nature of economics, micro and macro economics, the trade market etc etc? What's your level of understanding on inflation and its desired levels and why they are set at that, why low or high interest rates are a bad thing, how government really has little influence on interest rates, how our regulation on banks differs from that of the US. What's your standing on the profit made by our big banks... GOOD OR BAD?

                At the end of the day it's simple. The Rudd goverenment did a good job at leading this country through the GFC. The numbers PROOVE it. Those numbers can be twisted and manipulated (as columnists like Bolt and Ackerman love to do). Just in the same way I could twist Howard's numbers and make his leadership look horrible.

          "Through careful spending"

          Was great for a laugh before bed. Thanks for that.

    Lets face it, the Liberal NSW government wants to privatise the whole electricity power infrastructure. By getting the NBN (ie tax payers) to pay more for accessing power poles it means that the they can flog the thing for more. They do not care about the NBN as it won't help them in any way they can foresee nor will it make them any money (beyond what they are currently trying to gouge). I hope the courts stomp them real soon.

    So give them a miss and service my area :D

    Two easy solutions

    1) Just take the $100 extra per pole total cost off of any federal money provided to the state until its reclaimed maybe even + a few million for admin fees (of course this will still benefit the libs in the short term as they can add the extra cost to the NBNs rollout cost and blame labor for more cost blowouts)

    2) Skip NSW completely, focus on the co-operative states, it'll drive the cost of the NBN down, and who really cares about NSW anyway :) of course this would then give ammo to the Libs claiming unfair treatment or some other bullshit.

    Personally i prefer #2 if it will get the rest of Australia done ~15% faster

    I live on the Mornington Peninsula in/Just out side of Melbourne..
    Our area has always been a very popular holiday hotspot and recently over the last few years has doubled, tripled, quadrupled in visitors during the holiday periods.
    We had Steven Conroy out a few weeks back addressing the community, stating that wireless is the future, ignoring the fact that you need wired to have effective wireless, and that down here we have neither good wired or good wireless, 4G is just a dream for us and probably won't be supplied to our area for years yet to come.. which sucks completely but is still better than the estimate that it will take up to 15 years for us to get the NBN down here, and we only live approximately 30kms out from the Melbourne suburbs. I am so looking forward to the summer period this year when again our pretty crappy 3G network will come to a complete stall as soon as everyone arrives for their holidays.

    We live in a zoo and are being held back from our given right to have all Australians benefit with access to high-definition video conferencing, educational and telehealth applications,
    games downloaded on demand from the internet and remote working solutions. We have worse internet than South Korea, that only 15 years ago was an almost horse and cart country... Our governments Left, Right, Middle road are all holding us back instead of moving us forward, each opposing the other rather than instigate a unified front to benefit all Australians.

    NBN, Labour, Liberals, Nationals, Greenies.... all are absolutely pathetic!!!!!!!!!!!
    Get your acts together...
    Tax, GST & Carbon Payer

    "Conroy and NBN Co is accusing the Liberal NSW government of trying to gouge taxpayers"

    And why not? Every other bastard from the executives down to the unions are doing it.

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