Australia

Mar 5, 2014

‘No path to privatisation’? Spectre of NBN float raises hopes — and hackles

Legislation prevents the NBN from being sold for some time, but plenty of bankers want to get their hands on it sooner. The Greens and Labor say it should remain in public hands -- what does Clive Palmer think?

Paddy Manning

Crikey business editor

In a heritage room at Sydney's Westin, the inaugural presentation of NBN Co's financial results had all the hallmarks of a softening-up exercise, giving the throng of assembled brokers and investment bankers their first clear view of (an admittedly fairly dismal) set of accounts.

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5 comments

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5 thoughts on “‘No path to privatisation’? Spectre of NBN float raises hopes — and hackles

  1. R. Ambrose Raven

    Nation-wide infrastructure is going to be a significant cost at the national level. Get over it. Obviously many of the armchair critics would have been critical of a Sydney Harbour Bridge designed for anything more than two lanes of traffic and a pedestrian walkway.

    NBN problems are just reality trampling over Rabid Right ideology. We should use the well-tested government business enterprise model for NBN as a public monopoly:
    …1…Turnbull wishes to save Murdoch’s Foxtel monopoly by creating a dog’s-breakfast of an NBN. As with Big Finance we see the perversion of public policy to benefit private interests.
    …2…the all-FTTP NBN could be built by mid-2024 – just three years behind its original schedule and only four years after the completion of Turnbull’s hybrid model. Gross cost would be $29 billion more, but Turnbull’s costs and times were gross underestimates anyway. Had it been started in 2005, it would now be more than half-completed.
    …3…NBN under Labor was until recently following much the same ideological approach as Turnbull – denying the integration of work, workforce, and funding that was once standard for government business enterprises. Hence the failures.
    …4…Laberal determination to flog everything off naturally created endless problems of coordination, which will continue until the network is re-nationalised.
    …5…”Do it once and do it right”. If it is not a cross-subsidised universal-access public monopoly ultimately with the complete replacement (not bypassing, replacement) of copper, the whole system will become even more of a dog’s breakfast.
    …6…inequality of access and choice of second-best are why Turnbull’s fraudband is cheaper. It offloads the at least $3,000 cost of connection from NBN (which can afford it) to the user (where businesses will enjoy tax deductibility, while consumers will find the cost very challenging) – creating exactly the inequality of access and opportunity that the Noalition is so anxious to create.
    …7…Don’t borrow from the usurers, borrow from the RBA (as Hockey should have done with OUR $8.8 billion). Banksters are perfectly happy with printing money as long as it is used to drive up financial asset values (the values of their assets, including Sydney dwellings); it is past time to do so for a useful public purpose, though – I agree – the prospect of using public funds for public benefit will seem appalling.

    But the promoters and financiers still get their massive cut for creating the mess, then another for a patch-up, then another for another patch-up.

  2. CML

    Agree the NBN should stay completely in public hands.
    Let us all hope these lunatics in the current government don’t start flogging it off before the next election in 2016. We will then have an opportunity to save the NBN by returning a Labor government. After all, it was their idea in the first place, and they should be allowed to complete it using the initial plan!
    That way we will all be better off.

  3. Patrick

    I think if Joe managed to sell the NBN for a large sum to give temporary respite to a budget problem, then Alanis Morissette would have to rewrite the lyrics to Ironic along the lines of … It’s a budget windfall from a project you slagged

  4. John64

    Obviously many of the armchair critics would have been critical of a Sydney Harbour Bridge designed for anything more than two lanes of traffic and a pedestrian walkway.

    Fun Fact™: As far as “do it once, do it right” goes, as a future expansion option the Sydney Harbour Bridge was designed to hold a second level of traffic.

    However, the bridge cannot be upgraded now as it’s so old, and it’s manufacturing process was so poor (high standard for the day, but poor compared to today’s engineering) that it can’t actually hold the second level. There’s an issue around whether the rivets would actually hold.

    As such, the only option to actually upgrade the bridge is to take it down and build an entirely new one in its place – which is rather expensive.

    Oh and by the way, we built a tunnel anyway.

  5. John64

    Oh and I forgot to mention, the Sydney Harbour Bridge project almost bankrupted NSW – in fact I believe they had to be bailed out by the Federal Government. It’s original estimated cost was roughly $4 million and it took 50+ years to pay-off.

    I just like to mention these whenever someone casually throws out the “Sydney Harbour Bridge” as a great example of a future, forward-thinking project.

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