[LINK] Ergas offers to do NBN CBA for Senate
foconnor at ozemail.com.au
Fri Jun 18 17:57:27 EST 2010
Henry Ergas to do the Cost Benefit Analysis for the Nat/Lib dominated
This is the same Henry Ergas who lobbies for Telstra, and who
produces reports on demand for them?
This is the same Henry Ergas who has been anti-NBN almost from its inception?
Good to see that the coalition continues to maintain its even handed
non-obstructionist approach to things IT in this country.
Senate committee questions benefits of the NBN
THE posse of senators investigating the government's national
broadband network have wrapped up their two-year study with a final
call to dump the ambitious project, or at the very least to conduct a
study into the benefits and costs associated with the network.
The motion to dump the project was not unanimous on the
Coalition-dominated Senate select committee on the NBN.
Work has already begun on the ambitious project to build a 100
megabit per second fibre-optic network that would reach 90 per cent
of the population.
The committee agreed a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of the project
was needed so the public could assess whether it represented value
"It is not possible to make an assessment of whether the government's
NBN project will be a policy success because too much of the most
important detail of the network's design and future operating
arrangements remains outstanding," the report says..
"There is no detail and no demonstrated proof of value for money."
If the government refused to commission a cost-benefit analysis, the
committee said it should accept economist Henry Ergas's offer to
conduct one free of charge.
Mr Ergas had previously told the Senate committee that a cost-benefit
analysis could be completed within three days.
A cost-benefit analysis was omitted from the $25 million
implementation study on the financial viability of the NBN because it
was deemed superfluous, as the NBN was an election promise that had
to be built.
"The government had made a policy decision already.
"The purpose of the cost-benefit analysis is to determine whether
there is a case for doing something or not, but the government had
made that decision. It was an election commitment," Department of
Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy deputy secretary
Daryl Quinlivan told the committee last month.
The government is yet to take up Mr Ergas's offer.
Greens' Senator Scott Ludlam backed the call for a cost-benefit
analysis but was sceptical that it would provide all the answers the
committee was hoping for.
"We do not subscribe to a view that a cost-benefit analysis would
result in an unequivocal answer about the value of the government's
plans for the NBN. It would involve some highly speculative
predictions of benefits and their arbitrary and abstract
monetisation," Senator Ludlam said.
"Provided that these leaps and assumptions were explicitly
acknowledged and explained however, such an analysis could be a
useful articulation of precisely what considerations have informed
the government's decision to proceed with this project. Those
considerations would then undoubtedly be endorsed, challenged,
re-evaluated, augmented, etc in the public debate, which is a healthy
symptom of an open and democratic political culture and may well give
rise to useful new insights and suggestions."
The Senate committee also concluded that details of the operating
arrangements, network design and regulatory matters concerning the
NBN should have been decided before the commencement of the project.
"The committee is of the view that many of the issues identified
above will have a serious impact on the government and NBN Co's
ability to implement the NBN project on time and to budget, and just
as importantly, on whether the NBN project will achieve the benefits
the government has mooted as justification for it," the report says.
The government rejected the claims in the report, saying it was
getting on with its job of delivering affordable, high-speed
broadband to all Australians.
"The Opposition has made clear it would shut down the NBN, no matter
what the implementation study, or any other report, recommends," the
"The Opposition have had three shadow communications ministers and
still no alternative broadband plan for Australia's future."
Since its inception, the Senate select committee has received more
than 140 submissions from organisations and individuals and held 19
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