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Scales to head NBN review

10 March 2014

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Former Telstra director and current chancellor of Swinburne university Bill Scales will lead the sixth National Broadband Network-related audit since the Coalition government came to power.

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Scales2Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says   Scales brings “a wealth of experience in public policy and telecommunications to the role”. He has been chairman of the Industry Commission (now the Productivity Commission), secretary of Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet and has been involved with other high-profile inquiries including the Bradley review of higher education and the Gonski review of schools funding.

The independent audit, due to report back within four months, will look into the policy processes leading up to the implementation of the NBN and the company which is overseeing its construction, NBN Co.

“The audit is to cover the period from April 2008 (when the Australian Government issued a request for proposals for an NBN solution) to May 2010 (when the implementation study for the NBN was released),” its terms of reference state.

The audit will also examine “the origin and basis for NBN Co’s mandate to run fibre-to-the-premises to 90-93% of Australian premises”.

Scales is expected to consult with organisations and individuals both inside and outside government.

A separate review of NBN Co’s governance is currently being undertaken by KordaMentha.

The other reviews included a strategy review already completed, a 90-day study of broadband availability and quality in Australia by the Department of Communications released last month, and a cost-benefit analysis by independent consultants also due in July.

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