Review labels NBN rollout as "chaotic and rushed"

THE policy behind Labor's early $43 billion National Broadband Network rollout has been labelled chaotic and rushed, and not properly assessed by Cabinet, an independent review has found.

A review by the former head of the Productivity Commission, Bill Scales, was released by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday.

It analysed the development of the NBN policies between April 2008 and May 2010, finding the previous government relied on "flawed advice" and "rubber-stamped" the NBN just hours before the policy was released.

The broadband network was originally estimated at costing about $43 billion under Labor, before being revised down to about $30 billion when the Coalition took office, partly as a result of using fibre to the node, instead of to the home.

Mr Turnbull said the review had confirmed the previous government had failed to conduct an independent cost-benefit analysis before committing to the project.

He said the review also recommended all public infrastructure projects valued more than $1 billion be subject to such examinations, and the Abbott government was preparing to release its cost-benefit analysis of its version of the NBN.

The review also found the company tasked with rolling out the network, NBN Co, was "not fit for purpose" and the government failed to listen to advice that contradicted its aims for the network.

But Labor's Senator Stephen Conroy, who previously held Mr Turnbull's job, said the review was a "smokescreen", with the Abbott government spending "$10 million of taxpayers' money to attack the NBN".

Senator Conroy also said any question on the tight timeline Labor drew up for the project was the fault of construction companies, which "failed to deliver" on their contracts.


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