The results of the Federal Government’s audit of the NBN public policy process, conducted by Mr Bill Scales AO, have been released.

The purpose of the audit was to investigate the processes that led to the establishment of the NBN project and:

  1.  Outline the public policy process undertaken to support decisions by the Australian Government relevant to the NBN policy. This should include a description of:
  • (i) The advice and processes that led to the establishment of NBN Co.
  • (ii) The origin and basis for NBN Co’s mandate to run fibre to the premises (FTTP) to 90-93 per cent of Australian premises.
  • (iii) The approach taken in regard to obtaining cost benefit or independent reviews of the project.

2.  Provide recommendations in relation to the NBN public policy process. This should include recommendations on what future actions should be taken by the Australian Government when considering major projects/reforms such as the NBN.

Overall, the final report released a number of recommendations in regards to the establishment of future large infrastructure projects in Australia.

These included:

  • Political parties committing to have any large infrastructure projects announced as election promises  fully and independently costed by the Productivity Commission or Infrastructure Australia before the project proceeds and releasing a full project plan to the public.
  • Departments ensuring that they have subject matter experts to help them meet strategic objectives.
  • The use of stock taking procedures such as the Productivity Commission public inquiry process when required.
  • Conducting an independent cost benefit analysis on infrastructure projects with costs over $1bn before starting the project.
  • An increased focus on determining appropriate timeframes for large projects.

The full report can be read here.

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