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New Govt.-Controlled Committee To Ride Herd On NBN Rollout

Defence Industry Minister – and leader of the House of Representatives – Christopher Pyne has moved to set up a new committee to scrutinise the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

Made up of both Senate and House members, it will report to each house on the NBN’s progress annually until it is built and fully operational, Pyne said yesterday.

It would replace a previous joint committee on the NBN which was chaired by former independent MP Rob Oakshott. That body ceased to exist following the 2013 general election. A separate Senate select committee on the NBN was also disbanded after it tabled its final report earlier this year.

Pyne has proposed that the new committee should have 17 members – four Coalition MPs, four Labor MPs and one “non-aligned” MP, all from the House of Representatives; and three Coalition, three Labor, one Green, and one Independent from the Senate.

It would be chaired by one of the government members, giving the Government a control it did not have when Oakshott had the top spot.

Apart from its ovsersight of the NBN rollout, the new committee will be tasked with keeping a check of take-up rates; how the residential rollout compares with overseas nations; and any obstacles that might impede the “efficient and cost-effective” rollout.

Pyne’s motion was passed unopposed.

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