NBN CONTRACTING CHANGES A SMALL, OVERDUE STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Etu National

The union representing communications and electrical workers has cautiously welcomed changes to NBN contracting arrangements announced today, but said that greater transparency around compliance, governance and oversight is still needed.

Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union national secretary Allen Hicks said that changes to the contracting model were long overdue, and that previous contracting inadequacies had already caused significant harm.

"We have been calling for a change to the model after two years of significant failures in the delivery model,” he said.

“These have resulted in workers being denied basic rights and entitlements, and have slowed the rate at which residents are being connected to the NBN.”

Mr Hicks said that investigation of outstanding controversies that had arisen in the NBN rollout was still needed.

“We have seen workers left in the lurch in Tasmania after Q Fibre unexpectedly quit the state there, and there have been deeply concerning allegations of waste and mismanagement at top-tier contractor Visionstream in that state as well.”

“The fact that Visionstream have been summarily handed five more years of work in this latest round of contracts, without any substantial investigation of the alleged wastage in Tassie, shows that far more needs to be done in terms of compliance and oversight of the NBN rollout.”

The changes came after a series of embarrassing revelations over the past two years.
Most recently, Queensland company Q Fibre, which unexpectedly ended its Tasmanian contract last week, has faced accusations around exploitation of 457 visa workers in the Northern Territory, which were reported in the Australian Financial Review yesterday.

The Launceston Examiner reported on the alleged wastage and mismanagement at Visionstream last week.

MEDIA CONTACT: Lachlan Williams – 0447 682 027 – lachlan@etuaustralia.org.au

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