Press Release: 22 January 2009.

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy today announced that the final report from the Panel of Experts on submissions to the National Broadband Network process has been received.

The Minister stated that the receipt of this report marks a significant milestone in the NBN process: "The Government is now considering the Panel of Experts' report."

"Until this point, the evaluation of proposals received in the National Broadband Network process has proceeded at arm's length from the Government."

"The Government had not seen the contents of any proposal, nor had it received detailed briefings on any proposals from the Panel of Experts."

"The Government will give this serious and detailed report careful consideration."

The Minister emphasised that while the Government had now received the final report of the Panel of Experts, the NBN process and associated probity requirements remained active.

The disclosure of the contents of the Panel of Experts' report before the completion of the process, particularly any negotiation phase, has the potential to prejudice the outcome of the process. As such, the Government will not be commenting on the contents of the report.

The Minister also took the opportunity to congratulate the Panel of Experts for their contribution to the NBN process: "I would like to thank the members of the Panel of Experts for their hard work."

"The Panel has made an invaluable contribution to the realisation of the Government's commitment to the roll out of the National Broadband Network."

The Minister also acknowledged the important contribution to the process by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which had provided its own report as input to the Panel's consideration.


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