Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.
Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.

Hartsuyker attacks transparency

IN HIS role as Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, local Federal member Luke Hartsuyker has blasted Independent MP Rob Oakeshott.

Mr Hartsuyker said the Independent's comments over the lack of transparency of the National Broadband Network are nothing more than a weasel warning.

In Tuesday's Financial Review Mr Oakeshott called on the Government 'to start to really tell the truth' about the NBN and raised questions about the financial and construction updates which have been presented to the NBN parliamentary committee.

Mr Oakeshott is chair of that committee.

Mr Hartsuyker said Mr Oakeshott was displaying breathtaking hypocrisy on the NBN.

"Mr Oakeshott supported the Labor Government and voted in the House of Representatives against a Coalition move to subject the NBN to the scrutiny of the Auditor General," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"Mr Oakeshott supported the Government when it refused to subject the NBN, which is the biggest infrastructure project in our nation's history, to the rigour of an independent cost-benefit analysis.

"And Mr Oakeshott is the Chair of the NBN parliamentary committee to which NBN Co has refused to provide fresh updates on cost blow-outs and roll-out delays."

In response to Mr Hartsuyker's claims, Mr Oakeshott said the National Party front bencher should check his facts.

"Mr Hartsuyker is incorrect to imply I do not support the role of independent Auditor-General," Mr Oakeshott said.

"Indeed, one of the private members bills that have successfully passed this Parliament is one that I sponsored on expanding the Auditor-General's powers. Mr Hartsuyker voted against this.

"I support an independent Auditor-General and support greater powers for him to do his job."

The Lyne MP added Mr Hartsuyker was incorrect to imply he did not support a cost-benefit analysis of the NBN project.

"In parliament, I voted alongside Mr Hartsuyker in support of this issue being put by Shadow Communications Minister Mr Turnbull," he said.

Mr Hartsuyker didn't just have in his southern parliamentary neighbour in his sights.

He put the spotlight firmly on the Gillard Government with his comments regarding the NBN.

"According to its Corporate Plan, by March 2013 the NBN should be passing 5,200 premises every day but Australians have no idea of the roll-out's progress because the information NBN Co provides is always out of date and vague," he said.

"Its six monthly reports to the committee have been nothing more than a sham."

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