A case of two steps forward and one step back? Shadow Minister for Finance Joe Hockey has stated the NBN will get ‘the chop’ in a federal budget response at the National Press Club last week. Targeting the Government’s budget forecast, the Liberal party plans to return the budget to a surplus by saving an estimated $18 billion that was otherwise designated for the National Broadband Network. However in reply to Joe Hockey’s announcement, Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said the savings have no direct impact on the budget bottom line as the money would be used as an investment on an asset.
Perhaps the more alarming factor to surface (or lack thereof) from behind Mr Hockey’s speech, was the absence of an NBN alternative. It sounds a lot like the Lib’s are basically committed to scrapping Labor’s whole Digital Education Revolution which includes new high speed broadband, computers, networks and IT programs for schools and of course the entire National Broadband Network project.
It’s one thing to throw around speculative numbers on how the Liberal party can return the economy back into the black by scrapping this and that, but without making any real policy announcements on sound alternatives, suggests uncertainty for effectively mounting a credible case. This leaves significant doubt that the only achievable outcome that a new Liberal Government in power would bring, is a return to the lack lustred innovative and visionary ‘dark ages’ of pre 2007 Governemnt.