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nbn 2017 Corporate Plan Launch

E  & OE

Subject: nbn

FIFIELD:
Ladies  and Gentlemen, good morning. I think you will all recall that about this time  last year, Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Morrow stood before you with an ambitious  plan, which was to see three-quarters of the nation with the nbn by 2018.

It's a  plan that envisaged a doubling of the network year on year.

And  one year on, the news is good. We have had the first doubling of the network  successfully achieved. As you would have seen in the full-year results released  last week, nbn is ahead on rollout and ahead of its financial forecasts.

The  latest results, together with the Corporate Plan which we're releasing today,  shows three things. Three things about the rollout of the nbn under the  Coalition, under a change of management and a team with a new attitude.

And  those three things are that, first, the company has demonstrated it can meet  ambitious rollout targets in pursuit of what is the biggest infrastructure  project in the history of the nation.

The  second thing it demonstrates is that nbn does have a robust, stable and  transparent plan to build on the progress to date.

And  the third thing is that the multi-technology mix has proven to be the right  decision, seeing nbn roll out the network sooner, and at less cost to Australians.

The  multi-technology mix I should dwell upon just for one moment. It gives nbn the  flexibility to deploy the most efficient technology for a particular area - and  that flexibility is reflected in the corporate plan.

The  approach also allows nbn to refresh or augment as it needs to, in the light of  new, more cost-efficient technologies as they emerge and also as customer  expectations change.

As I  mentioned, the network is ahead of schedule and ahead of its financial targets.  The activation run rate was 90,000 connections over the past month. And I  mention that because you'll remember that this was a ramp that Jason Clare said  that even 'Evel Knievalcouldn't mount', and I do wish Jason well in the  new challenge he has in his portfolio.

It's  important to recognise that this is an economically significant project. We  spent a lot of time focusing on the means of the nbn, how it's being rolled  out; and we sometimes lose sight of what it's all about, and that is delivering  great economic opportunities  for individuals and households and great social  connection for people around Australia.

That's  why I'm really pleased that with the rollout to date, of the 3 million premises  who can now access the nbn, 70 per cent of those are in regional and  non-metropolitan Australia. So it's a great story for regional Australia.

It's  ambitious, this project. This corporate plan indicates that nbn does have a  sound and robust plan to mitigate the risks that are inevitable with a project  of this size.

Everything  that nbn said they would do in last year's plan, nbn has done.

This  year's plan builds on that progress, and demonstrates that the company has  indeed stabilised the project.

One  year on, and peak funding forecast has remained at $49 billion. The upper-end  of the peak funding range has decreased from $56 billion to $54 billion. And  nbn management have done important work as manifest in the corporate plan to  reduce risk.

From  the outset, the Coalition has always said this is a big and risky project, a  colossal challenge for the management at nbn, but the company is certainly  producing the goods.

nbn's  successful transition to the multi-technology approach means that the  Government can now provide updated guidance through a new Statement of  Expectations for the company.

And  that's what we have  done.

A  revised Statement of Expectations will be released today in concert with the  updated Corporate Plan.

The  updated Statement doesn't change the Government's policy objectives for fast  broadband.

Rather,  the new Statement provides guidance on meeting those objectives while  positioning the company for successful operations through the remainder of the  build until completion.

The  updated Statement is a milestone of sorts; it recognises that network  completion is now in sight and that the company is moving to the next phase of  the rollout. It does reflect the shift from just building, to also operating  the network, and focuses more  heavily on consumer issues, amongst other things.

In  conclusion, I really want to acknowledge the work of Ziggy Switkowski and the  Board of nbn; the incredible work of the management led by Bill Morrow and the  entire team. This is one of the most dramatic corporate turnarounds in  Australian history.

It's  for the benefit of the nation and I congratulate the team for all that they  have done.

Thanks  very much.

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