NBN on solider ground after hung Aust election

Dylan Bushell-Embling
23 Aug 2010
00:00
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Daily News

Australia's national broadband network project may have gotten a reprieve as a result of the inconclusive elections.

Running up to the election, the Coalition had threatened to scrap the Labor government's A$43 billion ($38.5b) NBN project in favor of A$6 billion in mostly industry grants to help build an alternative, wireless-centric network.

The weekend's vote ended in a hung parliament, with neither party looking like it will win the 76 seats required to form a government. As a result, the balance of power will rest with four politicians – one from the minority Greens party, and three independent candidates.

To successfully form a government, one of the two major parties will have to form an alliance with these independents, and broadband policy is shaping up as a key negotiating point.

The Greens and one of the independent candidates have already pledged support for the NBN, while another independent favors government control of Telstra – a key component of the government's goals with the project.

As the independents are mostly from rural areas, they are likely to favor the government's plan, analyst Paul Budde told the National Business Review.

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