NBN's Coffs Coast ping pong debate
NATIONALS Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, has upped the ante in the war of words with Labor Senator Matt Thistlethwaite over the local rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
It's the latest stoush in an ongoing battle that's intensified in recent months.
This week Senator Thistlethwaite accused Mr Hartsuyker of making "misleading" claims after an increase in budgeted costs of $4.6 billion to NBN Co was announced.
But Mr Hartsuyker returned serve by saying the claim of being misleading "is clearly wrong."
"I stand by my comments regarding the failure of NBN Co to hit any of the key performance targets they set for themselves," he said in a statement.
"The only fact I would clarify from my original press release relates to my comment the corporate plan requires the rate of connection of premises must increase from the current 13 per day in 2012 to over 6000 a day, if the revised completion date is to be achieved.
"Unfortunately for NBN Co and taxpayers they have not achieved 13 fibre optic connections per day - they have only achieved six connections per day.
"And the rollout of the wireless network has scarcely begun.
"They didn't complete a cost/benefit analysis on the NBN and they didn't do the groundwork essential before any government plans to spend tens of billions of taxpayers dollars."
However, Senator Thistlethwaite said by the end of the year many regional homes, including more than 10,000 on the Coffs Coast, will have benefited from having work on the project commenced.
"The Government is on track to meet our target of having work for 758,000 fibre premises commenced or completed by the end of 2012," he said.
"In Coffs Harbour, NBN construction has already started to connect 11,100 homes and business, as well as 8,800 homes and business in Boambee, Boambee East, Sawtell and Toormina."