The cost of the National Broadband Network has blown out to more than $51billion as the chief executive gets paid 30 times more than the average Australian taxpayer.
Despite being plagued with delays and the need to borrow from taxpayers, NBN Co’s chief executive Stephen Rue was given a total remuneration package of $2,609,257 during the last financial year.
That was more than four-and-half times as much as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s $549,250 salary and more than 30 times an average, Australian full-time worker’s $85,000 pay.
Mr Rue, who was previously NBN Co’s chief financial officer, received short-term bonuses of $828,482, on top of his base salary of $1,695,760, even though the National Broadband Network is well behind its original schedule.
While the government financially underwrites the NBN, taxpayers don’t directly fund his generous salary.
The cost of the National Broadband Network has blown out to more than $51billion as the chief executive gets paid 30 times more than the average Australian taxpayer (pictured is an NBN rollout in Sydney)
NBNCo also made a $4.9billion loss during the last financial year – a level more than double the $2.019billion loss for fiscal 2015.
Since it was conceived in 2007, the installation cost has blown out from $15billion to $51billion.
As of June 30, the federal government had provided NBN Co with an equity injection of $29.5billion as part of a 2011 agreement where taxpayers would prop it up for the next decade.
Three days before Christmas in 2016, the NBN Co also borrowed $19.5billion from taxpayers, with the loan to be repaid in June 2021.
Despite that, the National Broadband Network is behind schedule.
In 2007, when Labor was in Opposition, the party’s then communications spokesman Stephen Conroy promised 98 per cent of Australians would be connected to high-speed broadband internet with speeds that were ’40 times faster’ than existing copper wire connections.
In government Labor had promised an even more ambitious NBN, with a faster fibre-to-the-premises model, would be finished by June 2018.
In their second term, Labor in 2011 became slightly less ambitious, reducing the goal to 93 per cent of Australian homes, with a delayed deadline of December 2020.
Despite being plagued with delays and the need to borrow from taxpayers, NBN Co’s chief executive Stephen Rue was given a total remuneration package of $2,609,257 during the last financial year
When the Coalition came to power in 2013, incoming prime minister Tony Abbott promised a scaled-down version of the NBN based on fibre-to-the-exchange instead of direct fibre-to-the-home, in a bid to save on costs and reduce delays.
A former telecommunications executive, who declined to be named, said former communications minister Malcolm Turnbull’s diluted version, combining high-tech optical fibres with old-fashioned copper, had delayed the project by 18 months without improving download speeds.
‘He thought that by saving on the build cost, then he would be able to have a copper-NBN,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘What happened in reality, copper’s not that much faster.
‘It was not getting much revenue and it was a more complicated and costly rollout.’
Mr Rue’s salary was more than four-and-half times as much as Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s $549,250 and more than 30 times an average, Australian full-time worker’s $85,000 pay
With the Coalition now in power for six years, NBN Co is expecting the access network to be completed by June 2020, with 11.5million homes able to connect.
As of September, 89 per cent of homes and businesses could plug in to the NBN, with an NBN Co spokesman explaining there is an 18-month delay between being ready to connect and being connected.
Australians appear to be lukewarm about the benefits of optical fibres with NBN Co’s annual report admitting just ‘5.5 million premises were connected’.
‘This means that nearly 50 per cent of Australian premises are now experiencing the benefits of the network every day,’ it said.
There are now six million Australians connected to the NBN.
Mr Rue isn’t the only well remunerated chief executive at a government business enterprise. His counterpart at Australia Post, Christine Holgate (pictured), had an equivalent salary with bonuses that added up to $2,565,226
Mr Rue isn’t the only well remunerated chief executive at a government business enterprise.
His counterpart at Australia Post, Christine Holgate, had an equivalent salary with bonuses that added up to $2,565,226.
Australia Post’s letter division lost $191.7million during the last financial year as revenue from postal envelope delivery fell nine per cent.
Despite that, this government corporation made a $40.6million profit after tax in 2018-19, as it made more revenue from international parcel deliveries.