Libs propose new NBN committee led by govt MP

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Libs propose new NBN committee led by govt MP

To continue scrutiny of rollout until network is complete.

The federal government is proposing to establish a new joint parliamentary committee to scrutinise the rollout of the national broadband network, led by a government MP.

Leader of the House Christopher Pyne will today move that a committee made up of both senators and House of Representatives MPs be established to report to each house on the NBN's progress annually until it is built and fully operational. 

It would replace a previous joint committee on the NBN that ceased to exist following the 2013 federal election, and a senate select committee on the NBN that came to an end when it tabled its final report this year.

The previous joint committee was chaired by former independent MP Rob Oakshott and consisted of seven Labor MPs, seven Liberal/National MPs, and one Greens MP.

The senate select committee was chaired by Labor's Jan McLucas and included three Labor, three LNP and one Greens senator.

The federal government had tried on several occasions to disband the senate select committee in favour of one that overturned the committee's Labor-Greens stronghold for a LNP majority. The senate select committee had been established under the former Labor government.

At the time former committee chair Kate Lundy labelled the government's moves a "political exercise" intended to prevent "robust and independent scrutiny" of the NBN.

Pyne has proposed the new committee be made up of 17 members - four LNP MPs, four Labor MPs and one "non-aligned" MP from the House of Representatives; and three LNP, three Labor, one Greens, and one independent Senate representatives.

An LNP member would serve as a chair, with a Labor representative as deputy.

The committee would be tasked with monitoring the NBN's rollout progress as compared to NBN Co's statement of expectations.

It would also look into NBN take-up and activation rates and usage trends and patterns; how Australia is performing on residential broadband infrastructure compared to other, similar countries; and any obstacles that may impede the "efficient and cost-effective" rollout of the NBN.

Pyne will move the motion in the lower house on the first day of spring sittings for both houses today.

Update 4:00pm: The motion was passed unopposed.

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