Repeat after me….repeat after me….polly want a cracker….. least that’s what we got with tonights budget when it came to the NBN.
Mentioned by Wayne Swan, and naturally trumpeted by Stephen Conroy (in a press release) new funding for the NBN itself in this years budget was….wait for it….$0.
You don’t have to believe me though: here’s the direct link. The $4.7b was allocated and announced LAST YEAR. We’re still missing the other $38.3 billion….
There was one new NBN related item though, and up front its actually a good thing: $250m for the regional backbone blackspots program.
Also in non-capital items was an allocation of $53.2 billion for pre NBN rollout functions, including the feasibility study for the NBN, with delivery of the report due “early 2010.” What is odd is that this is new funding: why wasn’t the feasibility study costed in the original $4.7b? what else hasn’t been budgeted?
Funding of $53.2 million in 2009?¢‚Ç¨‚Äò10 will be provided to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to conduct an implementation study into the NBN that will examine detailed engineering, commercial and structural issues and report by early 2010. The funding will also support the department in the early implementation of a network in Tasmania, implementation of the regional backbone blackspots program, and development of legislation and a regulatory framework.
There was absolutely no mention of the Great Firewall of Australia in this years budget from what I could see. The program had a 4 year allocation last year, so needs no mention if there are no changes.
However, there were a couple of things to note. ACMA is closing its Perth and Adelaide offices in a move that will save over $2m. The budget line item only says that the roles these offices currently undertake will be absorbed by other offices. Employment numbers aren’t broken out, so we don’t know if this means less people, but you’d guess possibly less. Likewise, no idea what the Perth and Adelaide offices do, for example face to face contact, admin..no idea.
In the AG portfolio there’s no mention of additional funding for the classification board. This is surprising, because the implementation of internet censorship will increase the board’s workload.
The funding stripped from the AFP to fight child porn, and given to the filter instead has not been reinstated. There was no child porn fighting related budget items in AG or BCDE.