Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Switkowski set to head NBN Company despite "no comment" from Turnbull

The Coalition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has refused to confirm speculation that former Telstra chief executive Ziggy Switkowski will be appointed to head the company responsible for the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

Mr Turnbull says any decision would have to be made by the Coalition cabinet.

“That decision would be taken by a cabinet and obviously if I’m the Communications Minister it would be on my recommendation," he said.

“It’s not the first time Ziggy’s name has been flagged. He is obviously highly qualified and most people would regard him as an eminently suitable person but no decision has been taken by a Coalition government because we haven’t been sworn in yet.”

However, speaking on ABC News Breakfast, Mr Turnbull expressed concerns about the operation and makeup of the NBN Co board.

“It is remarkable that there is no one on that board who has either run or built or managed a large telecommunications network. That is a singular deficiency," he said.

Mr Turnbull confirmed the Coalition will order a forensic audit into NBN Co to examine governance and policy.

“We have not ruled out a judicial inquiry. That is certainly a possibility,” he said.

The current chief executive of the NBN Co, Mike Quigley, announced his retirement in July and is expected to remain in the role until a successor is appointed.

The ABC contacted Mr Switkowski in relation to the speculation but he refused to comment.