NBN Co lags behind schedule while bosses get ahead on bonuses

THE company responsible for building the national broadband network is spending 25 times as much on executive salaries as it earned from selling broadband to customers, its annual report shows.

THE company responsible for building the national broadband network is spending 25 times as much on executive salaries as it earned from selling broadband to customers, its annual report shows.

Executives at the NBN Co were also paid bonuses of $642,000 despite the project's slow roll-out and termination payments reached half a million dollars.

The opposition's communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, said the company's annual report, released on Friday night, showed the roll-out of the network was a year behind schedule with 24,000 homes and businesses connected to the national broadband network at the end of last month - about 10 per cent of the company's original target.

"[Treasurer] Wayne Swan wrote an article today boasting he has empowered 'shareholders to help tame executive pay in the companies they themselves own'," he said.

"Australian taxpayers are the owners of NBN Co, and many of them may ask why executives are being paid six-figure bonuses when the roll-out is so far behind schedule and NBN costs so far above budget."

Mr Turnbull also pointed to high spending on corporate travel and legal fees as further proof of the blowout in costs associated with one of the government's marquee infrastructure projects.

A spokesman for the Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, said the government did not comment on salaries but remained committed to its target of having construction completed or begun in 758,000 homes and businesses by the end of the year.

The federal government will release its budget update this week amid speculation it will have to find savings of as much as $4 billion to keep the budget in surplus.

Among the areas rumoured to be cut are university research grants and superannuation concessions.

Mr Swan wrote in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald there would be "sensible spending cuts" and that the government would do "everything possible to protect jobs".

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