NBN Co lags behind schedule while bosses get ahead on bonuses

EXECUTIVES at the company building the national broadband network pocketed more than $600,000 in bonuses in 2011-12 despite the project running a year behind schedule.

EXECUTIVES at the company building the national broadband network pocketed more than $600,000 in bonuses in 2011-12 despite the project running a year behind schedule.

The NBN Co annual report shows the company is spending 25 times more on executive salaries than it earned from selling broadband to customers.

The report also reveals about $500,000 in termination payments.

The opposition's communications spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, said the 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.

NBN Co boss Mike Quigley said in June he would forgo annual bonuses because of his objections to short-term incentive schemes. Last year it is understood he forfeited $314,000 in bonuses.

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 need savings of up to $4 billion to maintain a surplus. Among the areas rumoured to be cut are university research grants and superannuation concessions.

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