The devil in the NBN detail

NBN Co's annual report has attracted criticism about executive pay and bonuses but it's the activation rates that are the real worry.

Last week’s release of NBN Co’s 2012 annual report attracted a chorus of criticism about the organisation’s executive pay and bonuses. A closer reading of the report reveals that the real focus of any scrutiny needs to be on the complexity of the project and the big risks to the successful delivery of the National Broadband Network.

Despite the negative headlines, NBNCo met the revised targets of their 2012 business plan with the project passing 212,000 premises against the projected 213,000. That number however, is less than half the 495,000 premises expected in the original plan released in 2010.

Giving bonuses to senior staff after missing those original targets attracted the criticisms of excessive executive pay, however concerned taxpayers should keep in mind average senior management remuneration at NBN Co’ is $827,000, just over a third of the $2.3 million received by Telstra's leadership and about the same as Fairfax’s average of $850,000.

Executive pay at NBN Co doesn’t appear excessive by industry standards and what taxpayers probably should be more concerned about is that there are eleven senior managers listed in the annual report.

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