An implementation study released today shows Australia’s proposed National Broadband Network can be built for about $5-billion dollars less than originally thought.

The study also found the Network would be financially viable with or without the collaboration of Telstra.

Wendy Fung reports.

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The $25-million study provided more than 80 recommendations and different scenarios for the implementation of the network.

The study shows it could be built without Telstra and provide consumers with entry prices starting at $20 to $30 for basic broadband.

But all isn’t lost for Telstra – It could still play a part.

Stephen Conroy, Communications Minister: “The report modeled the ‘no build with Telstra’ scenario where as I said we are in lengthy and very complex negotiations with Telstra.”

Canceling the project in the future wouldn’t provide the Government’s budget with instant spending money.

Lindsay Tanner, Finance Minister: “This is an investment that is accounted for in the Government’s accounts on the capital side. It is not recurrent spending. It cannot be converted into spending.”

But the opposition says the project will cost too much.

Steve Ciobo, Liberal Frontbencher: “The reality is when it comes to Rudd Labor government programs it’s very expensive for Australian tax payers.”

In further developments today the Prime Minister launched Australia’s first national men’s health policy.

The Government will spend more than $16-million in projects relating to men’s health issues.

Three million dollars has already been dedicated to building “men’s sheds” which hope to provide men with areas of social and community support.

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister: “Blokes are pretty hopeless when it comes to dealing with their own health.”

Wendy Fung, QUT News