The Australian NBN Co, the company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network, has put the freeze on some of its spending and will not hire any new staff until the Federal Parliament has resolved its current deadlock. In a statement issued this morning, the company said in general it would continue to operate, as well as planning and using existing resources, but would seek to “minimise any discretionary expenditure” in the current uncertain period. This story was first reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. Labor and the Coalition are currently awaiting final election results and have begun negotiations with independent MPs and Greens MPs who were elected over the weekend, as they jostle to attempt to form a government. The future of the NBN policy is currently up in the air, with the Coalition having pledged to walk away from the project if elected — although the independents have broadly emphasised their support for better bush telecommunciations in statements over the past few days. NBN Co added today that it would not award any significant contracts or issue any new significant request for capability statements or proposals in the “post-election period”. “Where appropriate NBN Co will postpone or suspend significant existing tender processes during the post-election phase, while in parallel extending current in-progress tender responses and decision deadlines for the same period,” the company’s statement said. “Affected vendors will be notified. Conscious of NBN Co’s potential suppliers’ and vendors’ costs during any tender processes, suppliers or vendors will have the option to delay participation or tender submission during the post-election phase and not be disadvantaged.” In addition, the company will suspend employee interviews and will not issue any new offers to potential employees, although it will honour any existing offers that it has formally made to candidates. In addition, the company will extend the response period for industry comment on a number of product consultation papers — some of which were issued over the past few weeks during the campaign period.
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