(From a press release)
The Gillard Government today terminated the Australia Network tender process, acting on the advice of the Australian Government Solicitor, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced.
“The advice which the Government has received is that due to significant leaks of confidential information to the media, the Australia Network tender process has been compromised to such a degree that a fair and equitable outcome may no longer be able to be achieved,” Senator Conroy said.
“As a result, the Government has taken the decision that it is in the best interests of both tender parties, and the Government, that the process be terminated. The Government has asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate the leaks.
“The Government is extremely disappointed that such leaks have occurred and that the process has been compromised.
“This decision has not been taken lightly but the Government believes that the advice received about the tender process leaves no other option.”
To provide for the continuing operation of the Australia Network in the interim, the Government has granted a six month extension to the contract of the incumbent operator, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), until August 2012 while the Government resolves the long term contractual arrangements.
This will allow ABC the flexibility to book such things as satellite time and to maintain an ongoing service.
“The Government will now make a decision on the long term arrangements for the operation of the Australia Network no later than the end of March next year,” Senator Conroy said.
Senator Conroy emphasised that at all times, the Government has acted within the terms and conditions of the tender process.