Aussie manufacturing ramped thru NBN deals


Correction: This story had initially stated the three contracts which NBN Co revealed this morning were worth a total of $1.6 million, as per a statement from Industry & Innovation Minister Kim Carr. The statement had a typo — the deals are worth a total of $1.6 billion.

The National Broadband Network Company has inked more than a billion dollars worth of contracts with local manufacturers, in a move that is slated to create hundreds of Australian jobs in the sector.

The deals — worth a combined total of $1.6 billion — were awarded to local company Warren & Brown Technologies and “Australian-located” global companies Prysmian and Corning. All three companies supply hardware and/or tools associated with fibre-optic telecommunications rollouts.

A statement issued by Corning said its contract constituted an initial purchase commitment of $400 million and could potentially be worth up to $1.2 billion over the life of the deal. “The size and scope of the NBN project will enable Corning to invest in both new equipment and technologies for our Clayton facility as well as create a significant number of additional jobs, increased people development and extensive skills training,” said Rainer Dittrich, managing director of Corning Cable Systems in Australia.

As a result of the contract, Corning will invest about $25 million in its Clayton facility, as well as in related equipment and personnel training. The facility employs 115 workers, but in the peak years of the NBN deployment, Corning expects to add as many as 300 to 400 jobs there.

“This deal between NBN Co and Corning achieves a good balance between the more cost-effective sourcing of bulk fibre materials from overseas and encouraging local manufacturing capacity to increase,” said NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley.

Corning has had an existing relationship with the NBN rollout in Tasmania. In October 2009, NBN Tasmania announced Corning would provide fibre-optic cable for the construction of the NBN backhaul network in the state.

A statement issued by NBN Co said the value of the Warren & Brown contract was worth up to $110 million over five years, with an initial purchase order of $50 million and would see the company supply optical distribution frames and sub-racks that would connect NBN Co equipment to external cabling. “We are pleased to award this contract to a local quality manufacturer of fibre-optic equipment which has a long tradition in precision manufacture,” said Quigley.

“One of the benefits of local manufacture is the ability of Warren & Brown to fill orders within short timeframes to meet the rollout requirements of NBN Co, which is currently in the process of building the network in its five first release sites.”

Warren & Brown managing director Neil Domelow said it had been very difficult three years ago, when the world economy was heading south, for him and fellow director Steve Normoyle to proceed with a $5 million upgrade to its facility in Maidstone, Melbourne. “Winning this NBN Co contract proves that our belief in the future of telecommunications fibre technology was justified,” he said.

Prysmian’s contract is worth $300 million over five years, with an initial purchase order of $150 million. The company has manufacturing facilities in Dee Why and Liverpool, NSW and will invest in its facility locally to boost the amount of manufacturing it does in Australia. “Directly, this contract will also result in new employment in our Dee Why manufacturing facility of up to 50 jobs over the initial five year period,” said Prysmian Cables and Systems chief executive Llyr Roberts.

“Through this deal, NBN Co has secured a commitment to increased local manufacturing over a two-year ramping up period, and to recruitment and training activities to help fulfil the local sourcing requirement,” said Quigley.

In a statement issued this morning, Carr said the announcement demonstrated the Labor Federal Government’s commitment to actively promoting opportunities for local small and medium-sized enterprises to participate fully in the NBN project in “meaningful and continuing ways”.

“In selecting the companies, NBN Co undertook a procurement process consistent with their corporate plan and related 30 year business modelling. During the process, the companies demonstrated a commitment to investing in local manufacturing and skills development, to deliver the volumes required,” the Minister’s statement said.

Carr said the contracts would result in the creation of some 400 Australian jobs in the manufacturing sector for the three companies. “Their involvement in the NBN rollout will create jobs for Australian workers and increase the skills we have in this country,” he said.

The full NBN Co media release can also be downloaded as a PDF document.

Image credit: Clix, royalty free


  1. Hang on, other sites have the value of the combined deals as $1.6 BILLION – which makes a little more sense, as $1.6 million is barely enough to keep NBN Co in office supplies, let alone the primary materials that these companies will supply.

    • There was a typo in the ministerial press release. I queried the Minister’s office about it and they had no idea what I was talking about.

      • Ah, noted. I do work for a completely different Minister’s office, and nothing you’ve said surprises me in the least.

          • I am sure being the dedicated journo you are you will follow up on this PR job release and see if the stated paper jobs turn into actual jobs.

          • Yes please do look into it and follow-up Renai…

            Ooh, stop looking already… to reiterate and then elaborate upon your above, informative, initially supplied info, Renai…

            Prysmian CEO Llyr Roberts – Telegraph (business section) 19/1 – said that their NBN contract, “WILL add an additional 50 employees to their existing 125” and that they “WILL invest $13 million upgrading their equipment” (flow-on effects, you do understand this, alain?).

            Gee alain get those two counting fingers of your’s ready… Prysmian ARE increasing their workforce by a whopping 40%.

            Go on; now say something typically pedantic, contradictory and infinitely intelligent [sic]! Better still; why not simply infer Mr Roberts a liar, as you do with Mike Quigley’s business plan sums/claims (shakes head)!

            Only a complete fool or ridiculously biased FUDster (WHY???) would claim this wouldn’t create jobs! So which one are you, alain… both?

  2. Absolutely fantastic news for the Australian manufacturing sector. $25M in factory upgrades, and 400 new manufacturing jobs without taking into account all the flow-on for transport and raw materials etc.

    If this keeps going it will be very difficult to stop politically. Imagine the mad monk going to an election with a policy that will cost 20,000 jobs!

    • Well he did go into the election stopping the NBN and he was within a whisker of winning it – remember?

      I love these ‘feel good stories’, the idea of course is it makes the taxpayer punters all warm & cosy about all those billions, let’s make sure all these future jobs being created on paper actually turn into real jobs.

      • Bit of a moot point, advocate, sorry, I mean alain, since he didn’t win…!

        Close enough isn’t good enough no matter how much you dream, wish and desperately make such hollowly silly statements…

        But rtaher than seize the positives, let’s all (well you and your ilk, anyway) bag and whinge and say the sky is falling down and even “when (yes when, go on ask for figures, LOL) imo, those jobs are created, then say, well… more should have been created, or something equally intelligent!

  3. It is good to see something of adequate scale happening, but these contracts are just inputs into the project. A project needs to be judged by outputs. I’ll be happier when I start to see adequate scale outputs.

    • I would be happy with something with substance behind it for a change, like NBN sign up rates from the four ISP’s selling it.

      Obviously new ADSL2+ and HFC sales will have dropped to zero in those areas that have a choice of both.

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