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NBN Co to sack 800 workers as ‘initial build’ of network finishes after 10 years

NBN Co will sack 800 workers by the end of the year even after use of the broadband network it operates – and is continuing to build – soared due to the coronavirus crisis.

The company, which is owned by the federal government, said it was making the cuts because it has finished what it called the “initial build” of the network.

It currently employs about 6,300 people, which will shrink to 5,500 after the job cuts.

Chief executive Stephen Rue said job cuts were put on hold during the worst of the coronavirus crisis so NBN Co could cope with increased demand, caused in part by people working from home.

He said the company spent a decade building the network.

“As we have approached the final stages of the initial build, we have talked about changing the size and shape of the organisation and we are now preparing for the next phase of the company’s evolution,” he said.

NBN Co plans to merge its business and retail sales divisions, resulting in its head of business sales, Paul Tyler, leaving the company in August.

It said it would also simplify its operations division, and expand the “strategy and transformation” division, led by Will Irving, to take in legal, data and analytics.

As a result, the company’s longest-serving executive, chief legal counsel Justin Forsell, has decided to leave “later this year”, NBN Co said.

“Justin has been an integral part of NBN’s growth,” Rue said. “Justin has been instrumental not just devising how to build a network but in helping to develop a company from start-up to mature full-scale service delivery organisation. He has spearheaded our most complex commercial deals, creating a culture of superior camaraderie imbued with the deepest respect for our traditional landowners.”

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