A shortfall in construction workers could put work on the NBN behind schedule.
A shortfall in construction workers could put work on the NBN behind schedule. Rob Wright

Worker shortage may stall Ipswich NBN

THE National Broadband Network rollout in Ipswich could be delayed after NBN Co announced a shortfall in construction workers could put the work behind schedule.

The delay could force the October start to construction in eastern Ipswich suburbs to be put on hold until next year.

But construction work already under way around central Ipswich will go ahead as scheduled, according to NBN Co.

The controversial high-speed internet network has drawn criticism from the Opposition and industry representatives as rollout dates continue to fall behind and its cost has skyrocketed to more than $30 billion.

An NBN Co spokeswoman said it would be clear whether the rollout would be delayed in "a few weeks".

"It will be a few weeks until we finalise anything. These are the dates we are working to and we are reviewing the impact, if any," she said.

NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley said the delay in roll-out was expected to be made up by 2015.

He said there hadn't been the "ramp-up" of construction workers on the ground needed to deliver these targets.

"This lack of mobilisation, combined with some of our contractors recently lowering their forecasts, has led us to make the judgment call to re-forecast our end-of-year projections," he said.

Construction was due to start in suburbs such as Amberley, Basin Pocket, Churchill, Deebing Heights, East Ipswich, Eastern Heights, Newtown, One Mile, Raceview, Silkstone, Willowbank, Wulkuraka and Yamanto among a host of others in October.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said he hoped NBN Co would stick to the timetable.

"It would be disappointing to me if NBN Co does delay that, but I hope they would carry out the timetable they gave to Ipswich," he said.

Wright MP Scott Buchholz said delays typified most projects undertaken by the Gillard government.

"The NBN is no different from any program that this government has endeavoured to roll out," he said.

To see the latest map go to nbnco.com.au

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