Broadband expected to create thousands of jobs

Thousands of jobs will be created across Australia as work gets under way on the National Broadband Network, the company set up to build and operate the network says.

NBN Co announced a national operations and test facility would be based in Melbourne's Digital Harbour precinct at the Docklands.

Chief executive Mike Quigley said up to 425 people would be employed in Victoria when the facility was fully operational early next year, but the flow-on employment benefits would be felt nationally.

"We're not making a prediction, but it will be in the thousands ... probably we said around 25,000 people working directly on the NBN Co activities each year as we begin the national roll-out," Mr Quigley told reporters.

"There will be of course numerous other jobs that spin out of that as well."

Melbourne was chosen ahead of rival bids by Brisbane and Sydney.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said no financial incentives had been paid to secure the deal.

The jobs coup at the operations and test centre is in addition to 290 jobs at NBN Co's office in Melbourne's CBD, housing the engineering and operations groups and associated staff.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the decision to base the centre in Melbourne was due to its proximity to other telecommunications companies.

He said NBN Co would offer customers "very, very competitive" prices, but rates had not yet been finalised.

Senator Conroy, who has been appointed as a founding member of the United Nations broadband commission, said there had been "genuine" global interest as Australia moved towards a fibre future.

"I can't stress to you how much the world is watching what we've achieved here," he said.

"I know that there are other companies that are interested to come to Australia, and come here to Melbourne, to be part of what is emerging as a world-leading hub of IT and telco activity."

The Victorian government announced a joint decision with the federal government to back the expansion of clothing company Cotton On's head office in the regional city of Geelong.

The state government says a $A750,000 ($NZ918,420) grant will support capital works and create 300 new jobs at a new distribution centre in the suburb of Lara over the next three years.



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