SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s newly elected conservative government is upholding the ban on China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd tendering for work on the country’s $38 billion National Broadband Network (NBN), the attorney-general said today.
The former Labour government cited cyber-security concerns when it banned Huawei, the world’s largest supplier of telecoms network equipment by revenue, from bidding for contracts on the infrastructure rollout last year.
Some senior officials in the new Liberal-led Coalition government, including Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have supported a review of the ban, raising expectations it would be scrapped.
But Attorney-General George Brandis said that after due consideration the government had decided not to change the policy, citing new briefings from Australia’s national security agencies.
The move is likely to rile major trading partner China in the midst of negotiations on a free trade agreement, while pleasing Australia’s traditional ally the United States where lawmakers have warned against awarding Huawei major contracts over spying fears.