[smh] The legislation supporting the national broadband network is unlikely to reach the Senate before the last week of October and still relies on the support of an unpredictable minor party senator.
And legislation forcing property developers to lay fibre in new estates lapsed when the last parliament was prorogued, according to the Senate Bills List, and would need to be reintroduced into the House of Representatives where the balance of power is now held by independents and minor parties.
Crucial telecommunications legislation amendment bills and the fibre bill were missing from Senate and House legislation lists for this week.
The fibre legislation would be reintroduced next month or in November, while the Senate's first sitting weeks were mainly reserved for the reintroduction of bills which would not require amendments, said a spokeswoman from the Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy's office.
One bill provides for the structural separation of Telstra and gives the competition watchdog more powers; a second provides laws supporting the national broadband network.
Passing the laws would give certainty to Telstra's $9 billion deal with NBN Co and allow both sides to release more details to investors.
However, with only one sitting week scheduled for this month and supplementary budget estimates next month, the bills are unlikely to be voted on until October 26.
When the bill does reach the Senate for a final vote, the Family First Senator Steve Fielding's support would be crucial to getting the bill through. However he remains undecided on the Competition and Consumer Safeguards Bill, which allows for the structural separation of Telstra and stronger competition laws.
A spokesman for Senator Fielding said he had entered into "worthwhile" discussions with Telstra last week and planned to meet with the government in weeks ahead.
Senator Fielding has expressed concern on behalf of Telstra shareholders and also over the $43 billion price tag of the network. "We want to make sure we are getting a good deal for taxpayers as well as Telstra shareholders," the spokesman said.
The independent senator Nick Xenophon has said he will support the bill but will push for structural separation rather than the functional separation proposed by the government. The Greens are also expected to support the bill, but have argued NBN Co should remain in government hands rather than privatised.
Vital NBN legislation caught up in Senate delays