Monday, 31 October 2011
Questions without Notice
Mr President, my question is to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy. Can the minister provide an update to the Senate on the progress of the National Broadband Network across Australia?
I thank Senator Bilyk for her ongoing and genuine interest in the National Broadband Network. On 18 October the Prime Minister announced the next 12-month rollout schedule for the NBN at the University of Wollongong while visiting the Illawarra. This was an historic day for Australia's next generation of broadband, which will see the fibre network delivered to 49 sites around Australia in the next 12 months, including 28 new locations. This announcement will see NBN Co. begin construction over the next 12 months to an additional 485,000 premises across Australia. This is in addition to the 81,700 premises which either have already been connected or where construction is currently underway.
The Gillard government remains committed to providing all Australians with the benefits that will be available with a world-class national broadband network, such as better educational outcomes, improved health service delivery and increased economic activity. The construction that will be undertaken during the next year will see the NBN rollout go to all parts of Australia—north, south, east and west—with a mixture of fibre and interim satellite solutions. The Gillard government remains committed to transforming Australia into a leading broadband nation. The release of the NBN 12-month construction timetable proves that this is a reality, and it is well underway. Let me list some of the towns that we have announced: Dapto, Gosford, Long Jetty, Wollongong, Darwin, Toowoomba, Townsville, Aldinga Beach, Port Augusta, Port Elliot, Yankalilla, central Ballarat— (Time expired)
Just two weeks ago, the Express Advocate in Gosford, reporting on the announcement that the NBN would be coming to Gosford, said it was:
… a significant leap in the communications capabilities in the region.
Peter Wilson, Gosford City Council's General Manager said:
The rollout of the NBN will assist in the redevelopment of the Gosford CBD in attracting organisations to relocate to what will be an ideal environment to do business.
Gosford chamber of commerce president, Rod Dever, said:
The jobs that this project creates in addition to the benefit and efficiencies to business will be greatly received in the local area.
Meanwhile, Mr Dave Abrahams, who has not only worked for the past 10 years on the Central Coast, but is also a member of the Central Coast broadband steering group said:
This local infrastructure means better services, jobs for young people and, most striking, it will turn the tide on our commuting habits.
It is clear that those opposite are intent on saying anything, regardless of the truth of their statements. Despite the 12-month rollout being an overwhelmingly good news story, we once again saw the opposition go on the attack with the pathetic attempt by the member for Bradfield, Mr Fletcher, to smear the government with a claim of pork-barrelling. What proof did Mr Fletcher provide? In his press release of 18 October he claimed:
Every Tasmanian site—new or existing—is in a Labor or Independent electorate.
Shocking! Although, Mr President, as you might understand, there is not one single Liberal electorate in Tasmania. It is not possible to roll out the NBN in a Liberal electorate in Tasmania—there are none; not one. (Time expired)