Thursday, 21 June 2012
Questions without Notice
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 deployment of the National Broadband Network in Tasmania?
I thank Senator Bilyk for her ongoing interest in the NBN. I visited Tasmania last week to announce that fibre services are now available to Deloraine, Triabunna, Sorrell and Kingston Beach and that George Town and St Helens are coming online within weeks. They join Scottsdale and Smithton and Midway Point—which was the first to be connected to the National Broadband Network. That means that almost 13,000 premises in these nine communities can access fast, affordable and reliable broadband over fibre. I also announced that 32,000 premises in 28 areas across Tasmania should have access to the NBN's fixed wireless network from mid-2013. There are 530 Tasmanian homes and businesses that are already connected to the NBN interim satellite service. Tasmanians can access the NBN at the same wholesale price as people in Melbourne or Sydney.
Last week I met with Lou Barrett, who runs the IGA Supermarket in Scottsdale with her partner Dale. Lou said this to me:
The speed and reliability that we get from our connection to the NBN means that we have been able to take advantage of a range of new applications and content that have helped us streamline our business practices. This has helped us improve our service to our loyal and valued customer base in Scottsdale.
The Gillard government is getting on with delivering the National Broadband Network. (Time expired)
Yesterday in the other place the member for Mitchell complained that the NBN rollout is missing every suburb in his electorate—every suburb. He also put out a newsletter with the headline 'Mitchell misses out on the NBN'. Well, it is not just hypocritical; he is wrong. In the three-year rollout plan there are more than 15,000 homes and businesses in the suburbs around Castle Hill, in the member for Mitchell's electorate, with work to begin in late 2013. So let me again be clear: nobody in Australia will miss out on the National Broadband Network. It will reach every, single home, school, business and hospital in every electorate across Australia.
Government senators interjecting—
Mr President, as you have seen, everyone on this side recognises that the National Broadband Network is vital to our economic future. But, Mr President, some on the other side also support the National Broadband Network. The Leader of the Nationals complained his electorate 'should have been a high priority area'. The member for Maranoa put out a media release: 'Maranoa missed out on NBN' and he stated that he wanted the benefit of e-learning, telemedicine, videoconferencing, tourism and businesses opportunities which a faster internet connection would provide. But it was not just those two; the members for Farrer, Stirling, Swan, Parkes, Bowman, Flynn and Leichhardt have all complained about areas that they represent not getting the National Broadband Network fast enough. (Time expired)