SUSAN LAMB MP

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LONGMAN


MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE – TURNBULL’S FAILED NBN

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA

TUESDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2016

 

Malcolm Turnbull came into government with a promise to get every Australian on the NBN by the end of 2016—not very far away. He promised the NBN would be sooner, he promised it would be faster and he promised it would be cheaper, and what a colossal disappointment he has been. His hypocrisy is now being exposed at every single turn. He is committing a fraud on the Australian people and he is trying to jeopardise our economic future by saddling Australia with second-rate copper and second-rate infrastructure.

And if we are talking about copper, I might add that the Minister for Regional Communications, Senator Nash, said:

The Copper Age was 5,300 years ago, and that is where copper belongs. We need to embrace optic fibre, wireless and satellite so that we have the right mix of infrastructure to take us into the future.

 Well, I do not believe the minister has yet hugged this supposed 'right mix of infrastructure'. And why? Because it just does not exist. Well, I am all too ready to embrace infrastructure, but there has to be something to hug in the first place. The Australian people recognise this focus on second-rate copper and second-rate infrastructure simply represents a lack of vision. In fact, a recent Essential poll of Liberal, Labor and Greens voters reported that barely one in five Australians—that is one in five—considers the NBN to be adequate to meet our future needs.

And what I can say is that the dissatisfaction rate in my electorate of Longman is significantly higher. In fact, I can inform the House that at least one-third of all constituents who call my office—phone, email or walk through that door—are seeking help with their substandard connection. I know this government struggles doing their numbers, but they should at least realise that a dissatisfaction rate of 70 per cent is dire.

Take Nigel, for example. Nigel lives in Ningi. Ningi is a really small, beautiful place between Caboolture and Bribie Island. It is a really beautiful place; it is the sort of place where lots of people are moving to. Unfortunately for Nigel and for many other Australians who live in new premises, the NBN node is installed at the top of his street. Now, the surrounding streets and his neighbours are all connected to the NBN, but guess what? Nigel's house is not. He was told that this is due to the placement of the node. His provider said that the reason is poor infrastructure. It took five months—five months!—before it was resolved. Such delays are not acceptable and they are most certainly not indicative of forward-looking technology.

Let me talk about Stephen. The situation is even worse for Stephen. Let me tell you about him. He lives in Caboolture—not far from Nigel in Ningi. He reviewed the NBN rollout map and then he was advised by the NBN Co that it was all systems go. He was pretty happy, right? He needs the NBN. Unfortunately, Stephen subsequently received a phone call saying—guess what?—no infrastructure exists. There were no nodes and no hub in place; it would not be possible for him to connect via the NBN.

I might observe that information on this rollout map looks pretty lovely: it has pretty colours and interactivity. I mean, it is positively 21st century. But there is one small problem: it is not accurate. This government must stop wasting money on superficialities and just focus on the basics—the basics! We want affordable, high-speed internet with a reliable connection. That is all we want: just the basics! The people of Longman deserve better infrastructure for the 21st century. They currently have infrastructure that is reminiscent of the 1990s.

So whether it is in Burpengary or Bribie Island, or Morayfield, or Caboolture or Woodford, or whether it is a small business, or a student or one of our retirees, from the central coast to regional Australia this government has shown that it does not care about the lived experience of people in Longman, and indeed in the rest of Australia. It has treated them with contempt, and that is shameful!

ENDS

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