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Thursday, 23 June 2011
Page: 7199

Ms COLLINS (FranklinParliamentary Secretary for Community Services) (09:46): I want to talk about the electorate of Franklin today, particularly about the National Broadband Network. One of the suburbs in my electorate, Kingston Beach, is about to receive construction of stage 2 of the NBN rollout in Tasmania. For those on the other side, who do not appear to be aware of just how this NBN rollout is going across the country, in Tasmania we have already had our three stage 1 communities—that is, Midway Point, Scottsdale and Smithton—connected to the NBN. Stage 2 construction at Kingston Beach in my electorate is commencing in coming weeks.

When advertisements for development applications appeared in the local papers a couple of months ago, my electorate office was overwhelmed by people from Kingston Beach contacting my office to find more information about how they could connect to the National Broadband Network. Kingston Beach obviously is one of the first areas in Australia to be connected to the service and we know that it will deliver practical benefits for the households there.

In Tasmania we are also looking forward to stage 3 of the rollout, which will happen immediately after stage 2 is complete. Stage 3 will connect 90,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania. At the end of that stage more than 100,000 Tasmanians will be connected to the National Broadband Network. At a statewide level, we know what services this will provide to Tasmania as those 100,000 homes and businesses are connected. We have seen from some of the implementation trials the benefits to aged care, rural health and education services as the NBN better connects regional and rural Tasmania to mainland Australia and the rest of the world.

I have also been contacted by many local businesses that are currently outside the stage 1 and 2 rollout areas and they are very, very keen to be connected to the NBN. They want to know when they can be connected to the National Broadband Network. We know from the ABS statistics about internet activity that Australians are participating more strongly in the online digital economy than ever before. There is an increasing desire for more speed and more bandwidth but, as we all know, it is not just about speed in homes. It is about delivery of government services, delivery of community services and improved outcomes for people in their homes and businesses.

Tasmanian homes and businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on internet services as they go about their daily business. People are doing their banking, doing university courses, even working from home using existing broadband technology, but they know that that needs to increase. One of the issues with wireless that I am aware of is that it does not work that well in Tasmania because of the topography. Wireless is seen by the opposition as a solution—they should get down to Tasmania and see how it works. (Time expired)