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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 12033


Mr BROAD (Mallee) (15:40): It gives me great pleasure to talk about the Prime Minister's first-rate NBN and the innovative jobs for the future, because it was quite evident in question time that the opposition were bowling underarm balls and he was smashing them for six every time, because never before have we actually had a Prime Minister who understands how to build a national broadband network like Malcolm Turnbull does. We are very blessed with his full knowledge of this project.

Regional Australians are innovative, and we need improving communications. Investment in communications does drive productivity—they are right on that—and productivity in country towns. If there is something I know about country people, it is that they really are innovative and they really stand to benefit from communications technology. Of course, the challenge was that there were only five towns in the whole of the electorate of Mallee that were flagged to get anything under Labor's NBN. Labor's initial rollout had towns of under 500 premises getting zip, nothing at all. You want to talk about rolling out an innovation and talk about things that are going to be of benefit, but only five towns in a third of the state of Victoria were going to get it.

Then the five that were flagged to get it had to wait for a little while. They were promised it. It was coming; it was coming. It reminded me of when I was on a date once. I was on a date when I was a young man, with a girl who was going to come to dinner. I will admit to the federal parliament that I was sitting there and waiting, all in anticipation because I had a hot date, and it did not come to fruition. I sat there and it was like the towns in my electorate—they were waiting. They were seeing the press releases but they were not seeing the build.

Then they got a song. What was the song? The song that became famous, the song that became the motto for the Labor NBN, was A Little Less Conversation—'a little more action please'. I will not sing it, because I would be doing a disservice to the parliament and I would probably be asked to leave, but that was the thing that defined what Labor did under the NBN. There was a little bit too much conversation and no more action. What we are trying to do is build the NBN. That is what we are doing. If you look across the electorate of Mallee, we are building it. We are not just about ideas. We are about administration. I think that is ultimately what separates people on our side of the parliament from those on the other side of the parliament. It is a great thing to have an idea—do not miss an idea—but it is quite another thing to turn an idea into a reality. That is what we have got under Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, that is what we had under Malcolm Turnbull as Minister for Communications and that is what we have got under Paul Fletcher in his portfolio—capable people who understand what it is to turn an idea into a reality.

Let us have a look at the reality. Remember there were only going to be five towns under the Labor NBN that were going to get it. These are the ones who have got the NBN now: Pomonal, Quantong, Rainbow, Rupanyup, St Arnaud, Stawell, Warracknabeal, Watchem, Wycheproof, Cohuna, Curlwaa, Halls Gap and Koondrook. Let us have a look at some of the others where it is coming: Charlton, Buangor, Cabarita, Culgoa, Irymple, Merbein, Mildura, Nhill, Euston, Robinvale, Swan Hill, Cohuna, Red Cliffs, Horsham, Dimboola, Donald, Warracknabeal, St Arnaud, Ouyen, Kerang, Stawell, Edenhope. These are going to be switched on in the next 12 months. This is going ahead. If you want to compare what is reality to what is a dream, we are delivering the NBN. Let me name a few more: Kerang, Koondrook, Tragowel, Robinvale, Cardross, Irymple, Merbein, Merbein South, Mildura East, Nangiloc, Red Cliffs, Red Cliffs South. The list goes on.

We were only going to get five. Now we are going to have 48,000 houses across the electorate of Mallee that will have NBN. The rest are going to have satellite. We are delivering it. If you vote Labor you will wait longer. If you vote Labor you will pay more. If you vote Labor you will not get any coverage in regional Victoria and certainly not in Mallee. We are the ones delivering it.

A little less conversation, a little more action please is what the electorate asked for. That is exactly what they are getting, under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in the delivery of this program. They know it. That is why you guys are in a whole world of trouble when the next election comes your way.