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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 7114

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (17:16): Nothing better underlines the obfuscation and lack of accountability of the government when it comes to the NBN than the minister's persistent failure today to answer some very straightforward questions about the rollout schedule for the NBN.

Mr Albanese: I answered them!

Mr TURNBULL: The minister says he answered them. He has given no answer. The question is, is it a fact that the NBN as of June 2013 will pass only 255,143 houses in brownfield areas, or 26.9 per cent of that forecast in 2010? And is it a fact that it will pass only 21,946 greenfield houses, or only 6.9 per cent of that forecast to be passed by June 2013 in 2010?

The minister, if he deigns to answer that question instead of giving us a long turgid fluff and flannel about the joys of the NBN Co. He talks about—

Mr Albanese: You might learn something!

Mr TURNBULL: while he is trying to talk over the top of me—Mr Quigley's excuse that the Telstra deal held up the rollout of the NBN. While the minister is reflecting on that nonsense, he might have regard to the fact that the definitive agreement signed between NBN and Telstra in June 2011 included, and I quote:

… various interim arrangements to enable NBN Co to obtain immediate access to Telstra infrastructure before the other Definitive Agreements become binding.

The NBN Co. has had access to Telstra's infrastructure pursuant to that agreement for a year now. The excuse that it was all the Telstra deal that caused this shocking failure to meet their targets is just not made out.

But I have one question that this minister may deign to answer, having refused to answer the others. I ask him whether the NBN has targeted geographic locations for its advertising campaign where the NBN will actually be rolled out in stage 1? And if not, why not? I note that recently on page 4 of the Home Hill Observer of 4 April, 2012, there was an advertisement for the NBN which said, 'Stage 1: To see if you are one of the first, visit'. I ask the minister, does he think the NBN Co. might have made the job easier for the residents of Home Hill in Queensland, and easier on the taxpayers of Australia, if it either had not advertised in the Home HillObserver, or told them straight up that they will not even be in stage 1 of the rollout? Is it not the fact, minister, that these advertisements have been run willy-nilly across the country to create the misleading impression that the NBN Co. is being rolled out in many areas where it is simply not even on the government's plans intended to be rolled out over the next three years? Work will not even commence in Home Hill in the first stage.

But there is an ad. So of course, in the lead-up to the next election, the residents of Home Hill will read their newspaper and they will assume—unless they actually go onto the website—that the NBN is coming. But it is not. But the NBN is advertising. They are using taxpayers' money to mislead Australians about this incompetently managed project.