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Monday, 15 November 2010
Page: 2398

Ms HALL (6:34 PM) —At the commencement of my contribution to this debate on the National Broadband Network Financial Transparency Bill 2010 I must say I am really surprised that the member for Maranoa cannot see the benefit of the NBN to his electorate, because I believe that his constituency and those people that are living outside big cities are the ones that have the greatest potential to benefit from the NBN. I understand that the member for Wentworth lives in inner Sydney. That is a very nice area where you can access all the services and infrastructure you need. But in areas like the area I represent and like most of the members in this parliament represent, we struggle to get access to that vital infrastructure. Do you know what I think this legislation is? It is legislation to delay, to put barriers in front of the national broadband network, NBN, being introduced. It is a tactic.

We all know that the Leader of the Opposition gave the member for Wentworth the brief of demolishing and destroying the NBN. He is doing it in a very subtle way; he is trying to prevent it actually becoming operational. The member for Wentworth should be ashamed of himself. The people of Australia can actually see through what he is doing here. I can assure the House that my constituents in Shortland are well aware of the benefit that the NBN will have for them. They do not believe that establishing a joint select committee to oversee the rollout of the NBN will benefit them. They do not see that will allow them to be able to access broadband, let alone fast-speed broadband, any quicker. They just see this as members living in a very nice area of inner Sydney putting barriers in front of their being able to access what they believe is their right. They do not believe that the Productivity Commission doing a cost-benefit analysis will do anything to help them get fast-speed broadband any quicker. No, they recognise it for what it is. They recognise that requiring a Productivity Commission cost-benefit analysis and the publication of a 10-year business plan for the NBN Co. is just a delaying tactic that is designed to prevent them from accessing fast-speed broadband.

On this side of the House we know that the nations that embrace fast-speed broadband are the nations that will succeed. It has already been shown how far behind Australia is in relation to broadband: 17th out of 31 countries on national broadband penetration; the fifth most expensive among 30 developed countries on broadband prices; 50th in terms of broadband speeds; equal last on deployment of optic fibre broadband; and 29th out of 50 countries on an average connection speed at 2.6 megabytes per second. On this side of the House we do not support that. We support fast-speed broadband for everyone. We recognise its worth to businesses. We know that businesses such as in the area I represent on the Central Coast and near Lake Macquarie need this to be competitive. It means that residents living on the Central Coast will no longer need to travel to Sydney; they will be able to work from their home. It is bringing their work to where they live.

The member for Wentworth should be condemned for trying to frustrate the government in its efforts to roll out fast-speed broadband to all Australians. This is good legislation that will be good for Australia and good for the people I represent in this parliament.