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Thursday, 7 February 2013
Page: 502

Mr SIDEBOTTOM (BraddonParliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (09:57): Good morning, colleagues. I would like to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly, if I may. The good is the announcement on Wednesday that faster broadband would be coming to the north-west coast of Tasmania and to the rest of Australia. All Australians now will have access to faster speeds on the National Broadband Network than they can get today over the ageing copper network, following an upgrade to the NBN's fixed wireless and satellite services. This is really important to people in my electorate and no doubt to yours too, Mr Deputy Speaker Scott. Those people are outside the fibre rollout areas, so this means that everyone will have access to broadband. The super highway will now provide speeds of 25 megabits per second for downloads and five megabits per second for the uploads. There is the guarantee of the national wholesale pricing for broadband services. That is fantastic news.

The bad news, unfortunately, is that recently Tony Abbott came to Tasmania. That is not bad, as everyone is welcome to come to Tassie, but he was asked to make his policy clear on the GST, its distribution and the model thereafter that would be used for that distribution. He was again asked to clarify his views on the GST for Tasmania and whether he would continue to support Western Australia's demand that the GST be based on a per capita modelling. He refused to repudiate the Western Australia model and demand from Colin Barnett. Tony Abbott has again refused to rule out the threat of a $700 million loss to Tasmania if he does not abide by the current GST distribution model.

He was also asked about policies and funding for Tasmania, and he came out with a ridiculous statement that he would completely duplicate the Midland Highway from Hobart to Launceston for $430 million when $2½ billion to $3 billion is what it would cost. It is just silliness. Then today we hear about his plan for Northern Australia. He is going to rip out 46,000 public service jobs, and I estimate 4,000 of those would come from Tasmania. He is talking about creating a food bowl in the north of Australia. We have a food bowl in Tasmania, and if Tony Abbott and his cronies would commit to policies that would support the development of those industries in Tasmania instead of some of these crazy ideas in the north, then we might get somewhere.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! In accordance with standing order 193 the time for constituency statements has concluded.