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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3459


Ms PRICE (Durack) (10:15): This week's attack by the member for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan, on the Abbott government's rollout of the NBN was nothing more than an attempt by the Labor Party to use the regions for their own political gain.

The member for metropolitan Perth has no interest in helping the people of Geraldton or the rest of regional Western Australia; she just wants to use them as a political football. Why else would she go out of her way to use valuable parliamentary time to talk about a region outside of her electorate? Is nothing else happening in Perth? Her speech was a fumbling, inaccurate account of Geraldton's NBN rollout that was focused on attacking a highly respected minister rather than the issue at hand.

As Geraldton residents would know from the many times I have updated them on the NBN, our government is working to resolve the many issues caused by Labor's failed attempt to roll out this service while ensuring it continues in a timely and cost-effective manner. In fact, our rollout will save Australian taxpayers some $29 billion. In Geraldton specifically we have continued to progress with design work while we look to negotiate new contracts to build the network. We are hopeful these will be signed in coming months.

What a lot of people do not realise is that, under Labor, work in Geraldton had come to a grinding halt. Syntheo had walked away from the project months before the federal election in 2013. Labor's constant attack of the NBN rollout is nothing more than a smokescreen for their own failure and a way for them to pass the buck.

The truth is that, despite Labor's shameful promise that they would deliver the NBN to regional Australia, NBN Co never owned the radio spectrum to cover the wireless footprint. In other words, it was never going to happen and we have been left to the pick up the mess.

The member for Perth has done nothing more than create another mythical world for Labor rather than live in reality. The reality for Geraldton is this: Labor became fixated on one form of technology—fibre to the premises—and have tried to claim that this is the only way Australia can achieve very fast broadband, which is simply not the case.

The UK and the USA have both successfully used fibre to the node, so it is not remotely experimental and has been proven not only to deliver very fast broadband but to deliver it cost-effectively—something the Labor Party does not seem to understand. Despite this, Minister Turnbull said only yesterday in the House that it is very likely that the rollout of the last four contracts in Geraldton will be fibre to the premises. Unlike Labor, our government does not want to make promises we cannot keep.