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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3337


Mr BILLSON (Dunkley) (19:00): Mr Deputy Speaker, you and many of my colleagues here have been to that great Southern Hemisphere capital which is not Santiago or Buenos Aires: it is Frankston! You would know that that capital of the south-east of greater Melbourne is a fantastic community, blessed by a lot of really terrific attributes: the coastal location, a vibrant commercial hub—

Mr Hawke: The federal member!

Mr BILLSON: Well, yes. Thank you for interjecting about the qualities of the federal member. It has always been a bit close, though, so maybe not everyone holds that view!

You would be as surprised as I am, Mr Deputy Speaker, in all of the talk and the hoopla around Labor's long-promised but little-delivered NBN, that the great commercial centre of Frankston does not even feature in the rollout maps. Let alone the lack of progress and the tempo at which the rollout is progressing, and the highly ambitious roll-out schedule that is published: the great city of Frankston, the commercial hub—the capital of the south-east of greater Melbourne—does not even rate on the rollout plan.

Under the best likely scenario, given current rates of progress under Labor's NBN, the capital city of Frankston might get some action in about 2022, if they are lucky. 2022 if they are lucky, for what is recognised as the regional activity centre—both the current state government and the previous Labor state government saw it as a crucial part of the economic future of the metropolis of Melbourne. But in Labor 's world of NBN Co. and all of the problems it has had actually hitting any of its rollout targets, there is one way to avoid disappointment in Frankston—and that is not to include it in the program at all. They cannot be late because they are not even on the schedule! Even at the current rate of progress—2021, 2022 or 2023—then maybe the economic hub that is Frankston city might be factored into Labor's NBN plan.

It goes into the industrial state to the north of Frankston around Belvedere Park and Carrum Downs, where a lot of economic activity has been seen. In the great community of Mornington—one that I know you, Mr Deputy Speaker, in your terrific role as Minister for Veterans' Affairs have visited as we looked at that fantastic Memorial Park in Mornington—there is so much economic activity in the main street: retail sales activity, restaurants and professional service providers, and even in the industrial area out to Mornington East. Guess what? They are not even on the rollout plan either!

You hear the Labor government and its members talking about what a wonder the NBN will be. Well, the NBN is on the never-never in Dunkley. Under Labor, the NBN is on the never-never in Dunkley. You can imagine my excitement when with the release of the coalition's plan by our leader, Tony Abbott, and our very capable communications and broadband shadow minister, Malcolm Turnbull, we could say to those communities that under the coalition faster broadband, rolled out more swiftly and more affordably, will be coming to Dunkley. We were delighted to brief Frankston City Council mayor and senior executives and the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council mayor and senior executives about the prospects of higher speed, more affordable broadband coming to their communities under a coalition government if we can earn the support to be elected, compared to the never-never scenario that they face under Labor.

We thought that with updating its rollout plans in recent weeks the government may have been stung into action by the coalition's exceptionally good policy: recognising the new universal support for the rollout strategy that gets something done to deliver high-speed more affordable broadband to communities like the greater Frankston and Mornington communities. I thought when there was much announcement and hoopla again about the updated rollout plan that the Gillard government might have been stung into action. But just to rub salt into the injury, guess what? Still not included. Labor is saying a million more households. But no: no work to be commenced until the 2020s in Mornington, Frankston South, the Frankston Central Activities District, the Pines and Seaford for any time in the foreseeable future.

Contrast that with the commitment of the coalition. Not only will the work be undertaken; it will be completed. In those communities we would roll out faster broadband across the Dunkley electorate within the first three years under an Abbott government if we are able to earn that opportunity. That is a real, rock-solid commitment that my community welcomes. Not only will it be available—what an enormous step forward!—not only will it be very fast and not only will it identify those commercial areas as a priority; for most households it will be $300 a year cheaper. With cost-of-living pressures, broadband costs should be coming down not going up. Get on the coalition plan; NBN Co.'s plan under Labor is a dud for the Dunkley community.