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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Page: 2154


Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (16:44): This government is so dysfunctional and chaotic, and is also a government with all the wrong priorities. Here they are, pushing for a $65 billion tax cut for multimillionaires and big business whilst at the same time cutting essential services. One of the areas where they really fail, and especially fail the people of regional Australia, is their disastrous NBN rollout. I'm constantly approached by locals with complaints regarding the rollout of the NBN. Under this government, the NBN has been a complete failure, resulting in cost blow-outs and poor service. We know the costs have blown out from a promised $2.5 billion to a huge $49 billion and counting. Of course, one of the biggest costs of this chaotic rollout is the human cost, the one that affects the people of Australia, the people this government should be taking care of. So I stand here today on behalf of the people of my electorate of Richmond and call out the government for their treatment of consumers in the NBN rollout.

I could, for hours, give case study after case study of people failed by the government in this botched rollout. The fact is the NBN delivers a far less reliable service, and the NBN technology does not work with many of the medical alert devices that ensure that elderly people can live independently in their homes. NBN Co cannot adequately explain the shortfalls in the system, meaning that many elderly people are left stranded.

The fact is the NBN delivers slower speeds. Despite the promises to consumers of lightning speeds, the reality is the infrastructure is inadequate and simply can't deliver. Consumers are being sold highly priced plans by their service providers on the basis of speeds the NBN simply can't meet. Further complaints include but aren't limited to: an 80-year-old woman who, despite a medical priority, had a phone disconnected for over a fortnight; a 99-year-old who was not advised that one of her two vital telephone lines would be removed, nor was she provided with any guidance as to her medical alert system; parents and businesses waiting weeks, after switching over, to get any access to the internet and then speeds being slower than their previous connections; business and community groups being told they don't have the infrastructure required to get them connected and back in business.

This situation is disastrous for the elderly, local students, families and businesses who rely on the NBN. The fact is businesses need to be in touch with their clients to be productive and efficient. Parents need to know their children can complete their homework and have access to the ever-evolving technologies that are relevant to their futures. The elderly need the peace of mind and security that comes from knowing they're only a phone call away from their family and from some important assistance. I call on the Turnbull government to fix this mess of their own making. It is disastrous right across the country.

Who is it that's failed the people of regional and rural Australia the most? Well, it's the National Party, and that's a fact. As I've often said in this place, National Party choices hurt, and this disastrous stuff-up of the NBN rollout is one of those choices that they have made that have greatly hurt locals living in the country. In fact, as we know, the National Party long ago deserted the people living in the regions. I think this botched NBN rollout really shows how little they care for people in regional and rural Australia.