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Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Page: 7363

Broadband


Senator FURNER (Queensland) (14:31): My question is to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy. Can the minister advise the Senate on recent developments with the National Broadband Network and how they benefit regional Australia?


Senator CONROY (VictoriaMinister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity) (14:31): I thank Senator Furner for his question and for his interest in regional Australia, unlike those opposite. Today on the Gold Coast the NBN Co. has opened its new NBN National Contact Centre. Senators know that the NBN Co. is on track to meet its target of having work commenced or completed for 758,000 homes and businesses across Australia by the end of this year. As the NBN ramps up across Australia, the contact centre at Varsity Lakes will play a critical role in responding to inquiries from the general public, property developers and businesses. The 130 new jobs at the NBN National Contact Centre are in addition to the 16,000 to 18,000 construction jobs expected to be created at the peak of the NBN rollout. This is just another example of the Gillard government's investment in the NBN, creating local jobs and boosting local economies. The NBN is rolling out to homes and businesses across the Gold Coast—in Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Ashmore and Southport—with the construction of 21½ thousand to be commenced or completed by June 2015. People in Queensland have all too recently seen the stark contrast between the commitment of Labor to invest in Queensland and the approach of the LNP and those opposite, with Campbell Newman's cuts of 14,000 jobs. The Gillard government is creating jobs in Queensland with the National Broadband Network.


Senator FURNER (Queensland) (14:33): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister advise the Senate on other recent developments in the development of the NBN?


Senator CONROY (VictoriaMinister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity) (14:33): Yesterday we announced another 16,600 homes and businesses in Northern Queensland will be able to access the NBN in about 12 months time. New NBN fibre construction maps for Cairns, Mackay and Townsville have been released covering 12 suburbs. Across Queensland, we are on track this week for the construction of 21½ thousand.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Conroy is entitled to be heard in silence.

Senator CONROY: Across Queensland we are on track to have construction for fibre services commenced or completed for 429,000 homes and businesses by mid-2015. And what did the local business in Cairns say? Local Cairns businessman Victor de Silva told the Cairns Post, 'For us it would be a huge benefit— (Time expired)




Senator FURNER (Queensland) (14:35): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Can the minister provide advice on other recent developments in the development of the NBN in other states?


Senator CONROY (VictoriaMinister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity) (14:35): I was very pleased recently to be in regional Western Australia to launch the first NBN fixed wireless services in Geraldton. This means cheaper prices for better broadband. The Wyatt family were the first customers in Western Australia to be connected to the fixed wireless service in NBN using an iiNet service. This is what Mrs Wyatt said of her new NBN service: 'We are paying a lot less to get a faster and better service. It's just wonderful.'

From Cairns to Coolangatta, from the Gold Coast to Geraldton, people will pay the same for NBN services as those living in the cities. Only one party in this chamber is guaranteeing equal services and equal prices for broadband for people living in regional Australia. (Time expired)