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ABC News 24: 12 Noon News -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) we would be pleased to take your questions. We will take

NBN questions first. When we

have exhausted NBN questions I have exhausted NBN questions

will take other questions. My

experience of these press conferences is there

conferences is there are people

interested in the technical

questions and people with a

broader view so I will try and

shepherd the questions on that basis. (Inaudible Question). If there is a change of

government, then the NBN will stopped. So for anybody who

out the status of their suburb, gets on the web site and checks

if you are expecting to get the

National Broadband Network and if

the Government changes at the

next election, you can forget.

No broadband under Tony Abbott. (Inaudible Question). Mike

might have to do that for

us. With are under way now by -

under way building some quarter

of a million premises, that's

work under way. By the end work under way. By the end of

this financial year, we will be

adding another 500,000 to that. Which

Which comes up to about three-quarters of

three-quarters of a million by Which

under way by the end of this

financial year - under way financial year - under way or built. We continue to ramp built. We continue to ramp to

achieve by June 2015 that total

of 3.547 million premises. They

are the best figures we can

give you. I will go give you. I will go Minister

Conroy on this but I want to be

clear about this. Wherever you

are scheduled in the rollout of

the NBN, your access to broadband if the Government changes. Tony Abbott has been

clear he wants to demolish the whether or not you have been National Broadband National Broadband Network so

connected or hoping to be

connected, the only way of

ensure ing broadband is there and continuing to roll out

around the nation is for our

government to continue that

mission. Tony Abbott doesn't

believe in people having the benefits of the National

Broadband Network. I will go

Minister con Roy. Let's not

muck around. Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull talk about

fibre to the node which means

using the copper tail. You will

have to compensate Telstra for using their existing copper network. Malcolm Turnbull says

Telstra will agree to bend it

in or buying the copper. He

wants to buy an asset that has

been in the ground for 100

years in case us, that is

degrading and has over a billion dollars of Telstra will

This is a plan rooted in the

last century, a plan that

ignores the band width demands

across the world and here in Australia continue Australia continue to

exponential. You have to exponential. You have to look

at the figures I talked about

in December, the evidence of

examples Malcolm used to talk about. Malcolm has been talking

about the UK, the former chief technology officer for BT who

appeared before a House of

Lords committee in the last few

days and he said what the UK

are planning will miss the next

industrial revolution we will

be using a candle while

everybody else is using a light globe.. We will go for however long. (Inaudible Question). We

will take other questions after

we have done NBN. (Inaudible

about Question). Let's be very clear

about the decision we have made

here. I have stood up for Australia's national interests.

I note the Opposition is

standing up for the interests standing up for the

of a Chinese company. We have

made decisions in the national interest. We have made

decisions we have the ability

to make. Any suggestion that

this is somehow in breach of

our trade obligations is simply

untrue. I note China itself

takes a view about its takes a view about its own

Telecommunications system and

roll out that it has got a special approach to whether or not there should be foreign investment in that. We have

taken a decision in the

national interests, we stand by

it. REPORTER: Isn't id a misleading thing to say there

will be no broadband under the Abbott government? There will

be no National Broadband Network. He has been clear the

mission he is on is to mission he is on is to demolish

the NBN. How do you respond the NBN. How do you respond to

reports today it is the most

expensive network? I have done

a couple of press conferences

on the economic analysis which

says in its assessment process any investment by the public or

government gets a area 0 out of 10. This is right wing

dogma. There are serious

factual areas they continue to

have in the economic analysis

it has released. Continue to

talk about 100 meg plan talk about 100 meg plan and

misquote the number of homes to

be connected. They get be connected. They get it

wrong. Where does your wrong. Where does your analysis

place the cost of this network?

In terms of is anyone else doing an ambitious program. We are the

are the only country committing

as much and we proud of the

fact, proud of the fact we are contributing as much money as

we are, the $27 billion commitment for the commitment for the Government

before its moves into equity

funding by NBN Co. We do not

resile from this. We are resile from this. We are proud

of the fact we are taking a

step. There has been a clear

market failure. This is a

female monopoly, you can look - natural monopoly where we have

seen consistent market failure.

150 disputes in the one sector

over the eight or nine years

other infrastructure sector compared with four in all the

You would expect that the

needs for rollout are different

than some places in the world

which are much higher

population density and much more geographically compact.

REPORTER: The decision to block

Huawei's involvement in the

NBN, what is happen ing? We

took a specific decision about

On other decisions, including the National Broadband Network.

decisions involving New Zealand

prudent we will continue to take a

prudent approach and if we have

anything to say to our friends in New Zealand about that, then at the appropriate time we

will. Given Labor's position

difference in the polls and given the vast

difference between the

Coalition policy on this, and

the big public cynicism about

this, why (inaudible) the only

time you see Labor championing

the benefits to this is at

press conferences like this.

There's no marketing or

anything like that. People just

don't know. This is probably going to be the only opportunity to find out these

figures. I actually don't

accept your analysis of community opinion about the

National Broadband Network. I

think people do want to see us

embrace the future and they do

understand the possibilities understand the possibilities of

the future. Now, inevitably

with a new technology like this

levels of understanding will

vary across the community. But

when I talk to business people,

they're very aware of the

economic possibilities of the National Broadband Network.

When I talk to people in health

care, they're very aware of the

ability it's going to give them

to diagnose and cure across

great distances. Certainly when

I talk to people in education,

they're very aware of how it's

going to hope h open for them a window on the best of education

and the best of learning around

the world. When you go to regional

regional Australia, there are

many regional communities

absolutely champing at the bit

to see the NBN come to their community because they

understand it's going to end a

tyranny of distance for them

that they've lived under. We

will be out there explaining

the benefits of the National Broadband Network, the way we

are today. Explaining it to

communities. But I think you will increasingly see

businesses and education

institutions and people

involved in health care and

people involved in looking

after older Australians who

rightly want to stay in their

own home for as long as possible starting to

increasingly talk to their own

communities and the people that

they deal with about the difference the National Broadband Network is going to

make. Could I add just, make. Could I add just, Nick, I've seen your commentary on

this. And I think you make a

compelling case. You make a

compelling case that there is a

need for greater community education. You education. You probably don't

listen to 2G B or some of the

other stations in Sydney but I

think you will discover that

NBN has just started an

advertising campaign on radio. If you wait for the weekend's

papers you may discover there's

some more advertising about to

take place. I think you have

made a very compelling case. I

agree with you and I probably just say be patient for a

little while longer. So we will definitely be out there . Just

back to Huawei, this is a company that's been in

Australia for a few years

now, It's in a lot of other

country, are you concerned that the (inaudible) compromised

corporate? Of course I'm not.

We've made a decision about

critical infrastructure for Australia's future and that is

the National Broadband Network. And

And I stand by that decision,

it's in Australia's national

interest. I note that

Opposition spokes people Opposition spokes people are out criticising the Government for that decision and

effectively advocating on

behalf of the a Chinese company. We have taken the

appropriate decision in

Australia's national interest

about this critical piece of infrastructure. Yes?

(Inaudible) ? Tha is not

right. In fact, I think by

accident some described as

political gene us on my part I

- genius I would love to tell

you that is true. While that

17-day period was going on, NBN

were about to begin digging and

began digging after the

election. NBN had the plan in

Armidale that we had announced six or eight months before the

election was called. We had no

idea that Armidale and New England would become such a

vital national seat that everyone wanted to talk everyone wanted to talk about, which started the process. NBN

Coe started constructing in the streets digging trenches in the

streets this n that period

while the rest of us were all acting or not even acting or not even acting Ministers we were all

technically without technically without portfolios,

that issue was being decided. So NBN Co. kept going through

that period so there was no

cessation of

construction. The risk factor

here isn't some risk factor which comes from the mechanics

of having an election. The risk

factor here is that if Tony

Abbott is ever Prime Minister

he has promised to end the

National Broadband Network., to

stop it, to prevent stop it, to prevent communities getting it and he's threatened to

to demolish it. That is the

risk factor. With the 3-year

rollout plan, it's expected

(inaudible) I will go to Mike

on that. He can talk you

through the stages. This is a long close a long close a decade-long

rollout. We've had some delays

obviously with the obviously with the negotiation of the Telstra deal of the Telstra deal and having

the Telstra deal approved by the ACCC which has happened

just recently. They got their

SSU through. That is really now

allowed us to get the

information we needed to

complete the work weave been

doing and really get going

going. We have to submit a new corpserate plan to the Government by the end of this

May. We will be updating that plan and trying to do everything we can to

that start delay and keep that start delay and keep on

track. We can't commit to that

but we are working pretty hard. Overall it's about a decade long. (Inaudible) We are still a work in still a work in progress while

there was been a delay in the start and what we did start and what we did on the construction contracts and

integrating in the 14 points of

interconnect moving to 1 21

point of interconnect, we point of interconnect, we are

working that through and will

be submitting a new plan to the Government at the end Government at the end of

May. Who haven't we taken a

question from? What is your reaction from the NBN Co..

(Inaudible) I don't want to

comment either one on 10

processes and the Prime

Minister has said Minister has said there's issues of national security. We

as a government business

enterprise execute on enterprise execute on the

instruction s give by our share owner. (Inaudible) I really won't comment on those kind of issues. Just a question on

people who are missing out.

Everyone will be racing to this

list. How are you choosing which suburbs miss out? For

instance just from looking at

this there's a cluster of

suburbs of say Crowsers in,

Nara burn, Chatswood but

Willoughby is missed out in between. Mike can explain, this has been about this has been about the engineering. So Mike can explain exactly how sites have

been selected. We do sites in

modules, those modules are between 2,500 to 3,000

premises. We plan to do those

and when you see a locations,

they tear modules that go to

build up a whole area. So what

we do is you may find that

there are constraints in

particular areas depending on

whether we have the links available back to a certain

place or it could be just straight engineering. straight engineering. Often we

don't want to do too many places in the same area

concurrently because concurrently because otherwise

we congest the streets. There

is as you know we have to haul

fibre through the fibre through the Telstra

ducts. That means there's

trucks in the street. We can't

afford to have that go ing on

every where at once. We've

tried to make sure we tried to make sure we sequence this effectively but haven't

congest ed area. How How would

you feel in every suburb you feel in every suburb around

you had it (inaudible)? That is

just a function of us trying to as I said, those principles that I outlined before. We've

sequenced it that way. We know

we're going to have some people

who are disappointed. But if I

can keep reiterating we will

have in another three months

some more announcements and we

will be announcing that next

year the, in a year's time,

people will be picked up eventually. Let's be eventually. Let's be clear,

no-one is missing out. In 12

months time we will be giving

you a 12-month update for the following 12 months. You are

likely to see thosary glass those

those holous're describing it grows

grows out kor or ganically. No-one is missing out. We

cannot do every street in

Australia in the first three

years. It is a massive national

infrastructure build. You mentioned rolling out the

trenches. Part of what Mike has

talked about is we're now talked about is we're now using the Telstra existing ducts. So

we're pulling through rather

than necessarily digging

trenches in our own right.

That's what Mike was talking

about in terms of cost safes to

the build. So no-one is missing out.

out. There's going to be

disappointed people. Committee

can't fit 12 million homes into the 3- year plan. the 3- year plan. The engineers

have used all the algorithms

and - alg rilt m s - and

everyone in Australia will get

the National Broadband Network. Lt What percentage Network. Lt What percentage of premises already connected to

the NBN have taken it up? That

varies across - we have eight sites now on as well as the

greenfields sites. We have

eight brownfield sites the knive mainland Australia and three in three in Tasmania. The three in Tasmania. The take-up

rates do vary. If if I can just

reiterate, we built those three

sites in Tasmania and five in

lain maend as trial s to test

operations, construction and general products. The take-up

rate in fact we are very

pleased with. Is in some of

those sites particularly Kai

yama and will ung ya., the

take-up rates are now above

25%. If you compare that with

fibre to the premise rollouts

overseas they don't get those

sorts of take-up rates until three or four years after they

started. These are high started. These are high take-up rates and, remember, rates and, remember, the copper network is being retired. Which

mean s when the fibre rolls

out, 18 months after that the

copper network's retired so

take-up rate is not really an

issue for this project. One of the

the things we've taken these questions before. I think one

of the things that always of the things that always has

to be remembered here is how

people adapt to the use of new

technology. Even as we've technology. Even as we've been

having this discussion today

I've seen a number of heads

bent over their Black berries

or iPhones. And when that

technology first became

available there were a lot of

people I'd have to say,

including myself, when mobile

phones first came out those phones first came out those big

bricks I said to people I was

working with then, I don't

a use for them! Now how a use for them! Now how wrong

was I. Very, very wrong because

I'm as intensive a user as the

people who are bent over their

phones now. That is how quickly the introduction and adaptation

and use of that technology and use of that technology has taken hold in our community

with the National Broadband

Network we're going to see Network we're going to see the

same sort of expansion. So

people will understand its use,

want it, get using it, once

they get use it they will

understand even more application for it and on and

on it will go. I can't think

there were too many people here

when they first heard about

mobile phones understood the

world of applications that we

would be in today. We will go across, yes. What across, yes. What evidence did

the Government base its

decision (inaudible) We take appropriate advice and used

that advice to make our

decisions. I am not commenting

in detame on what ultimately

our national security

matters. Huawei have matters. Huawei have said that

they expect (inaudible) is that a possibility? I am not speculating about hypotheticals for the future. We made a decision in Australia's

national interest based on appropriate advice. The Government's made the right

decision. We made it decision. We made it carefully. We made it well informed and it

was the right thing to do. Has

the Government made a policy decision on (inaudible)? That is one of the

issues we're still talking with

Mike and the team about. Mike and the team about. In

terms of the update of terms of the update of the corporate plan. No final decision has been made on

that. Obviously they have to

in corporate a cost one way or

the other. So we will be finalising that discussion over the next month or two. A

question here? Just going back

to what you were saying at the

start, (inaudible) There will

be. I will go to Mike for be. I will go to Mike for the

more technical description but

the best way of saying we're

rolling out, which means we're

on a roll. So you will see

continuous updating as NBN goes

through so there will be through so there will be more

information each three months.

There will be another plan in

12 months time which shows you

as the rollout keeps as the rollout keeps going

where it's going to next. For

the technical reason s the technical reason s Mike understands an can describe to

you in detail, as you start thern you build there and thern you build there and can

roll out the next bit beyond

and the next bit beyond and

people will be kept

continuously updated as to that

- as that rollout happens and

grows on what we have announced today. This is probably today. This is probably more a

question for Mike. When will we

see the first copper being

switched off? The deal with

Telstra just became unconditional as you know in

the last month or so as the

ACCC approved the deal. Once we

have declared an ESAM, these

modules of 2,000 to 3,000

people, then we are in a

process with Telstra where we

begin that migration and it

will take overall we've allowed

18 months. Although the CEO 18 months. Although the CEO of

Telstra has said he really want s to do that faster. So

both complaence be working on

accelerating that swiching off of the copper module by

module. So you don't have a

time to - That will happen as

we build the modules we will do

them one at a time. It won't

take place at once. take place at once. It will happen module by

module. (Inaudible) That

is not what has motivated the Government here, so I know

you've asked a rhetorical question and so

question and so I don't want

that my response to be seen as

in any way embracing in any way embracing the

premise of your rhetorical and,

with respect, very silly question. On the decision we've taken here we've taken here and relationships with China, relationships with China, we've

got a strong, robust

relationship with China. We relationship with China. We are deeply engaged at every level.

We have a strong economic relationship. We have increasing

increasing ties at every level. Diplomatic ties, multi lateral ties, people to people LINCS and you will continue to and you will continue to see our relationship with China

strengthen and grow. Does that

mean that there will never be a moment where we see things definitely? Of course not.

There will be moments when we

see things definitely and I am

not surprised this is a moment

where we are seeing one thing

differently. It would be a

great error indeed to move from

a moment where we are seeing

one thing differently and then

extrapolate that to the full

dimensions of the relationship

- a very grave error indeed.

Once again, I do reiterate the

decision we have taken is not in

in breach of any trade rules or

trade arrangements with China

that is simply not true. It is

a decision open to the Australian Government. We've

taken it for the right reasons through the right process,

based on the right advice about

a piece of critical

infrastructure for our nation's

future. I do note that in China

people also make decisions

about their nation's future and

who should be involved in the

rollout of their own telecommunications. They want

to make those decisions for themselves completely understandably so do we. We

will go here. Are there any

plans to assist the businesses who missed out on the

rollout? The rollout is going

to keep happening as we have

described it. It simply can't

happen fr where at happen fr where at once. I

understand business s will be

anxious for the rollout. Put as

simply as possible we 're

determined to get the National

Broadband Network around the

country. We're working on it

hard. We're working through the National Broadband Network

company. We will certainly be saying to the Australian people

this is a project of

significance to our nation's future and our economic future and our economic future.

Under us, you you can be

assured it will continue if the

Government changes then it will

be dead. (Inaudible) You can

only do what in the real only do what in the real world

you can do. If I could snap you can do. If I could snap my

fingers and have every premise

in Australia connected in in Australia connected in the

next second would I do it? Of

course I would. But we live in

a world where you have to have

trucks in streets, trenches

dug, fibre rolled dug, fibre rolled out, connections worked connections worked through. You

to work on the basis of the infrastructure from Telstra

that's there and the right way

of rolling this out. That is

what we're doing now. That is

the only way it can be done. Yes? (Inaudible) Are

there any other NBN questions,? Last one. (Inaudible) The

people who give us advice base

their advice on sound analysis

and their understanding of the

facts. OK, right we will move

to other questions. Thank,

Mike. We will let you retire from from the fray. (Inaudible) I might have have the relevant Minister address that. Thanks. The

claims that there is criminal

conduct, if there is any and if

the AFR aware of any - the AFR aware of any - 14,000

emails is a lot as you know. I

haven't read them all. You

perhaps have. I think Neil

has. But if there's anything in

there that he thinks

constitutes criminal conduct he

should refer to it should refer to it the Federal Police. We've not referred anything to 2 Federal anything to 2 Federal Police. The Federal Police have said publicly they haven't received a referral. If a referral. If there's any

evidence of that, then the evidence of that, then the AFR should put to it the Federal

Police but we have not made a

reference, the police have not

received a reference, as

obviously as they have

indicated in ongoing support

they're goifg the UK. But the

Government has not severed anything to the Federal

Police. Is the Government

planning to make any

referrals? No, the Minister has

just dealt with that. If there

is anyone who has in their

possession material that they think raises a Kernaghan about

a criminal offence they should refer to it

refer to it the police. , on

another issue, the Treasurer

said this morning that the

Budget is probably one of the

toughest he has ever had to

deliver. What assurances that

people won't be worse off under thebridge? The assurance I can

give is we will take to the

forth coming budget our Labor values about managing the

economy in the interests of

working people and our Labor

approach about supporting families. When the world was threatened by the global

financial crisis, we stepped

up, we managed the economy in the interests of working

people. We supported jobs people. We supported jobs and

we also worked to provide new

benefits to working families to help the cost of living

pressures. Now, in the days

beyond the global financial

crisis, we can look at our

economy, our region, our world

and say to ourselves that the

pre-GFC world is never coming

back, it's never going to be

the same again. We live in a

different world now. We live in

a world full of opportunities

because of the growth in our

region but we also live in a

world that does confront us with some challenge with some challenge ing choices. We've got choices. We've got strong Australian dollar that is putting pressure on some parts

of our economy. We've got

companies that are coming companies that are coming into this period with this period with losses that

they can bring to book against

the tax system. That is

affecting revenues. We've got

continued instability in parts

of the global economy, particularly out of Europe. So what is the right thing to do

in all of those circumstance s?

The economic imper stif to

bring the budget to surplus.

That will lock in the

confidence we need for the

future and we will do that. As we make the choices to bring

the budget to surplus, we will

take our Labor values take our Labor values about

supporting working people and

working families with us working families with us as we make those decisions. Yes? Can

you guarantee wree the

childcare rebate won't be means tested? I have seen Budget

processes before and I've participated in them as Prime

Minister and I am not sheer at

this stage of the Budget preparation cycle going to get

into a rule in, rule out game about specific benefits or parts of the Government's

agenda. I know where this

leads. And two or three days

out from the Budget it leads to

a game of will you rule out selling the Sydney Harbour,

will you rule out exporting the

opera house and so it goes. So

I am not going to start playing

the game. But on child care,

can I say look at what this

Government has achieved to get

an indication of what we think

about child care. There has never been a time in our

nation's history where there

has been more government

support available for families

who need chair than there is under this Government today. Has means testing been considered? I've just told you

I am not playing your rule in,

rulout game. Make of that you

will. Because the next question

you will me about is another

government program and another

government program. You can

judge the Government on what we

have done. So what does this

Government think about chair?

We obviously think it's a very

- child care, we obviously

think it's a high priority

because otherwise we wouldn't

be investing more money in it

than at any other time in our nation's

nation's history. When we came

to Government we said support for

for families was not enough and

we worked with families to

increase the support available

to them. So I think our track record counts for something

when people are assessing when people are assessing the Government's priorities and

plans for the future. (Inaudible) I

couldn't comment on any ongoing

eggs investigation. They don't

keep me inform and it's not appropriate to ask about where are you investigating this