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Government changes its tune on broadband.

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Christian Zahra MP Federal Member for McMillan Parliamentary Secretary to Shadow Minister for Communications

MMEEDDIIAA RREELLEEAASSEE28 February 2002GOVERNMENT CHANGES ITS TUNE ON BROADBANDThe Prime Minister’s announcement of a new Broadband Advisory Group is anadmission that Australia needs to do more in this area, Parliamentary Secretary to theShadow Minister for Communications, Christian Zahra MP, said today.“Until now, Minister Alston has been pretending that broadband is either tooexpensive or is not relevant to the Australian community”, Mr Zahra said.“The Prime Minister’s announcement shows that the Government can no longer go onpretending.“The world of telecommunications is moving fast. Australia simply cannot afford thiskind of policy confusion if we are to become an international leader incommunications technologies.“One thing is for sure: there is much work to be done. The uneven distribution ofbroadband access between our cities and our regions must be addressed, whetherthrough cable, ADSL or wireless.“Labor has consistently argued for improved high speed telecommunicationsinfrastructure. We have also said that such infrastructure needs to be made widelyavailable to ensure that all Australians can share in the benefits of the informationeconomy. Overseas experience suggests that broadband is a crucial building block forthe information economy.“An OECD report released late last year ranked Australia only 16th out of 30 OECDmember countries in terms of our deployment of broadband internet networks andservices. The Government must explain how it is going to broaden access tohighspeed internet services and thus far they have failed to do this,” Mr Zahra said.endsMedia Contact: Christian Zahra, 0417 034 725