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Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Page: 7647


Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (19:14): I move opposition amendment (12):

Schedule 1, after item 16, page 33 (after line 4), add:

Part 3—Amendments relating to Parts 7 and 8 of the Telecommunications Act 1997

Telecommunications Act 1997

17 After subsection 141(1)

Insert:

(1A)   However, this section does not apply to a local access line that

(a)   was installed in a project area of a real estate development project after the commencement of part 3 of schedule to the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures—Access Arrangements) Act 2011; and

(b)   was installed in compliance with any applicable provisions of part 20A; and

(c)   was installed by a person that is not Telstra or NBN Co; and

(d)   is owned by that person, or by a body corporate related to that person; and

(e)   is operated by that person, or by a body corporate related to that person; and

(f)   is used only to supply carriage services to end-users in the project area.

18 Subsection 141(10), after the definition of national broadband network

Insert:

related, of bodies corporate, has the same meaning as in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

20 Section 142A, after the definition of rail corporation

Insert:

related, of bodies corporate, has the same meaning as in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

19 After subsection 143(1)

Insert:

(1A)   However, this section does not apply to a local access line that

(a)   was installed in a project area of a real estate development project after the commencement of part 3 of schedule to the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures—Access Arrangements) Act 2011; and

(b)   was installed in compliance with any applicable provisions of part 20A; and

(c)   was installed by a person that is not Telstra or NBN Co; and

(d)   is owned by that person, or by a body corporate related to that person; and

(e)   is operated by that person, or by a body corporate related to that person; and

(f)   is used only to supply carriage services to end-users in the project area.

This amendment amends the provisions of the Telecommunications Act which can be succinctly described as the 'cherry picking' provisions. They are designed to ensure that anyone who builds any fibre infrastructure after the relevant date, which is defined as 1 January 2011, must make a layer 2 bit stream service available in the same way as the NBN. There is a provision in the act that we are seeking to amend—section 141A—to enable the minister to exempt a specified network from section 141.

We are seeking here to provide that networks installed in greenfields areas by cable providers, called greenfield operators, that are not Telstra or NBN Co. will be, by virtue of this amendment, exempted. The purpose of this is to enable that competitive independent broadband business to continue. If these amendments—the one we have just debated and this one—were both adopted it would give a developer these three very clear options: first, he or she would firstly install the pit and pipes—that is their obligation. Second, the developer could wait for the NBN to turn up and pull the fibre through those pits and pipes or, pursuant to our first amendment, engage an independent cable contractor to install technically compliant infrastructure which the NBN would then be, if the developer so chose, required to purchase at the rate determined by the minister. The third option for the developer is to enter into an agreement with an independent cable network operator—TransACT being probably the largest independent cable operator—to install the pits and pipes, pull the cable through and then provide an independent service along the same lines as it does in many areas, including this fair city, the capital of our great nation.

This amendment will ensure that that competition will be able to continue. These are going to be relatively small networks, they do not pose any material risk or threat to the NBN, and this will enable that nascent—a word the minister liked, which I take as meaning 'young and promising and developing'—industry to continue to grow, as opposed to being utterly wiped out by the combination of the government's NBN policy and the provisions that we are seeking to amend—that is to say, parts 7 and 8 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.

This amendment, again, is not something that has emerged from a political discussion on our side. It is an attempt to provide a solution to serious problems raised by serious people from the industry who believe that without a change of this kind they, their businesses and their employees are going to be put out of work. I commend this amendment, in the interests of competition, in the interests of jobs, to the House.