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Thursday, 7 December 2017
Page: 13092

Broadband


Ms CLAYDON (Newcastle) (14:36): My question is to the Prime Minister. Family Support Newcastle provides support to children and women facing domestic violence. The organisation has been trying to switch to the NBN since May, often losing services for days and, indeed, weeks at a time. Doesn't Family Support Newcastle deserve something more than the Prime Minister's second-rate NBN?


Mr FLETCHER (BradfieldMinister for Urban Infrastructure) (14:37): I do thank the member for her question. If Labor were still in government now, anybody who thinks that the NBN would have been delivered in accordance with the sorts of promises that were being made by Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard would be deeply, deeply naive—deeply, deeply naive.

Mr Speaker, let me just remind you of some of the things that were going on when Labor left office. We had a situation where the NBN defined premises as being passed where cable had been laid in the street. We had the situation where NBN were continually changing the goalposts in terms of the definition of when premises had been passed. What you have seen under this government is a commitment to delivery and to getting the rollout done: 6½ million premises around the country are now able to connect.

It's also very interesting to go back and look at what's called service class 0, which are premises contained in areas planned to be serviced by fibre but not yet serviceable. In the last few years of Labor, those numbers went up and up and up. In 2013, 31 per cent of premises were at service class 0 because Labor were desperate to get whatever they could to be able to deliver a rollout and to try to cover up the fact that the numbers they were producing were simply hopeless.

Their plan said that by mid-June 2011 they would pass 223,000 premises. They passed 10,575 premises. By mid-2012 they said they would pass 496,000. They passed fewer than 100,000. By mid-2013 they said they would pass 1.7 million and they passed fewer than 300,000.

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Urban Infrastructure will just resume his seat for a second. The member for Newcastle, a point of order?

Ms Claydon: Yes, a point of order around relevance. The question was specifically around the lack of services to Family Support Newcastle, and I'd ask you to bring the minister back to the question.

The SPEAKER: The minister has the call. The minister is on the policy topic of the National Broadband Network.

Mr FLETCHER: One of the reasons you know Labor would never have delivered on their sweeping claims is the consistent record of misleading commentary from the shadow minister and from the Leader of the Opposition. But hold on: after two terms of a Labor government and $6 billion in expenditure of taxpayers' money, fewer than three per cent of Australian households were connected, so how could you be so sure you were on track, when you have that slow pace of advancement? When the shadow minister was asked about it by Emma Alberici on ABC television in October, her answer was, 'This was a rollout that was not only complex but was in fact nation-building.' That didn't convince Emma Alberici, because it wasn't an answer. The shadow minister claimed that somehow they were addressing the digital divide, and the reality was that Labor could not deliver the NBN. Labor's NBN delivery record was hopeless. We are getting on with rolling out the NBN.