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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 3972

Mr WHITELEY (BraddonGovernment Whip) (13:47): On Thursday of last week I presented the Prime Minister and the Premier of Tasmania with a detailed plan to deliver a fibre-to-the-node service to the mining towns of Queenstown, Rosebery and Zeehan and fixed wireless to Strahan, it having been discovered in 2015 that there was no existing fibre backhaul link between Queenstown and the north-west. NBN Co then decided the west coast would have to have a satellite service. Like many of the problems with the NBN that have been faced by the Turnbull government this one has its genesis with the previous federal and state Labor governments, which rolled out a state-wide backhaul fibre network but forgot all about the west coast of Tasmania.

Cynically, the day before I presented my plan to deliver fibre to the west coast the Labor Party quickly cobbled together a policy and rushed to announce it. So poorly was this policy put together they completely left off the map Strahan, one of Tasmania's premier tourist destinations, failed to work with the state government to utilise existing infrastructure and neglected to state which technology each town would receive. I see the Labor Party has been out there trying to say it is fibre to the node, but they were not willing to include that in their written media release. Here is the kicker, their plan is uncosted. They say it will be $29 million—$11 million more than the plan I have come up with—and they say the NBN can pay for it, as if it has a bottomless pit of money to fund election promises from Labor.