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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5823

Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (15:01): Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches and what impact these might have on broadband affordability?

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (15:01): Unfortunately, I am aware of alternative approaches. Those opposite do continue to advocate for an inflexible and unaffordable fibre-at-any-cost approach to the rollout. Under the Australian Labor Party's approach, Australians would not only have been left waiting an extra six to eight years for better broadband but also they would have been saddled with the most unaffordable broadband plans anywhere in the world. Under one scenario, Labor's all-fibre rollout would have driven up average internet bills by more than $500 a year. Affordability was never a consideration for the Labor Party in the rollout, whether it was the affordability of the rollout or the affordability of plans for end users. If Labor had continued in office, there is no doubt that this would have been another case of unaffordable bills— (Time expired)

Senator Brandis: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.