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Monday, 23 October 2017
Page: 11516


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:00): My question is to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's second-rate copper NBN is creating a digital divide across Australia, with the one side of some streets getting first-rate fibre, while the other side gets second-rate copper. How is this fair? Will the Prime Minister admit that his second-rate copper NBN is creating a digital divide across this nation? (Time expired)

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:01): Few things better demonstrate the incompetence of the Labor Party than the conception of the NBN during that glorious Conrovian era—

Dr Aly interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: when for six years this crack band of managers, these fearless entrepreneurs, succeeded in connecting 51,000 premises to the NBN—in six years.

Dr Aly: What have you done?

The SPEAKER: The member for Cowan is warned!

Mr TURNBULL: The NBN right now is doing more than that every 10 days. That's the difference. Getting on with the job and building it.

When they announced that they were going to establish a government company to build a national broadband network, the Labor Party said that it would be the most fantastic commercial opportunity. Kevin Rudd said that mums and dads would be lining up to invest. But he said—he was stern about this, Mr Speaker—that even though it was going to be the best investment ever, the government would hold 51 per cent. He was going to hold back all of that wall of investment enthusiasm, to limit it to 49 per cent. What a train wreck it was: tens of billions of dollars wasted by the Labor Party, leaving us with the biggest corporate train wreck ever undertaken by a federal government. Now, what we've done is we've got on with the job. We've got on with the job. We're playing the hand of cards we were dealt by Labor and we're building it. We're building it for $30 billion less than it would have been under Labor and in six to eight years less time.

You know, I've heard the shadow minister talk about regional Australia. I'm sure when she gets there she'll find it very interesting. Let me tell you: under our construction program of the NBN, regional Australia is getting finished sooner. The satellite is up and the fixed wireless component will be completed next year. The reality is we're getting on with the job. Over three million premises are connected. As for the digital divide that the honourable member spoke about, he will be interested to know that whether people are connected by fibre to the premises, fibre to the node, hybrid fibre coaxial or by fixed wireless, the vast majority are ordering speeds of 25 megabits per second or less.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my left! I remind the member for Cowan that she's been warned and yet she continues to interject. If she continues to do so, she will be ejected. The members for Bendigo and Braddon are on notice.