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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 14173

Ms BRODTMANN (Canberra) (10:42): I rise this morning to again speak about an issue that is having a significant impact on thousands of Canberrans—that is, their internet connection, or lack thereof. Over the last six months I have been hearing from Canberrans who have some of the lowest quality broadband in the country—and that is if they can get access to it. Many cannot, and are forced to use expensive and unreliable dongles. To make the situation worse, the Canberrans who need the NBN the most will have the longest wait. The next three-year rollout plan for the NBN, released in October, fails to include the Canberra suburbs that have the poorest broadband internet rating in the country. The vast majority of Tuggeranong, including suburbs like Monash and Theodore which have the lowest ratings in the country for both availability and quality of broadband—they are not even on the rollout map.

It means Canberrans are missing out on the opportunities provided by the NBN: opportunities to work and study from home; opportunities for telehealth and for better communication; opportunities to start up your own small business and to run it effectively from home; opportunities to study and to learn from home; and opportunities to contribute to civil society and to be active citizens. Canberrans have been let down by this Liberal government and its second-rate NBN—Canberrans like Omar, who wrote to me and said:

The consistently neglected Tuggeranong area will probably get NBN in 2050. We pay all taxes for fed government and local government yet it's all spent up north. We get close to zero new or upgraded infrastructure by comparison.

And like Adrian, who wrote:

In global standards we are a third world country when it comes to internet download speeds and pricing! Latvia has faster average internet speeds than we do!

That is, here in the nation's capital. Daniel wrote:

Please help. Our internet is terrible. Three or four times a week it won't work at all. Certainly limits productivity! Work provides flexible work options, but without a reliable internet this is limited, and can also be dreadfully inefficient even when connected! And we're not on the rollout map!

I heard many more comments like these from Canberrans at an NBN forum I hosted with the shadow minister for communications a few months ago. That night, I promised Canberrans that I would start a petition, and that I would lobby hard to have Canberra's NBN rollout prioritised. A few months later, more than 700 people have signed my petition; we are currently up to 741 signatures. The message is loud and clear, Deputy Speaker: Canberrans want the NBN, and we want it now. Canberrans: we have got three more days, sign my petition and send the message to the government—we want NBN and we want it now!