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Thursday, 26 November 2015
Page: 13944

Ms COLLINS (Franklin) (09:49): I would like to talk today about the NBN connections in my electorate, particularly as it concerns the residents of Howden. Howden is a suburb that is 20 minutes south of Hobart GPO—only 20 minutes. I have had letters from residents talking about their inability to connect to any type of broadband in their area. They have some of the worst access to a broadband in Tasmania, particularly for a suburb that is only 20 minutes away from Hobart.

Just last month, residents had a meeting with the shadow minister for communications, Jason Clare, and Labor senator in Tasmania, Senator Catryna Bilyk. We heard from residents at this meeting—I was unfortunately not able to attend but had comments passed on to me by Senator Bilyk—that they are now leaving the suburb because of their inability to get the NBN. We have students, who are signed up to courses online that they cannot do over the internet. We have school students who cannot their homework. We have older Australians who cannot access government services. We have some senior public servants who cannot access their emails after hours, because the NBN connection in this area is so bad and there are no services available now in that area.

We heard from the current Prime Minister, who was then Minister for Communications, that NBN would have faster speeds, it would be delivered sooner and it would be cheaper. We all know now, of course, that that is not true. It is costing more for the second-rate NBN. It is, of course, not being rolled out faster, and the speeds are not faster. This area of Howden, if you go into the NBN website and try to find out when you are actually going to be connected, is like a blank spot. You get virtually nothing. We understand from contacting nbn co several times that they are talking about trying to get some services late 2016 for an area where currently, if you want any type of broadband connection, you cannot get it, because the services are so bad in that area.

Residents are moving out of this area because of a lack of broadband services, and the government for 18 months has been contacted by residents and they have done absolutely nothing. The local senators, Senator David Bushby and Senator Eric Abetz know about this issue in Howden, and they have done nothing. Indeed, two weeks before the last election Senator Bushby wrote a letter to the editor where he said, 'There will be no difference in who gets fibre to their home in Tasmania under Labor or Liberal.' He went on to repeat that then shadow minister for communications, Malcolm Turnbull, will deliver broadband sooner and cheaper. Of course, residents of Howden have been very badly let down by the Liberal government. They are still lobbying and they still want their services and that should be delivered. (Time expired)