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Thursday, 15 October 2015
Page: 7818

Senator LINDGREN (Queensland) (15:25): I rise to take note of answers to questions and give a response. Labor has had no plan, cost analysis, business analysis or risk analysis around the NBN. Unlike the Labor Party, the government stakeholders have a plan that includes good governance and transparency. The coalition's plan is a rigorous one, and it delivers a scheme that is the best value for money. We want to make sure all Australians get the best in a timely manner.

The coalition has asked the GBEs to properly assess all options. This is because we have high standards of accountability and transparency, and there are definitely no conspiracies as suggested by the other side. We know that under Labor there were cost blow-outs. The Financial Review states:

Labor has no credibility in this area … It went from $4.7 billion in 2007, to $42 billion in 2009 and is to cost at least $56 billion today.

Labor's announcement says that 'it will reinvigorate the National Broadband fibre-optic-cable-to-every-home Network', but it does not—let me repeat: it does not—share any details. As we know on this side of the chamber, having no plan means cost blow-outs.

As usual, Labor like to fling mud, but the fact is that Labor's announcements always lack the important details. Their policies are often expensive jokes, and under Labor the NBN rollout was a slow-moving train wreck. Under the coalition, the NBN will be fully complete by 2020. Labor need to explain how they will pay for it and how long they will keep Australians waiting for superfast broadband.

All Australians should have access to high-speed broadband. Under the coalition, every household and business in Australia—a total of about 12 million premises by the time the rollout finishes—will be connected and directly affected. The coalition is committed to delivering fast broadband to all Australians sooner and at least cost to taxpayers. Under Labor, a miserable 51,000 users were on the network two years ago. Today there are more than 570,000 subscribers. The NBN Corporate Plan shows that by the end of June 2016 around one in four premises will have access to the NBN, and by the end of June 2018 around three-quarters of homes and businesses will have access.

Under the coalition, the NBN is now meeting its financial and deployment targets, a far cry from under Labor, when it only met 17 per cent of its deployment forecasts. Labor has a history of mismanagement. The history includes some of the most mismanaged projects in the history of the government. Under the previous government, around $6.5 billion was spent to deliver broadband to two per cent of premises. A government cost-benefit analysis of the NBN found that the coalition government's project would deliver $18 billion of economic benefits to Australia, compared to $2 billion of benefits that were being facilitated through Labor. An analysis of Labor's model shows that it would not be finished until 2026 at the earliest, and as late as 2028. This is disastrous for Australia's competitiveness in the digital economy and would leave millions stranded with very poor or no broadband for more than a decade. This is an unacceptable trade-off.

The coalition government's project remains on track and is to be completed by 2020. The Burdekin cost-benefit analysis found that our approach will deliver $6 billion of extra benefits and around $10 billion lower cost due do its earlier deployment. Under our watch, the company is now acting in a reliable and businesslike manner, delivering fibre to premises on time and on cost.

Labor has announced today that a future Labor government would scrap the multitechnology approach. The NBN rollout under Labor was slow and costly compared to that of the coalition, where the NBN will be fully complete by 2020. The NBN now has end-users to prove it. For the vast majority of households across Australia, the coalition's NBN will provide the same high-speed and high-quality service no matter what underlying broadband technology is used. The Labor Party is also ignoring incredibly valuable HFC networks that currently pass four million homes. A technology infrastructure mix is the best way forward.