Parliament – Liberal’s NBN Fibre Announcement for only 10% of Australia

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (16:00):  I was elected in 2007, and I, like many of my constituents, understood then that the internet was appalling. It was a shemozzle in my electorate, as it was around most of the country. One of the biggest contributing factors was the copper network. The copper network was of poor quality and meant that we barely could get ADSL in many parts of my electorate. Of course, Labor had a visionary plan to install a fibre network across my electorate. Indeed, many suburbs were the beneficiaries of this. It was a great disappointment to me and the rest of my constituency that had not received that fibre network to then have the Liberal Party elected in 2013, when they then opted for what they said at the time was going to be a cheaper model to deliver the National Broadband Network. Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister at the time, axed Labor’s plan, saying it wasn’t worth the government spending money on it. Of course, he at the time said it would only cost $29 billion. Well, we now know that that blew out to a cost of $57 billion, more than what Labor’s original plan had been.

Now, after all these years of anguish, after all these problems my constituents have had—they’ve had more copper put in the ground, meaning that their internet is limited—the Liberal Party have said that they need to go back and install fibre. Well, this is an ‘I told you so’ moment. We told you so. This is what we predicted, and it’s a disaster that we’re now back there. But, unfortunately for my constituents, we’ve now found out that, despite the Liberal Party saying that fibre is now the answer, only 10 per cent of the country is going to get this new fibre network to their premises. My question to this government is: will that include the suburbs of Aberfoyle Park, Hallett Cove, Happy Valley, Flagstaff Hill, Reynella, Christies Beach, Christie Downs, Morphett Vale and the list goes on? These suburbs had been struggling with poor internet, and the Liberal Party offered them only this: fibre-to-the-node technology, where they reinstalled copper. They reinstalled copper! They bought more copper and put that in the ground. I feel like a broken record. I have been talking about the need for decent internet in my electorate since 2006, since as soon as I became a candidate, when it became abundantly clear that this was a huge issue. The question for the Liberal Party is: will they finally admit their mistakes and come and install fibre to the premises in my electorate? That is what my constituents want. That is what they demand. I expect the Liberal Party to turn up.

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