Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Since being elected to this place in July of last year, my electorate office has been constantly inundated with calls from constituents about the National Broadband Network. The issues are diverse; however, they often centre around the fact that constituents feel as though they are being offered a subpar service under the NBN. In light of this, I recently took the liberty of hosting a NBN forum to provide local residents with a bit of insight into the NBN and to enable them to voice their concerns.
I want to take this opportunity to thank our shadow minister for communications, Michelle Rowland MP, for being my special guest at the forum and for providing my local constituents with the opportunity to tap into her vast wealth of knowledge about the NBN and about telecommunications. Michelle gave an informative presentation at the event and fielded numerous questions about the failings of the NBN under this current government. There was standing room only. I have previously hosted forums in my electorate on the NDIS and I plan to host further meetings on other federal government concerns later this year. However, what struck me about my most recent forum was the passion and indeed the vitriol when some of my local constituents spoke about their experiences of dealing with the NBN. It was disgraceful.
The National Broadband Network is Australia's largest infrastructure project and was intended to ensure that Australians from all walks of life had access to a first-class internet connection, no matter where they lived. However, my constituents in Macarthur have been sorely let down by Malcolm Turnbull under whose stewardship Australia has plunged to 50th in the global ranking on internet speeds.
Aside from poor speeds, countless local residents are still unable to find out from the government about when they will have access to the network in the first place. A number of my constituents who reside in these so-called 'black spots' have now been told that there is no specific time frame for when they will be connected to the NBN, despite the fact that many of their neighbours will already be connected. NBN's statement of expectations itself states that the NBN:
… should be guided by the following goals: service quality and continuity for consumers; … and achievement of rollout objectives as cost-effectively and seamlessly as possible.
It is a joke!
I put these questions to the chamber: where is the quality and continuity of service for many of my constituents and for many of the other members' constituents who have had their phone lines disconnected without any warning? Where is the quality of their internet connection? Where is the quality of the service they are being offered?
By this blatant failure to meet its own objectives, the coalition government has let down the Australian people. The Abbott and Turnbull governments have failed in their delivery thus far of a scheme which was set to be groundbreaking and revolutionary for all Australians. Malcolm Turnbull has failed in delivering the NBN, as well as failing in many other things. He promised it would cost $29 billion; now it is set to cost nearly $50 billion. My constituents are fed up, and so am I. (Time expired)