House debates

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Constituency Statements

National Broadband Network

4:06 pm

Photo of Rob MitchellRob Mitchell (McEwen, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I can assure the member, Mr Laming, that the Labor candidate will ensure that the hospitals are funded—unlike this government.

While this government used its winter break to continue its attack on hardworking Australians, our community was trying to fix the mess the government has caused through its faulty and haphazard NBN rollout. Over the past few weeks, my office has been inundated—flooded—with phone calls, emails and letters about the absolute disaster that is the MTM, the Malcolm Turnbull mess, rollout in Riddells Creek. While the majority of the town finally received their mixed roll-out, this government showed just how completely incapable it is of doing its job right, leaving out many homes across Riddells Creek. I've spoken to residents who are living just 400 metres from the NBN node, and those houses have been ignored and have no service or telephony services at all. There are small-business owners who can no longer make phone calls. There are families whose kids can't do their homework because there's no connection.

How can the government blatantly gloat about the NBN when people in our communities are being taken off the grid, full stop? And what response do they get from the NBN? 'There's nothing we can do.' Well, that's just not good enough.

While some of the residents in Riddells Creek have been 'upgraded', their internet speeds are now half of what they were beforehand! So you don't have to look far to find frustrated Facebook posts from fed-up residents who are just sick and tired of this debacle. Just getting connected to the NBN isn't enough, because the Riddells Creek so-called upgrade is on second-rate old copper, leaving them with slower speeds and regular dropouts. One constituent told me that his signal level was sitting at 67 dBm, when the minimum requirement for reliable connection is 99. Maybe the government needs to get a dictionary to find out the definition of 'upgrade'.

Throughout our communities in McEwen, in places like Sunbury, Kilmore, Romsey, Lancefield, Riddells Creek and Gisborne, residents are frustrated that they've been snubbed as to a stable connection and are being forced to fibre to the node and fixed wireless. But never fear! The former communications minister, Mr Turnbull, says he's here! In 2013, the Prime Minister made it clear that households and small businesses who wanted to upgrade their node copper connection to fibre would need to pay around $3,000. But in anything this government does with money, you know it's going to be stuffed up. We spoke to Gisborne residents this week who had tried to upgrade their second-rate NBN connections. They were told it was going to cost $85,264 for a fibre connection. Another resident in Sunbury was quoted $13,746 to make the switch. Now, maths is not this government's forte—numbers are not the Prime Minister's strength—but this is an absolute joke. Once again, the Prime Minister has broken his promises, leaving towns in the lurch. (Time expired)

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