House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Constituency Statements


10:06 am

Photo of Ross HartRoss Hart (Bass, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

We are indeed privileged in this place, in Australia's parliament, to be in one of the most digitally and physically connected environments in Australia. This morning, we've experienced significant network outages which have occasioned some degree of inconvenience and frustration to people working in this building. But, of course, that's brought home to me the importance of digital connectivity for our constituents, not just in the cities but also in the regions.

I've been very pleased to participate in the government's Mobile Black Spot Program, seeking expressions of interest from people within my electorate to make submissions about where they see there is a lack of connectivity. We should all recognise that this issue of digital connectivity is front and centre not just for business but also for families. Indeed, the European Union recognises that access to the internet is a human right. The feedback that I and my office have received with respect to the issue of mobile black spots is significant. There are areas in the Tamar Valley and in the north-east of Tasmania that have been entered onto the database of mobile black spots as meriting some attention with respect to mobile black spots.

I've recently served as Deputy Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth. We had an inquiry into the potential for digital trade. This really emphasises how a digital future may produce significant potential for small and larger businesses all across Australia. The concept of trade itself has evolved over time. It used to be that trade was highly specialised. Indeed, until relatively recently it involved large organisations putting goods onto container vessels and travelling across the world. But a digital future now enables the smallest of enterprises to act as a large enterprise and to trade from a kitchen or a garage in much the same way that those digital giants that we now experience were first created in Silicon Valley. One example of that in Tasmania is in a small place called Legana in the Tamar Valley. It is a very picturesque place but a rapidly growing suburban area. It hosts an organisation called Pivot Maritime. Pivot Maritime is a world leader in marine simulation technology, only enabled because it's got access to world-class quality NBN.