House debates

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Statements by Members

Western Australia: Broadband

1:33 pm

Photo of Josh WilsonJosh Wilson (Fremantle, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for the Environment) Share this | | Hansard source

NBN infrastructure is crucial for families and businesses in WA and across Australia. It's crucial for sustaining the jobs of the future and for essential services in education and health. Western Australia is the largest and most remote state, separated from the rest of the country by enormous distance and by time difference. We need competitive and high-quality broadband connectivity to bridge those gaps. We deserve NBN services that are on par with those in the rest of Australia. But that is not what we're getting.

In last month's Measuring broadband Australia report, the ACCC picked out Western Australia as having the worst broadband of any state. We have the highest proportion of underperforming broadband services of any state. We have the slowest average busy-hour download speeds. There's no great mystery as to how that occurred. Thanks to this Liberal government, WA has been lumped with the largest share of the worst NBN technology. We've got half as much again of the old copper line rubbish as the other states. And, surprise, surprise: our NBN performance is at the bottom of the pile. It means WA sits well below the government's own benchmark, which requires 90 per cent of premises to get to 50 megabits per second. Somehow, this Liberal government didn't have the nous to ensure that that benchmark was achieved fairly and evenly across Australia. What does it mean? It means one in seven premises in WA won't receive fast broadband, whereas in New South Wales it's fewer than one in 10. It's the definition of a digital divide. It makes WA a broadband backwater.