House debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Constituency Statements

Holt Electorate: Telephone and Internet Services

10:00 am

Photo of Anthony ByrneAnthony Byrne (Holt, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Deputy Speaker, imagine you're a small-business person, a tradie or someone with a young family, and you come into the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, my area—Clyde, Clyde North or Cranbourne East, say—which is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia. You move into a lovely housing estate. It's an area that's got lots of young families but hasn't got the sort of social infrastructure it needs. You shift into that estate, a brand new estate—let's say it's Belmond estate in Clyde—but then what happens is that you go to make a mobile phone call but you don't have any mobile reception, or you attempt to use the internet but you don't have broadband.

In 2017 I was approached by Elyse Cumine from Belmond estate in Clyde, who told me, on behalf of the residents, that they couldn't access the internet, because there was no NBN, and they couldn't use their phone. What happened—as a practical example—is that someone attempted to break into a home on the estate. The owner tried to ring the Cranbourne police. But there was no landline—because there's no NBN—and there was no mobile phone coverage. Imagine how you would feel if you were a resident of that estate, you were watching someone trying to break into your home, and you tried to ring the police but couldn't because you had no mobile phone reception.

We campaigned very vigorously on this issue, with Elyse Cumine and the residents of Belmond estate. We were told that the problem would be fixed and we wouldn't have this situation again. It is one of the fastest growing areas in this country. Two years later, they have the NBN but they still can't use their mobile phones. Seriously, are we living in a Third World country here, or are we living in the First World? We're told by this government this is a First World state.

A young person, Kelsie, approached me and said: 'What is the point of this government? What is the point of me approaching a member of parliament if nothing is done for two years?' We are told by the Morrison government they're going to fix these black spots. It's been two years and there is no mobile phone tower. Thousands upon thousands of people have not been given access to an essential service. A phone is an essential service! The fact is the Morrison government has failed because it does not invest in the outer suburbs. It does not ensure that mobile phone towers get there. It is ridiculous. When a young person says, 'I've given up on politics,' that tells you everything that's wrong with the Morrison government and its commitment to providing essential services, like mobile phone coverage, in the outer suburbs.