House debates

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Constituency Statements

Broadband, Western Sydney Airport

10:00 am

Photo of Susan TemplemanSusan Templeman (Macquarie, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

People on fibre to the node, wireless and satellite have been the losers in the NBN game that the Liberals have played. The build-a-dud-and-then-backflip plan means that the $51 billion that was spent and the 50,000 kilometres of new copper were a waste. They were a waste of time as well as money. It shows that Labor's plan to do it once, do it right and do it with fibre was always the right approach. Despite its promise of upgrades for fibre-to-the-node users, the government has only budgeted for one in 10 homes reliant on copper to receive a fibre replacement between now and 2024. That means nine out of 10 homes will miss out.

My community of the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury are sick of being the ones to get the dud deal. With five different technologies in two local government areas, it's a total mishmash. Residents in the mid to the upper Blue Mountains—every town from Lawson up, in Wilberforce on the Hawkesbury, Pitt Town and places like North Richmond and McGraths Hill—are all lumbered with slow fibre to the node, and not a single business zone has been identified in Macquarie to be included in the upgrade to fibre. McGraths Hill will be a vital area for job creation coming out of the pandemic, but it's been completely ignored by the Liberals. Every one of these towns and suburbs will be fighting for access to fibre to the premises. They deserve to have a 21st century technology to take their businesses and their homes into the future.

The Morrison government's purchase of land near Western Sydney airport for 10 times its value doesn't bode well for confidence that we can have in how this government spends money, taxpayers' money, on this or any other project. A scathing report into the government's $30 million purchase of the Leppington Triangle, which is a 12-hectare parcel of land that may be used to build a second runway for the airport, shows that it was really only worth $3 million. This is a breath-taking waste of taxpayers' money, and the government's clearly not happy with the agency that uncovered the scandal. In the budget, the Auditor-General has had $5 million cut from his budget over the next three years, which means fewer audits of government programs will be completed. He'd actually asked for additional funding, but this is clearly payback from a government which simply doesn't like scrutiny. Heaven help us as the buckets of unallocated funds in the budget get distributed throughout the country. The Morrison government has made sure there are fewer resources and therefore less chance of identifying the waste or uncovering the next sports rorts scandal.