House debates

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Constituency Statements


10:06 am

Photo of Meryl SwansonMeryl Swanson (Paterson, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

At the moment, I'm torn between the emotion of sheer frustration—dare I say it, hatred—and heartbreak, when I think about the lost opportunities over the last decade that the National Broadband Network has served up to Australians. I just cannot believe this government! Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott stood there on that night and said, 'This will be the best thing since sliced bread. Forget about what Labor promised you. That was going to be overpriced and underdelivered.' Well, there you go: talk about overpriced and underdelivered! What we've had from this coalition government over the last 10 years by way of NBN has not served our nation.

Think of the opportunities that our children could have had while they were home-schooling, learning at home, if they could have had the full interactive experience with their teachers and their class members that Labor's NBN would have delivered for them. The NBN is such a critical tool, and it has been botched from start to finish since this coalition government took over the running of the NBN. Yet we were assured it was going to be so much better and so much cheaper. Well, that hasn't happened.

Then, last week, we saw Minister Fletcher's backflip—it's only going to reach one in 10 homes. I have many businesses in my electorate, and 75 per cent of the inquiries and complaints that my office has taken since 2016 have been on telecommunications and poor NBN. We've had businesses that have to go outside with their Albert or with their payment method and hold it up in the air while customers wait. What sort of a payment method is that? That brings me to Compass Pools in Tomago, who got in touch last week and said, 'This new piece of information from the government doesn't even include Tomago, Heatherbrae, Raymond Terrace, Nelson Bay, Williamtown or Medowie, which are some of the most rapidly growing industrial parts of my electorate—not to mention Maitland, where one family a day is moving to our area. The houses are mushrooming around the area, and we have the most inferior NBN. It is just incredible.

So, as I said, my heart goes from heartbreak to the lost opportunity to actual sheer hatred for what has been denied the people of Australia by this government with this inferior, substandard NBN, when we could have had so much more. The government have so much to answer for, and the NBN is just the very peak of my list of where they need to do so much better and how we can embrace the challenges that come over the next five years of dragging our economy and community back to the 21st century.