Senate debates

Thursday, 24 March 2011

National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010; Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures — Access Arrangements) Bill 2011

In Committee

4:31 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Murray Darling Basin) Share this | Hansard source

As Senator Cormann says, it would give you an opportunity, Minister. It would give you another day or so to get your house in order, to make sure that you finalise the amendments that you want to move in relation to this legislation, to make sure that you actually had the final bill and the final package of amendments before us so that everyone can have an informed debate; so that we can all be informed by the various stakeholders in relation to this matter; so that we can know for sure, for certain, that your intentions are as you proclaim them to be in relation to this legislation—that you will be creating a wholesale only network in the guise of a national broadband network company and that the NBN Co., this national wholesale only network, will meet all of the criteria that you proclaim it needs to—and so that we can test it with the stakeholders, test it with the telco companies, test it with the consumer advocates and test it out there with the academics and the media. It would give us all that couple of days’ breathing space to make sure it lives up to what you say it does.

What we saw after your amendments were released yesterday were stories such as those today that say it does not live up to what you promised, that in fact there will not be comparable pricing for comparable services for people in the seven per cent as there will be in the 93 per cent and that people getting wireless or satellite services may well find themselves at a disadvantage—not just on speed but also on price, potentially—to those in the 93 per cent. You shake your head, Minister, but of course this was a story, this was news that came out—


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