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

8:03 pm

Photo of Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

I accept your admonishment, Madam Acting Temporary Chairman. Utility stakeholders supported the exemption. For example, the Energy Networks Association said:

Maintenance of this exemption is very important to the ability of electricity and gas network businesses to meet 21st century expectations around affordability, reliability and quality of energy supplies.

That is the key here. There are those in this chamber and those out there in the broader community who are trying to drag the country into the 21st century. And there are those sitting here fighting over a 20th century regulatory framework and fighting to try and hold Australians back—hold companies back—from getting access to the 21st century technology that will allow them to deliver to the broader efficiencies of the Australian economy.

Smart Grid Australia said:

Removing these exemptions would require electricity utilities to have to deal with a carrier (or service provider) in working through network design and architecture issues to connect with NBN Corporation’s communications network. This is an impractical and unworkable proposition ...

This is the sector—this is the industry—saying that your solution is impracticable and unworkable. So try and see if you can scrape that orangey-yellow T off your forehead and join the 21st century.

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