Senate debates

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


National Broadband Network Select Committee; Report

5:42 pm

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

Thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President Bernardi. You are one of the true supporters of fibre to the home in this chamber. We know Malcolm does not want to give you fibre to the home and we know why, but we will still get it to you one day.

I rise to make some remarks on the interim report of the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network. The committee has done important work in analysing and scrutinising the coalition's plan for broadband. When the minister tabled the strategic review in the other chamber, he announced that he would be breaking his promise to provide all Australians with 25MB per second by 2016. That was broken promise No. 1. He broke his promise to even build fibre to the node to nine million homes and businesses; proposing instead to keep the pay TV cables for many of these. That was broken promise No. 2. The committee has scrutinised in detail, as much as it has been able to, the coalition's alternative proposal: to spend $40 billion to build a broadband network that is inadequate for Australia's needs.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the report, particularly those who gave evidence and took the time to provide submissions. I also want to put on the record my thanks to the committee secretariat, who have worked tirelessly and have been outrageously sledged in the minority report prepared by those opposite.

This interim report is an indictment of the coalition's plans for broadband in Australia. After six months in government, all the coalition has to show on broadband is their sham NBN strategic review. The committee reports that the strategic review resorts to financial fudges, fiddles and manipulations in a failed attempt to justify the broadband policies of the coalition and the Minister for Communications. The committee has chosen to issue an interim report because it is important to record that the strategic review is a totally inadequate basis for making any decisions about broadband in this country. My colleague Senator Lundy has extensively chronicled this already, but I want to go through the deficiencies that have been used to junk the future-proof fibre network to the home NBN and prop up Malcolm Turnbull's mess that will be his legacy—


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