Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Questions without Notice


2:57 pm

Photo of Bridget McKenzieBridget McKenzie (Victoria, National Party, Minister for Regional Communications) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator Smith, for your question and also for your deep and abiding interest in ensuring that your home state of WA is digitally connected. The coalition government are absolutely committed to connecting regional Australia, and no other party has delivered the telecommunications connectivity gains that we have since 2013. It is vital that regional Australians have the telecommunications infrastructure that they need to compete on the international stage when it comes to agriculture, trade, business and technology. That connectivity is so key to delivering the health services that rural and regional Australians deserve and need. Instantaneous telehealth support for our most isolated Australians, a key enabler, was part of our drought announcements last week, whether they are on farms or busy in small business, or they are families.

Telecommunications infrastructure is the next frontier of infrastructure investment that the National Party is focused on. It's as important as inland rail, highways and our ports. We've invested $1.9 billion to deliver the Sky Muster network, and this is an unprecedented investment in getting regional Australia connected. The carbon satellites are state of the art and deliver download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second. This government will not let regional Australia fall behind in this vital area. It's the next big ticket for our economic growth. This government is committed to providing homes and businesses with the same service in areas that traditional fibre technology can't reach. Over 43 premises in regional WA are now connected, and the rollout of the NBN is 81 per cent complete in WA. Since this government took office, there have been an additional 59,000 premises able to access Sky Muster. This means that no matter where you live in the great state of Western Australia—a state so large that it's in the top 10 countries in the world on size—you can get connected. Connection means opportunities, it means innovations, it means education, it means local jobs.


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