Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Questions without Notice
Thank you, Senator Reynolds, for your ongoing interest in the remarkable turnaround that is the NBN. Colleagues will recall that nearly two years ago NBN set its sights on an incredibly ambitious target of scaling network construction to reach 5.4 million homes and businesses by the end of June 2017. It is fair to say that there were some colleagues opposite who were a little bit sceptical. Indeed, the former shadow minister said it was the ramp that Evel Knievel would not be able to jump. Good news: Evel Knievel can move over, because NBN have made the jump. When you add the 101,755 premises that were made ready for service last week, the current ready-for-service stands nationwide at 5.414 million premises across Australia.
I know all colleagues will be very pleased that the NBN rollout has now been on track, on time and on budget for the third financial year in a row. Mr President, I can hear the cogs whirling in your head. You are wondering: 'How many financial and rollout targets did Labor hit between 2009 and 2013? Was even one of the rollout or activation targets that they set ever hit?' Quelle surprise! The answer to that is no. They hit zero targets. It is fair to say that this is one of the great corporate turnarounds in Australian history. This is the type of rollout progress that our predecessors were unable to even dream about when they left us in 2013 with a failed project around the nation.
I am very pleased Senator Reynolds has asked that question, because the capacity to hit all these milestones is a direct function of the multitechnology mix approach that the coalition has adopted. What we had from our predecessors was zealotry and theology; the approach that we have taken is one that is technology agnostic. We want to give all Australians access to the NBN as soon as possible. As yesterday's report in some of the newspapers notes, the fibre-to-the-node portion of the NBN was launched less than two years ago, and since then NBN has been averaging more than 100,000 additional premises ready for service each and every month. By making the NBN available to Australians sooner, we are unlocking the digital productivity which only comes about when the whole nation has it, which they will have much sooner under us.
As I mentioned, the multitechnology mix not only keeps the capital cost of the rollout down but also brings forward revenues by connecting paying customers more quickly. By directing NBN's strategy away from Labor's gold plated NBN we have avoided home monthly internet bill increases of up to $43 more a month. NBN now has the flexibility that it needs to get broadband upgrades delivered in the shortest time and at less cost. Just like Labor's energy policy leads to higher electricity bills, their NBN policy was a path to much higher internet bills. When we came to government we promised to deliver the NBN to households sooner and more affordably. The coalition have kept that promise. I would be remiss if I did not give great credit to my predecessor from the other place, Mr Turnbull.