Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021



1:30 pm

Photo of Raff CicconeRaff Ciccone (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As the last two years of rolling lockdowns across Australia have shown, access to a reliable, high-quality internet connection is essential. It's not a luxury; it's a utility. It's important that we get it right in this country, yet what we have seen from the government is failure after failure. As is so often the case, the coalition is neglecting regional areas, which have been impacted the worst.

There is no getting away from the fact that the Liberal and National parties have left behind regional Australia, where over 1.8 million homes have been dudded with copper-based fibre to the node. For instance, in Warrnambool, in the electorate of Wannon, just over 400 homes enjoy a fibre-to-the-premises connection. That compares to the over 15,000 homes that are on the government's low-rent fibre-to-the-node scheme. In Hamilton, a nearby town, not a single home has fibre to the premises—not even one.

While the Morrison-Joyce government continues to leave regional Australians behind, Labor has a plan to deliver regional Australia the same high-quality internet access that those who live in metropolitan areas often take for granted. Our plan will deliver regional Australians the broadband they deserve and need, providing full fibre access to almost two million homes by 2025. This is a significant investment in the future growth potential and network resilience of our regions, as well as for small businesses. It is an investment that will deliver 12,000 jobs for construction workers, engineers and project managers in our regions and in our suburbs. It is clear the Liberals and Nationals cannot be trusted when it comes to modern technology.