Federation Chamber BILLS Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2012-2013 Consideration in Detail

Mr HUSIC (Chifley—Government Whip) (17:06): The minister has probably known me for 20 years or so and knows I have never been shy of—

Mr Albanese: Too long.

Mr HUSIC: Yes, too long indeed—more for me than you!—but I have never been shy in stepping forward where I believe there is something wrong and it needs to be fixed up. In my local area, I have stood up for suburbs that had been perennial broadband black spots because I have been concerned that they have not been getting serviced more quickly, particularly in terms of the NBN. I am glad that, as a result of negotiations and representations on this matter, Woodcroft and Doonside in my area are going to be included in the construction rollout and should see the NBN reach them next year.

To the member for Forde I might add that Telstra, in particular cases, is upgrading its local networks, particularly ADSL networks. It is basically bringing in what it calls a top hat service, which is expanding the capacity of local cabinets that contain ADSL to try and alleviate some of those problems. I refer specifically to the member's claim that Telstra is not, when it actual fact it is. Where the HFC network exists—unfortunately, not necessarily in the member's neck of the woods, but certainly in Melbourne and Sydney—it has opened up in the short term access to cable broadband while people are waiting for the HFC.

Unlike the member for Forde, who does recognise that households do want access to high-speed broadband, I am tired of hearing many of those opposite rail against our investment in the total renewal of our broadband infrastructure in this country. They rail against it. They claim it is wasteful. They claim it should not be done. They claim they should still rely on copper when, hands down, fibre is the best way to deliver that signal. I would like to see a list of every single coalition member who has argued against the NBN. They should tell their local communities that they believe the NBN should not come their way, even though they are on the construction timetable. I would like, for example, for that investment to be reprioritised from those electorates where their local members say the NBN should not be rolled out to other communities—for example, the member for Forde's community or areas where government MPs have been calling for greater broadband investment.

If those opposite argue that the NBN is wasteful, they should tell their communities that they do not want to see an investment in technological infrastructure in your area and let us reprioritise that investment to areas that want it. Everyone knows that the internet itself is providing huge economic value to this country. Deloitte Access Economics reported that it could add up to $70 billion to the total of economic growth in this country as a result of that investment. It pointed to $26 billion in productivity improvements for business and government as a result of the rollout. That valuable report was derided, I might add, by the shadow minister for communications, who thought it was a self-serving report—and I am happy to stand corrected here if the shadow minister thinks that I am verballing him. Why one sector of the economy should not protect and advance its own interests, namely Google talking about the value of the NBN through the—

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley


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