Questions Without Notice: National Broadband Network

Mr HUSIC (Chifley—Government Whip) (15:08): My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. Why is the National Broadband Network important for Australia's economic future, and how is support for the NBN being demonstrated?

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (15:09): I thank the member for Chifley for his question and for his ongoing interest in the National Broadband Network and in ensuring that Australia's telecommunications are the best they can be. Those opposite want to keep us in the last century's technology; the old copper network is where they want to be. They have opposed the National Broadband Network even though it will be so important, particularly for regional Australia—not because of what can be downloaded but because of what can be uploaded, and because of the impact it can have on education and the impact it can have on health. Already we are seeing that over 14½ thousand services have been activated nationally through the interim satellite service. The average take-up rate of NBN services being rolled out in places like Willunga and Minnamurra is 40 per cent higher and progressively increasing. The National Broadband Network is absolutely vital if we are going to compete in our region.

And it is important that I get questions on the National Broadband Network from this side of the House, because we know that there have been no questions on the National Broadband Network from the shadow minister since 2010. For two years he sat there, by himself—sitting there patiently day after day after day. But we know he is demonstrating his support for the National Broadband Network in other ways. He is putting his money into the new fibre-to-the-home technology. I got a question a couple of weeks ago about the investment the member for Wentworth is making in French Telecom. He has also bought bonds in Telefonica, Spain's largest telecommunications company—and guess what it is doing? Fibre to the home—in Barcelona and in Madrid.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I hate to interrupt a weak answer from the Leader of the House but, really and truly, how is this relevant to the question he was asked?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The minister has the call.

Mr ALBANESE: I am indicating the demonstrated support for fibre-to-the-home technology, and I say to the member for Wentworth that he should put his mouth where his money is, put it into support for the National Broadband Network. If it is good enough in France and it is good enough in Spain, it is good enough right here in Australia as well.

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley

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