Parliamentary speeches

National Broadband Network in Scullin

November 20, 2013

Mr GILES (Scullin) (10:26): I speak today about the rollout of the National Broadband Network in the electorate of Scullin. To date, the rollout of the Labor's NBN has been a great success in areas such as Mill Park and South Morang. Just one example of the rollout of Labor's fibre-to-the-premises NBN can be seen with a small, family operated business. I am a little disappointed that the Minister for Small Business is no longer here, because this is a story which speaks volumes to the impact of Labor's fiber-to-the-premises NBN in communities such as the ones that I represent and the ones, indeed, that he represents.

The family operated business, 'Bike n' Bean', sells bicycles, bicycle related clothing and coffee in South Morang. The coffee is particularly good for anyone near Plenty Road. Prior to the NBN, this business was suffering under the coalition's copper wire internet. The business owners, a wife and husband, tell me they would spend three hours uploading photos of the latest range of bicycles and bicycle related clothing. This, coupled with continual line drop-outs, meant they were wasting time uploading images and trying to reconnect to the internet, instead of serving their customers. The owners resorted to uploading images at night, trying to avoid the daytime congestion of the internet spectrum. However, as upload speeds were still so slow, this ate into time that the owners spent with their two young children.

Labor's fibre-to-the-premises NBN has allowed this business to operate efficiently and the family to enjoy family time. It has improved productivity—something which we hear much about but do not see much of in this government so far—by freeing up the operators to spend more time serving their customers, attending other aspects of their business and, as I have touched upon, being with their family life.

Labor's fibre-to-the-home NBN is crucial to this small business. That is why I was so disturbed the other day to observe that 2,400 premises in South Morang have been removed from the fibre-to-the-premises rollout of the NBN. Residents and businesses in South Morang will be left with one of two choices: battle on using outdated copper or fork out up to $5,000 to have fibre connected to their home or business premise. Our community was looking forward to the benefits and opportunities that affordable, high-speed fibre broadband would bring to the area, but the Abbott government has taken this away. Residents and businesses in South Morang are the first victims of the Liberal cuts to the National Broadband Network. This government should be ramping up the rollout of the NBN, not slowing it down indefinitely.