news Bill Shorten this week said Labor would make sure that there would be a “greater role” for Fibre to the Premises technology in the National Broadband Network if it won the upcoming Federal Election. However, the Opposition Leader also intimated Labor wouldn’t be able to reverse the changes Malcolm Turnbull has made to the project.
Speaking to reporters in Gosford on Wednesday, Shorten said the region had suffered from the changes which Turnbull had made to the NBN as Communications Minister.
“It’s unacceptable that Malcolm Turnbull, who was the Minister for Communication for the last two and a half years is offering an NBN to locals which is slow, expensive and late,” Shorten said.
In response to Shorten’s comments, journalists followed up by asking Shorten several pointed questions about precisely what Labor would do if it was returned to power, stating that there had been a “a lot of problems” with the NBN in the region.
Shorten responded by firstly attacking Turnbull’s NBN legacy.
“There have been a lot of problems and Malcolm Turnbull promised before the last election he would deliver the NBN for a price tag of $29 billion,” said Shorten.
“He’s been the Minister in charge, whose only real experience of running anything in public life, in politics, has been the NBN. The cost has blown out from $29 billion to $56 billion. Everyone here was promised a better quality and faster NBN. Many places haven’t got it at all and those that have are experiencing great difficulty with it.”
“The other thing he’s done is he’s sold Australia short by proposing a second-rate copper network, which isn’t going to actually fulfill the needs in the future of the people who require a quality NBN. My view about the best technology is that we get the best technology in the world and we do it right the first time. The problem with this Government is they can’t seem to do anything right the first time.”
The Opposition Leader said Labor would release its new NBN policy “between now and the election”.
“We believe fundamentally there should be a greater role for fibre to the premises as opposed to just the second-rate fibre-to-the-node,” Shorten said.
However, Shorten stopped short of committing to returning the NBN to a full FTTP model, and he didn’t mention the HFC cable component of the rollout.
“What we won’t do is pretend you can start everything again and we’ll look at what the Turnbull Government’s done and see how we can improve upon that,” he said.
“For us, it’s all about making sure that small businesses on the Central Coast can compete with anywhere in Australia. For me, we just don’t live to work, what we do is we work to live and that means we need an NBN which allows people to live in this part of Australia.”
“The Central Coast is fantastic, you know that, you live here and my candidates are on to me every day about our policies. What we will do for the Central Coast is make sure that the NBN is working properly, that we have a better policy for people who commute, especially with roads, but also how transport interacts with public transport here.”
“We want to make sure that the schools here are the equal of anywhere in Australia. We want to make sure that the hospitals here get the same sort of resources that the big city hospitals get and, of course, it’s all about jobs. We want to make sure that we’ve got a confident economy where people can invest and we start generating more jobs right here on the Central Coast.”
Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting