news Tasmanian Liberal MP Brett Whiteley has labelled an election commitment unveiled yesterday by Labor to bring Fibre to the Premises to his electorate in Tasmania’s West Coast as a “sick hoax” that was “uncosted” and “unfunded”.
Residents of areas such as Queenstown in Western Tasmania were previously scheduled to have received a full Fibre to the Premises rollout as part of the previous Labor Government’s original NBN plan.
However, under the Coalition’s revised Multi-Technology Mix approach to the NBN, they will instead only receive satellite broadband, with the NBN company not planning to deploy any fixed broadband infrastructure to some areas of the state, despite the fact that townships such as Queenstown already have ADSL broadband over Telstra’s copper network, and several thousand local residents.
Residents and business groups in the region have bitterly complained about the issue to their local MP, Whitely, demanding better broadband.
Yesterday Labor promised to deliver Fibre to the Premises to three towns in the area — Queenstown, Rosebery and Zeehan — if it won the upcoming Federal Election — as well as fixed wireless to a fourth, Strahan.
However, in a statement, Whiteley — who has previously labelled satellite NBN a “great opportunity” for the region — bit back on Labor’s election commitment.
“Labor’s West Coast NBN announcement is little more than a sick hoax perpetrated on a community that is seeking real solutions not political solutions,” the Liberal MP said.
Whiteley said Labor’s $29m “fibre to the promise” was “uncosted, unfunded”.
“Labor’s unfunded announcement today that it expects NBN to cough up $29 million to pay for its election promises in North West Tasmania is an extraordinary policy failure that should deeply worry the people of the West Coast. This isn’t a policy, it’s a hoax.” Whiteley said.
“NBN’s silence on this policy failure is deafening. It took the NBN senior official I spoke to a few minutes to stop laughing when I informed him of Labor’s so-called policy which was for NBN to fund it.”
However, it appears Whiteley did not pay sufficient levels of attention to the Labor policy to understand what the Opposition was promising his electorate.
In his statement, Whiteley accused Labor of leaving out details of what type of technology it would use in its policy, despite the fact that Labor had stipulated a mix of fixed wireless and FTTP infrastructure.
Secondly, Whiteley also accused Labor of leaving Strahan off the map, when in fact Labor had committed to delivering fixed wireless to the area.
“Labor hasn’t even stated what technology it would use to connect the West Coast, let alone putting a single cent of funding toward the technology change.
Whiteley said that he would present to the Prime Minister — currently in Tasmania — and Premier a fully costed and fully funded plan to change the technology type on the West Coast today
“I have been working on a proposal with both the NBN and the state & federal governments and will present that plan formally to the Prime Minister and Premier,” he said. “There has been a mammoth effort by all relevant groups into making sure this plan is technically possible, fully costed and fully funded.”
Image credit: Office of Brett Whiteley