2 Aug | '2022
Deputy Speaker Buchholz, congratulations on sitting in the chair. It is good to see you here today. I thank the member for Sturt for bringing this motion forward to talk about the NBN, the National Broadband Network, which has revolutionised Australia. Let’s face it: it’s changed the way we do business. In my electorate of Moncrieff there are 36,000 small businesses, so fast broadband is pretty important when it comes to doing business and how we catch up with our friends and our family, especially during COVID, when we all use the internet so much at home. Fast internet really played a vital role in the day-to-day during COVID. The way that we were able to work from home and respond to the pandemic, I think, really highlighted how important broadband is, including the NBN.
I’ve watched how it’s impacted on everyday lives and is changing the way that we do things, making it easier, making it better for Australians and making it faster. I’ve seen firsthand how having fast internet has, as I said, impacted thousands of those small businesses in my electorate and around the country. Some businesses no longer require that bricks and mortar, which means they can run a small business from home, and we’ve seen that growing trend across Australia during COVID. That helps working mums to work from home and look after their kids and have a bit of flexibility in their working lives, thanks to broadband that is fast enough to work from home with. And it’s helped to boost productivity across the nation, and to foster innovation, and has allowed small and medium businesses and enterprises to embrace opportunities for growth in a different way.
But the NBN wasn’t always great. I’m sure many in this place remember what the NBN was like under the Rudd- Gillard-Rudd Labor government—or what it wasn’t like, given that after six years and $6 billion only 51,000 premises were connected to the NBN. Labor love to take credit for the NBN, and they love to pretend that the NBN is how it is today is because of them, those opposite. But in reality it was a complete and utter shambles under those opposite, and I’m sure many Australians have realised by now that when Labor make a mess it’s usually a pretty big one, and the coalition have to come in to scoop it all up and fix it all up—and that’s exactly what we did with the NBN.
I’m proud to say that our strong economic record and our investments in the NBN have made it what it is today. After nine years of the coalition, there are now more than 8.4 million premises connected to the NBN and more than 12 million premises ready to connect. That’s quite an incredible number—double. It is a stark difference, and it’s further proof that no matter what Labor say they cannot be trusted when it comes to the NBN. There are a few other things they can’t be trusted with, but I won’t go into those.
It’s our government who delivered the NBN efficiently and economically when Australians needed it most. When did Australians need it most? Well, during this last couple of years of pandemic, when Australians needed to be in contact with loved ones all around the world. In fact, many Australians haven’t seen their loved ones for a couple of years, so it was really important to have NBN fast internet at home while people were doing their isolation periods and during lockdowns. It was the glue that kept families together, when you break it down. It was high-speed internet that allowed families to communicate around the globe and interstate when they weren’t able to connect face to face.
Under our government, the NBN stood the test of COVID-19 and will continue to be a driving force in our strong economic recovery. If we’d left those opposite in charge, the cost would have tripled and Australians would still be waiting for fast internet. What does that mean for the future? Well, it means a future under a Labor Albanese government, who couldn’t figure out their own policies, so they just copied ours. That’s what they do on the other side: when they can’t find their own policies, they copy ours. But the data does speak for itself: 51,000 over six years versus 12 million ready to connect. They are stark figures, and it was under our government that the NBN was delivered to the country.