I rise today to speak about an issue that is affecting tens of thousands of Canberrans—that is, the lack of decent internet connection. In June I hosted an NBN community forum with the Shadow Minister for Communications, Jason Clare. More than 100 Canberrans turned out to voice their frustration about their internet, or lack thereof, and also vent their frustration about the lack of NBN progress in Canberra's south.
There are a couple of small pockets in my electorate that have the NBN, mainly greenfield suburbs, and the rest of the electorate has been completely left off the map—it is just one big blank page. On that night in June I launched a campaign to have Canberra's NBN rollout prioritised. I have started a petition which now has hundreds of signatures.
Since the forum, hundreds of people have contacted me with their concerns. Up until this point, these Canberrans were just suffering in silence. Suffering may sound exaggerated, but I would like to read some of the comments I have received from people to emphasise the seriousness of this situation. Rod said:
I work from home in the IT industry and rely enormously on Internet connectivity. I am challenged daily in comparison to my colleagues interstate and around the world due to the poor state of the Internet in Tuggeranong. It has an impact on all aspects of my life as a result, taking me away from family and friends, impacting my health, my finances and my general state of well being as the expectation is that connectivity is better than what is available. This current government appears to massively underestimate the impact our poor infrastructure is having on the economy and the watered down NBN will leave us lagging behind our competitors for generations to come.
Prime Minister Turnbull, if you are interested in promoting small business and new start-ups, provide the infrastructure to facilitate success!
James said: Australia needs an infrastructure upgrade and it needs to be fair if my taxes are being used. NBN as originally planned please.
Praveen said: Now my kids are in college and high school and they are in a disadvantageous position when compared to their colleagues.
Sy said: Theodore and Monash have the lowest rated internet in the Country yet we aren't even on NBN's radar? Why not?
Under Labor, every home in the ACT would have had access to the world-class fibre-to-the-premises version of the NBN. Canberra must be placed on the rollout map, and it must be placed on the rollout map now. There is a digital divide in the ACT, which is placing my constituents at a serious disadvantage. This inequity is impeding their ability to maximise opportunities and realise their potential in small business, education and civil society. We want our NBN and we want it now—in fact, we wanted it yesterday.