Labor Senator Helen Polley has called on the Abbott Government to come clean on its broadband plans for northern Tasmania.
Responding to a question on notice from March this year, the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield, today refused to guarantee that the Coalition would fulfil its promise to honour existing NBN contracts and deliver world class, Fibre-To-The-Premises broadband to homes and businesses.
“The Minister refused point blank to provide any assurance that communities across the north of the state would receive high speed broadband,” Senator Polley said.
“This means that households and businesses in places such as Prospect, South Launceston, Summerhill, Kings Meadows, Prospect Vale and Norwood are completely in the dark.”
Senator Polley noted that the response from Minister Fifield was a complete cop-out and in clear breach of pre-election promises made by the Coalition.
“Prior to the federal election we were told that the Coalition would honour existing contracts and deliver high-speed, Fibre-To-The-Premises broadband to households and businesses in Tasmania.”
“But now the story has changed. Minster Fifield’s response indicated that the Government will be relying on a series of ‘reviews’, which will determine which communities receive superior broadband connections and which will have to rely on tired, 19th century copper wire.”
“What is worse is that this information won’t be released until the second half of this year, meaning that households and businesses won’t know for months whether they will be on the wrong side of the ‘digital divide’.”
Senator Polley also said that the Liberal MP for Bass Andrew Nikolic needed to act now in the interests of his constituents.
“I think that Mr Nikolic really needs to take his colleagues to task over this. It simply isn’t good enough for Minister Fifield to say that the outcome of reviews will feed into the process of determining which areas will be serviced by which technologies.”
“The people of his electorate were promised high-speed, Fibre-To-The-Premises broadband and he should do everything in his power to deliver that. End of story.”
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