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National Broadband Network

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Sam Hibbins MP
Member for Prahran
18 September 2017

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — The Greens will be supporting this motion because we are aware of the absolute importance of the national broadband network (NBN) to this state, and it is an absolutely critical piece of infrastructure. I appreciate the focus of the motion and the focus of the proposed inquiry into regional areas. I would point out that the issues faced in terms of broadband connectivity are metropolitan issues as well, and certainly I have had a number of constituents contact me about the poor internet connectivity in the Prahran electorate. We certainly are affected by the change in approach to the NBN that the current federal government has taken.

I always go back to that moment when the current Prime Minister was appointed by the previous Prime Minister as the shadow communications minister. The mission statement given to the shadow minister at the time was to destroy the NBN — they were the words that came out of the then federal Leader of the Opposition's mouth — and they are doing a pretty good job of it with the approach they have taken.

I can give you the example in my area of this technology mix where they were using the Optus cable. The proposal to use the Optus cable to run the NBN, which has been found to be completely unsuitable for its actual needs, just shows the absolute flaws in the current federal government's approach to the NBN.

We will be supporting this motion. We think it is in the state's interest that we are certainly advocating for the state's needs in regard to the NBN and in regard to broadband. In relation to the amendment, from what I can see of proposed point (4) —

investigate what the state can do to embrace new technology to further improve internet connectivity —

I do not see a problem with that. Proposed point (5) reads:

make recommendations that ensure sufficient power is available …

Get out of the way of renewables; there is your recommendation. I think that is pretty easy, so I do not necessarily think there is a need to expand the scope of the motion in that regard.

We will be supporting this motion. The Greens have always believed in an effective NBN. We have always had concerns about the current federal government's approach to the NBN. It has been, quite frankly, a disaster. I understand there are always concerns about state inquiries taking on federal issues and the opportunities for political pointscoring and that sort of thing. I hear those concerns, so it really would be incumbent on this committee to follow the letter of what is in the motion and really come up with something that they could strongly advocate to the federal government for so we can get a decent NBN service in this state.

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Sam Hibbins MP
Member for Prahran
18 September 2017
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