17 December 2021 The Ararat Advocate

As the last two years of rolling lockdowns across Australia have shown, access to a reliable, high quality internet connection is essential.

It is not a luxury, it is a utility and we must get it right.

Australians can and should expect to have access to world-leading internet speeds to keep us connected to each other and to the world.

But the Morrison-Joyce Government has failed miserably on the NBN, and as has been so often the case under the Coalition, regional areas are disproportionately impacted by their failure.

There is no getting away from the fact that the Liberal and National parties have left regional Australia behind, where over 1.8 million homes have been dudded with copper-based fibre-to-the-node.

For instance, in Ararat, only 26 homes enjoy a fibre-to-the-premise connection – compared to 2,700 on the Coalition’s low-rent fibre-to-the-node scheme.

The Federal Government’s decision to abandon the original vision of the NBN and instead rollout a second-rate technology has led to multiple cost blowouts and delays and, as it stands, the NBN is $28 billion over budget.

Australia cannot continue down this path. We must deliver the fibre infrastructure that regional communities need, not spend more taxpayer money on outdated copper-based technology.

While the Coalition continues to leave regional Australians behind, Federal Labor has a plan to boost fibre and fast-track NBN repair.

An Albanese Labor Government will expand full-fibre NBN access to 1.5 million premises, providing thousands of Australian families and businesses with quality, high-speed internet by 2025.

This is a significant investment in the future growth potential and network resilience of our regions—an investment that will deliver 12,000 jobs for construction workers, engineers, and project managers, both in our regions and in our suburbs.

Under the Morrison-Joyce Government, Australia has slipped to 58th in the world on broadband speeds and ranks 32 out of 37 OECD nations.

It’s clear the Liberals and Nationals cannot be trusted to deliver the right technology and infrastructure to regional Victorians.

I believe that our focus as a nation must be on making things here again, particularly in regional Australia. But to seize the economic opportunities before us, we need quality, reliable broadband technology.

Australia deserves a government that delivers the broadband infrastructure we need to succeed – that is what Labor will deliver.