INTERVIEW – ABC Kalgoorlie
THURSDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT/S: NBN rollout in Kalgoorlie
HOST: The quality of speed of internet has been a long running issue across this region and it was on the agenda at a special forum organised by the Labor Party in Kalgoorlie last night. Our reporter Sam Tomlin headed along and he spoke to the Federal Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Stephen Jones, WA Labor veteran and upper house Labor candidate Alannah MacTiernan and the party’s candidate for Kalgoorlie, Darren Forster.
STEPHEN JONES: We have a window of opportunity, particularly in places like Kalgoorlie where right now we have the capacity to send a very signal to NBN Co and to the Prime Minister and to the Premier that we don’t want a second-rate NBN. Today, we have plans being drawn up to roll out fibre to the home in over 700,000 places in capital cities around the country. So, a very simple question to NBN Co, to the Premier and to the Prime Minister is this: if it’s good enough for the capital cities, why isn’t it good enough for regions like Kalgoorlie?
JOURNALIST: What action have you seen from Liberal and National MPs on representing communities like this on the floor in Parliament and around the traps in Canberra in pushing this issue?
STEPHEN JONES: Frankly the problems we have are they are lions when they are in their electorates but lambs when they get down to Canberra. We need people who are going to stand up for their regions and say when it comes to the broadband network we want the same sort of services that Malcolm Turnbull enjoys in his electorate and that Julie Bishop enjoys in her electorate. We want a decent broadband service and you know what, it doesn’t stop there. It’s all the rest of the investment in infrastructure. It’s the investment in our schools, it’s the investment in our hospitals. People are sick of business as usual. They want a change.
ALANNAH MACTIERNAN: The state government cannot do its job delivering the good sound economy unless we have proper digital infrastructure. We have got to have 21st century digital infrastructure. So our job is to ensure that we’re getting our fair share of spend here in Western Australia. We note that in Tasmania and in South Australia, we have got state governments taking a very, very active role in ensuring that their people get access to proper broadband. Here, Mr Barnett has been absolutely missing in action for eight and a half years. They have shown no interest in agitating on this particular point. WA is getting the slowest rollout of NBN of any state. We need to reverse that, and we need to make sure that we are getting fibre to the premises. That we are getting 21st century technology, not 20th century technology.
DARREN FORSTER, Labor Candidate for Kalgoorlie: There’s a small window, in two year’s this conversation will be over. We’ll either have substandard internet or we won’t. It’s a fundamental service these days, like power and water. I think at some point, as I reiterated tonight, politicians stopped being bold and went for the easiest, cheapest and most average solution. Once upon a time, it was how much power does the Goldfields need? Double it, put 50 per cent on it and deliver it and that secures our town for another 30 to 50 years. This opportunity is right now, its high time we capitalise on it. Every bit of state political pressure should be applied
HOST: That’s Labor Candidate for Kalgoorlie Darren Forster speaking to the ABC’s Sam Tomlin and you also heard from Upper House candidate Alannah MacTiernan and the Federal Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Stephen Jones.