A key element of the strategy is ensuring we build the infrastructure that will support the businesses of the future.
The Illawarra is home to 28,000 small businesses. 84% are micro businesses – many operating from home. For these businesses access to broadband is not a luxury – it is essential.
Labor’s priority rollout of the NBN for the Illawarra, means these businesses will have access to the markets of the world. It means more people can telecommute. It means the ICT graduates from the University of Wollongong can stay and start new businesses which will grow jobs and opportunities for the future.
Today Jason Clare, Shadow Minister for Communications, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, met with small businesses who are using the NBN to start new businesses – some of these services simply did not exist a few years ago.
Sharon Bird said that with recent job losses across the Illawarra, it was vital that the region took advantage of the opportunities that the NBN provides.
“Many home-based and small business operators in the Illawarra have slow internet with frequent dropouts making it unreliable for their business. In some areas, the lack of ports and distance from the exchange are preventing local businesses from operating efficiently or even at all,” Sharon Bird said.
“While many areas are in the build or building preparation phase, there are still a number of areas in my electorate that aren’t on the map at all including the northern suburbs from Clifton to Helensburgh, Waterfall/Heathcote and Bundeena/Maianbar. In a number of these suburbs, some businesses and residents aren’t able to connect to broadband at all.
“Local businesses are keen to increase productivity by embracing the opportunities that technology presents but it is impossible with the current slow and unreliable broadband service.
Stephen Jones said that many home-based businesses in the Southern Suburbs of his electorate including Tullimbar, Haywards Bay and Albion Park were frustrated at slow and unreliable ADSL connections which limited their capacity to run or expand their businesses.
“For many of our people, access to the NBN means the difference between commuting to Sydney for work, or having to move suburb to keep their home based business alive. We need the right infrastructure and support in place so we can build new industries and create jobs in the Illawarra.
“With fast and reliable internet connections business will be able to exchange files, process transactions and respond to clients in an efficient and timely manner.
“This is why it is so important for our local small and medium suppliers to get connected to the NBN.
Jason Clare said residents were angry about the cost blowouts associated with Malcolm Turnbull’s second rate NBN and the fact that it would not be rolled out by the end of 2016, as he promised.
“The NBN is rolling out slower than Malcolm Turnbull promised and it is more expensive than Malcolm Turnbull promised. Homes and businesses across the Illawarra are suffering because of these broken promises and frankly, they deserve better.”
Jason Clare will also be visiting iAccelerate during his visit.