SUBJECTS: Bundaberg Men’s Sheds, NBN,  Turnbull Government in Crisis

LEANNE DONALDSON, LABOR MEMBER FOR BUNDABERG:  Well, we’re here today with Stephen Jones, Shadow Minister for Regional  Communications, Regional Services and Regional Development.   And, it’s great to have him here in the regions with us and I’m here with the Bundaberg Men’s Shed as well, today, where a re-elected Palaszczuk Government will provide $200,000 to the Bundaberg Men’s Shed for them to build a new shed right there on their new ground. 

This is a group that I have met with; in fact, they were one of the first groups that I met with when I was elected in 2015.  And since that time they’ve been working, even before that time, they’ve been working really hard to get themselves established in a place they can call their own and have a shed where they can continue to support men  and people in the community.  Because we know that men’s sheds are vital.  There are men who need to connect ,who are quite isolated and having men’s sheds really provides an environment where men can get together and do really good things for the community.

I actually have a set of chairs and a table in my office that was made by the Men’s Shed here today and I’m really pleased to we are able to provide this $200,000  to build a shed which is much needed by this great community group.

JOURNALIST:  One nation has just committed $500,000 to the same project – what’s your response to that?

DONALDSON:  Well, we know that One Nation is throwing figures out in the air – any commitment that is made by One Nation depends on them being part of a coalition of chaos with the LNP.  We  know that it all depends on them having the balance of power. 

The Coalition that the LNP and One Nation will not provide stability for Queensland. What it will provide is cuts to jobs.  Even Stephen Bennett [LNP Member for Burnett] and Tim Nicholls this morning on ABC were unable to rule out cuts to services, they were unable to even commit to not selling assets. 

We know that only a re-elected Palaszczuk Government will  provide the stability that Queenslanders need. 

We’ve been working hard for the last three years to provide jobs to the region that are so vital.  We know that the regions do it tougher than the South-East and getting jobs here is important.

Also, providing support to the community is important.  Any old group can throw out a promise without actually doing any homework or any research but I’ve been working really hard with the Bundaberg Men’s Shed to work with them and deliver what they need.

JOURNALIST:  Leanne, Stephen Bennett said that the Bundaberg Men’s Shed already applied for funding under the current government and they were rejected, so why are we now funding this?

DONALDSON:  Well the Men’s Shed was successful in receiving a grant, but what we know is that the previous area that they were located, the lease was only for three years.  What the Men’s Shed needed was longer term security of tenure – so it’s great now that they’ve got this facility and now that they’ve got this long term facility. We’re able to support them to provide this funding where they can build a shed and they can work knowing that they won’t have to worry about where they’ll be in the next three years.


Leanne originally asked me to come to Bundaberg because she was getting through her office on a daily basis, so many complaints about the rollout of the NBN and the experience that people are having with their phone services and their internet services here in Bundaberg.

Over 500 complaints in the last year alone.  In Queensland, Bundaberg is the third highest city for complaints for the NBN. That’s simply not good enough. We shouldn’t be rewarding the party that made such a mess with the NBN by turning them back into power here in Queensland.

I also wouldn’t mind making a few comments about the chaos that’s unfolded in Canberra over the last few hours. 

We’ve got two sitting weeks left for Parliament in Canberra for the remainder of this year and Malcolm Turnbull has said, today, that the only thing that he wants to talk about is the Marriage Equality Bill -  the Same Sex Marriage Bill.   Well I want to see that pass through Parliament before the end of the year as well, but I also want to see the Bill to ensure we fix broadband in Regional Australia pass the Parliament. 

I also want to ensure that we can get a motion up to have a Royal Commission into the Banking and Finance Industry pass through Parliament.   And the reason that Malcolm Turnbull has cancelled the next week of Parliament is to avoid those  matters being dealt with. 

I think that the people of Queensland should be sending a pretty clear message to Malcolm Turnbull and to Canberra when they go to the polls this weekend that the performance; the chaos, that has beset the Liberal and National parties is not good enough for Canberra and it’s not good enough for Queensland.

JOURNALIST: Haven’t we already seen some steps put forward in fixing the problems with the NBN in terms of refunds by some of the telcos?  What can your government do?

JONES:  There are at least three things that need to be done to fix the problems with the NBN here in Bundaberg and right throughout Queensland. 

First is that we’ve got to stop rolling out the old copper technology and ensuring that we are putting as much fibre in the ground – getting fibre replacing the old copper technology which simply is not working.  In fact you look at Telstra, the 42,000 customers that they’ve promised to refund - the overwhelming majority of those customers are relying on the old copper-based NBN.  That is the source of the problem – we’ve got to fix that part of the problem. 

We’ve got to stop the NBN ping pong - when people ring up their phone company and say ‘I’ve got a problem’, they get bounced between their phone company and the NBN – nobody taking responsibility.

We need a tough cop on the beat to help resolve those issues.  I mean, the first step in resolving a problem with your phone service shouldn’t have to be contacting your State Member of Parliament – as good a job as you’re doing Leanne - it shouldn’t be contacting your State Member of Parliament to get your problems with your phone fixed. 

Thank you.