SUBJECTS: Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman annual report

STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL SERVICES, TERRITORIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Good morning everyone. This morning, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has released its latest report. It’s a damning indictment of the industry and the way the Government is handling the rollout of the NBN.

There’s been a 160 per cent increase in the number of complaints received by the TIO in relation to the NBN rollout. For the industry as a whole, a 41 per cent increase in the number of complaints in relation to telecommunication services. Over the last few years, you have all been following very, very closely Labor’s call for a royal commission into the banking industry. What you may not know, is that these figures today reveal that the telecommunications industry receives four times the number of complaints than the banking industry. And yet, the Government seems to think that everything is ok.

Well it’s not ok. The people of Australia, the small businesses of Australia are fed up with the Government. The brags about its NBN project seems deaf to the complaints about what’s really going on. Missed appointments, connections that don’t work, services that don’t work. People are paying for a service that they simply aren’t getting and when they try and raise a complaint then they get the NBN ping-pong. They get bounced between the phone companies and the NBN  - nobody taking responsibility.

Australians are fed up with it. They want Malcolm Turnbull to take responsibility for the mess that he has created.

The NBN and a decent broadband is no longer a luxury. It’s what Australians demand and need for their everyday lives.

Over the last four weeks, I have been travelling the length and breadth of this country, particularly in regional communities. In town after town, I have heard stories from small businesses who are losing thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars because their phone and internet services simply aren’t working. They are paying for services they are not getting. They are complaining to their local MPs. They are complaining to the Government but there is still no action.

We need the Government to sit up and take this seriously. No more stunts, no more bragging.

Let’s get the internet and the NBN project back on track. It’s too important for the country’s future.