October 12, 2016
I regularly hear complaints from residents and businesspeople in my electorate about the poor quality of the internet service accessible at their homes and offices. And so it was especially disappointing to discover that the long-scheduled date for connection to the NBN has been quietly cancelled by this government in Pascoe Vale, Glenroy, Fawkner, Hadfield and Coburg, in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. These people are eager to access the benefits unlocked by the most important infrastructure project in the nation. It is for good reason; we all know the profound economic, educational, entertainment and societal value of broadband connectivity. Broadband is not a luxury but an essential utility. It powers so much of the essentials in our lives, and a substandard internet connection makes life less than it should be.
It took one eagle-eyed citizen of Wills by the name of Lachlan Cunningham to notice that the promise of a long overdue upgrade had been silently, sneakily broken by the government. On its watch, it has been quietly removed from the website. Alas, there has not been any revised rollout date announced; we are left with no idea when access to this essential modern infrastructure will become a reality for all the people of Wills. That is a shame. Worse still, some of their neighbours in adjacent suburbs are connected to the NBN because it was rolled out by the previous Labor government.