Page 3380 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 September 2015

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the pot calling the kettle black. Like their federal counterparts, ACT Labor have made many promises. As always, very few have actually come to fruition. I would advise that they do look a little closer to home and focus on their own responsibilities of delivering a modern and innovative digital city instead of wasting time playing politics.

The digital Canberra action plan that Ms Fitzharris speaks of has in fact not been completed. This government has made a promise at the last election that Canberra would host Australia’s largest free public wi-fi network. However, with continual delays in the rollout, it seems that we are still waiting for this promise to be delivered. Initially the rollout was to be completed by the end of this year. Now it seems it has been pushed back to mid-2016.

As I understand it, only Canberra city, Braddon, New Acton and EPIC have active external wi-fi transmitters. The town centres of Belconnen, Dickson, Kingston, Manuka, Tuggeranong, Gungahlin, Weston, Woden and Bruce are still all waiting to receive their promised full free wireless network. The wi-fi rollout was initially to be completed one year after its launch in October 2014. Ms Fitzharris, at this point in time it is anticipated that it will be completed nearly two years after the original launch.

In closing, I will touch on a few points. You will find no argument from this side of the chamber that investing in our digital economy is fundamentally important to ensure the growth of business, education, employment, health and research. We are of one opinion on that. I question in some sense the need for calling on the ACT government to continue to invest in Canberra’s future through digital Canberra. We agree this is already the direction this government has given quite some time ago. So I guess Ms Fitzharris is trying to give a wake-up call to her own government, but I am not quite sure if a motion is required. She could have just walked next door or walked down to Minister Barr here in the chamber and reminded him about the lack of delivery on some of the plans that Canberra’s digital future was looking forward to.

Ms Fitzharris is calling on the government to:

express its concern at the delayed, unequal and unclear access to NBN for Canberra residents, both within Canberra suburbs and across Canberra regions;

Yes, there has been a delay, but what about the recognition of the accumulated two years-plus delay under Labor that was experienced. Nothing was said about that by this government. Yet when you have a look at the impact for the coalition, with the sorts of delays they have had to contend with, it is a bit farcical to blame everything on the coalition government that has only recently come in. They have had their problems in looking at the impact on their efforts to implement the new directions and solutions with the legacy that was left to them by Labor.

Finally, Ms Fitzharris’s motion calls on the government to:

write to the new Minister for Communications, the Senator the Honourable Mitch Fifield, noting the ACT Legislative Assembly’s concern and seeking clarity about the future status of the NBN roll out in the ACT.

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