Page 3472 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 September 2015

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Of particular interest is geospatial data. Over the last 30 years Geoscience Australia has acquired over 240,000 images of the Australian continent taken by NASA’s Landsat satellites. These 240,000-plus images represent approximately one petabyte, a million gigabytes, of data. However, much of this data remained unused because traditional technology could not make use of this dataset. Geoscience Australia, in partnership with the national computational infrastructure at the ANU and the CSIRO, amongst others, has now released this data through the Australian Geoscience data cube. This imagery, covering 30 years of change in Australia’s environment, is now available at a resolution of 25 square metres. It is the first time that an entire continent’s geophysical data has been made available to researchers. All of this is occurring right here in Canberra.

Geoscience Australia, the CSIRO and the ANU are considering innovative ways for commercial companies to build products and services off the data cube technologies. Together with Airbus Defence and Space, they are currently considering the technical challenges for combining commercial data with public good data as part of the ACT multi-resolution data cube demonstrator project. But to achieve commercial outcomes, interested commercial partners need quick access to the data. Whilst universities and multinational companies may be able to purchase high speed internet at a significant cost, smaller companies are reliant on the existing broadband infrastructure and, therefore, critically, the rollout of the NBN. Simply, any changes to the NBN will affect Australia’s ability to grow these types of knowledge-based industries.

Whilst the ACT government has been doing its bit to help our citizens and businesses transition to the new digital age, the federal government needs to snap out of its state of digital hesitation. The NBN rollout is absolutely critical. Australia’s position, at around 40th in the world for broadband speed and quality, is something we should all be concerned about. After two years of delays and policy reviews, and now cost blowouts, the federal coalition’s election promise of a fast, affordable and available NBN feels further away than ever.

I am writing to the new communications minister, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, to urge him to reinvigorate the rollout and capacity of the national broadband network. This is not simply a convenience or a luxury. Canberra’s and Australia’s health services, education, productivity and competitiveness all hinge on the successful rollout and use of the NBN. High speed broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st century, just as roads were the infrastructure of the 20th. I hope that Prime Minister Turnbull is indeed a 21st century infrastructure prime minister and puts high speed, high quality broadband back on the government’s agenda. The ACT is ready and willing to make use of the NBN to its full capacity, to strengthen both our city and the nation.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (10.15): I thank the Minister for Economic Development for his statement today on the progress towards a more digital Canberra. The ACT government’s digital Canberra action plan aims to accelerate business

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