The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

16 July 2012

Doorstop interview

Joint interview with
The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Member for Adelaide

SUBJECTS: Funding to ensure residents are equipped to take advantage of the National Broadband Network, the Greens, Sri Lanka and asylum seekers, Tea Party tactics taking hold in Liberal Party, ASIC regulations

ELLIS:

Good morning all and welcome to beautiful Prospect. Can I take this opportunity first of all to welcome our Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan. It's always a pleasure to have you in Adelaide, particularly talking about such an important program.

I'm also joined here today by two of our local mayors. Of course our Lord Mayor in Adelaide Stephen Yarwood and our local Mayor here in Prospect, David O'Loughlin. Both who have been so hugely committed in making sure our local community get everything on offer out of the National Broadband Network. I'm pleased that we have different levels of government working together.

What we see here today is that we are announcing $1.25 million to equip the residents of Adelaide and Prospect to get everything that is possible out of the National Broadband Network. We are seeing in this area at the moment there is already work under way to roll out the National Broadband Network. We are seeing already the work is underway on the infrastructure.

But of course we know that the possibilities that accompany that infrastructure are almost endless. We know that with the NBN brings a world of new possibilities for residents and for local businesses alike. The funding that we've announced today is to ensure that we can empower both local residents and local businesses and teach them how they can get the most potential out of the National Broadband Network.

This is something that is incredibly exciting for local families, for local residents but also for our local economy. We are seeing already with the rolling out of the NBN in Prospect, we are seeing new businesses roll in. What we are now doing is setting up hubs so that we can work with those businesses so they can expand and take all of the opportunities with this amazing new infrastructure.

I'd like to congratulate our local mayors. I know both of them are so incredibly passionate about ensuring that we equip Adelaide for the future and that's what this announcement here today is about. I'd like to turn to the local Mayor to say a bit about what the funding here today means for the local community before we turn to the Deputy Prime Minister.

O'LOUGHLIN:

Thanks Kate and thanks Wayne for the presentation today we're really excited about it. Prospect's delighted to be the first metropolitan roll-out site after Willunga. We're in the centre of the north of the city of Adelaide. The hub is an integral part of our local library and our local art gallery.

We're going to have a heap of people come through here for those two purposes, but also to understand what the NBN can mean to them. We'll have a real kitchen mocked up, we'll have a real lounge, we'll have a real study, we'll have a training facility and a real boardroom for people to come in and touch and play and understand what the NBN can do. And understand what that capacity can do for them and their households and businesses and their future.

Kids are getting really excited about the creative content that they'll be able to manufacture here in the hub and upload and give themselves a name and a world-stage. So we've got all sorts of dimensions and it's right here in the Prospect library which is right on Main- North Rd, Highway 1. Very prominent location. We're very excited. Thank you.

JOURNALIST:

One would assume that lots of businesses would already have the internet. Is that a wrong assumption?

O'LOUGHLIN:

Lots of businesses have the internet. The NBN is 100 megabits a second is like comparing the existing internet to be a bathtub in the ocean and the new internet to be an oil tanker. It's 30,000 times the capacity. I'm comfortable in saying we don't even know what we're going to achieve with the NBN compared to the current broadband services over copper.

There's no comparison other than it's the same internet service. It's massively expanded. So businesses are very excited. Not just about how they can run more efficiently, but how much more they can do over the next few years.

ELLIS:

So this funding will go towards two hubs. One right here but the other one in the City. I'll turn to the Lord Mayor to talk about their hub in Grote Street and what that would mean.

YARWOOD:

I'd like to thank you Deputy Prime Minister for attending today and also Minister Kate Ellis and Mayor O'Loughlin. Adelaide City Council's particularly pleased to be a part of the future of the NBN and to be working with the Federal Government to roll out this vital piece of infrastructure.

We will be transforming our Grote Street Library School room upstairs into a digital hub for training to provide services not only for the community, in particular those people who are not yet up-skilled in technologies and get them to understand the future of the NBN and the use and opportunities that the internet will create for them.

But also working with small businesses in the city, one-on-one to train them in the potentials that the NBN and the future technologies that will be associated, will be able to provide. So we're very pleased to be able to be a part of this project, co-fund with the Federal Government, to provide education facilities in the City of Adelaide for the community, for small businesses, for the future of Adelaide, South Australia and the nation.

TREASURER:

It's also good to be here to announce these grants for these technology hubs, so that super-fast affordable broadband is available to all our communities, but also particularly to our business community.

It's very important in the 21st century that countries such as Australia have access to super-fast affordable broadband. In the 21st century to be successful not just in the economy but also in society, our economies and societies need to be driven by clean energy, but also by super-fast affordable broadband.

If you look to our north, our major trading partners are substantially investing in the super-fast broadband. For Australia we have to make sure that we put in place this network of affordable fast broadband to ensure we don't get left behind.

As the Mayors were saying before, we've got a horse and buggy form of communication at the moment in the form of copper wire. What we're putting in here is 21st century technology to empower our business and to empower our local communities with the most superior technology available, and which will last for forty or fifty years and drive very efficient practices when it comes to our businesses, particularly small businesses, but also empower individuals and give them access to a whole range of services that they've not previously had.

This will enhance dramatically what we're capable of doing through our education system. It will enhance dramatically what we're capable of doing in our health system. In a state like South Australia it will mean regional areas will be connected and have new health services available through super-fast broadband. But even in urban communities what this means for businesses is they have access to a technology which will dramatically lift their productivity and not just join our suburbs together, not just join our cities together in South Australia, but connect them to the rest of our country.

But most importantly, to connect Australia directly to the world and through that we will generate new business, through that we will generate innovation and through that we will generate economic growth. But also what you see here in terms of our libraries is we will empower individuals to have access to knowledge they've not previously had and to get it in an affordable way.

That's why hubs like this are so important because they will play the role of explaining to local communities how they can connect to the National Broadband Network, how they can use this technology to enrich their lives. So we empower business and we empower individuals, we make our economy more prosperous and we make it more inclusive for all of our people.

So that's why the Government has been so committed to this vital piece of nation-building infrastructure - every bit as important as the Snowy Mountain Scheme was to Australia after the war. Every bit as important as the early rail roads were to Australia. This is vital, it's vital to our future and that's why the Government has put it in place and is rolling it out across our country as fast as we possibly can.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, just refresh my memory and this is based a little on ignorance I confess. But the NBN for homes, is fibre to the node or fibre to the home?

TREASURER:

Fibre to the home.

JOURNALIST:

So all the difficulties with Telstra, they've all been overcome?

TREASURER:

Yes, all of the difficulties with Telstra have been worked through. We have a definitive agreement with Telstra. What we have now is a wholesale NBN network which will also drive competition in the future in terms of prices because there will be a wide variety of providers available. And a wide variety of services available over the network

JOURNALIST:

What is the rate of take up in Brisbane, particularly small businesses?

TREASURER:

At the moment in our roll-out areas the rate of take up I think is more than the market scoping that we did and it varies from area to area. When I move around the community the one group that is if you like most excited about broadband is small business.

What it will be here, you can talk to our local Mayors about what they're expecting. But I know that generally business, even when it's relatively close to the city, is generally pretty unhappy with the broadband speeds that they have over the old copper network. In my electorate for example, in Brisbane, only 10-15 kilometres from the city, there are parts of those areas which have very poor broadband access at the moment and of course it gets worse the further you go out.

So we would expect a very high take up among business, but there will be many people who will be looking forward to conducting their business affairs from home once they have access to super-fast broadband, fast-affordable broadband. What a hub like this can do is show the possibilities for both the business community and also for individuals about what they can achieve.

There's always a reluctance when you've been doing something the same way, to change. In terms of the facility here, people will be able to walk into the library walk down there and they'll see an internet connection which will be provided by the NBN. They'll be able to see actually what will go to their house and how it relates to what they might do in their own premises. This is the sort of educational activity that we need to, if you like, further show to people the possibilities of fast, affordable broadband.

JOURNALIST:

So when do we see for instance, it's fine in the City of Adelaide and Prospect, but the whole of South Australia and regional areas. When do you see completion?

TREASURER:

We've got all those timetables available. I'm happy to make them available to you. There's stage one, stage two, stage three of the roll-out right across the country. We can't give it to everybody at once, this is a big nation-building project. Stage one is already going on here and I can get the Mayors to talk about what it means and how many houses are going to be covered in their areas. This is the early roll-out we're dealing with here. But those plans are published and were published a few months ago by the NBN. But of course before you roll it out you've got to have the hubs like this to show people in a practical way what can be achieved.

JOURNALIST:

Are you expecting that businesses will be creative (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Too right we do. That is the experience overseas. What the NBN becomes at the business level is a tool with which they innovate. It's just not the established thing they do over the internet as we were talking here before. People will invent new products through access to super-fast, affordable broadband.

JOURNALIST:

Anthony Chisholm has come out and talked about the Greens alliance in Queensland and how it could affect Labor's chances in attracting the blue-collar vote. Do you support those assessments?

TREASURER:

They're matters that are dealt with by the State Secretaries. They are not dealt with by the Parliamentary wing. They'll continue to do that.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

My main focus at the moment is on economic policy - making sure we're creating jobs, making sure we keep in place and further put in place a fair system of industrial relations and particularly to spread the benefits of the mining boom right around all of our communities.

JOURNALIST:

What are the implications if you lose the by-election in Melbourne on the weekend?

TREASURER:

Well, it's a state by-election. There's none.

JOURNALIST:

Just on another point. Sri Lanka seems to be successfully turning back boats, yet we don't seem able to do that. What's their secret?

TREASURER:

Well the Government takes the advice of the naval authorities. The advice of naval authorities is turning back boats endangers lives and particularly our naval personnel - the very strong advice that the Government has from the naval authorities.

What the authorities there do is entirely a matter for them. But here what we need is the enduring arrangement which breaks the people smuggling modelling and what it does in particular in breaking the model is that it saves lives.

JOURNALIST:

So the Sri Lankan Government or any officials speaking on their behalf who say it does work, they've got it wrong. They don't know what they're talking about?

TREASURER:

No what I'm saying is you've got an entirely different set of conditions in that country. The authorities there take their decisions in a way which they normally do. Our strong advice from our naval authorities is that they will not endanger lives of naval personnel.

JOURNALIST:

Just on the Greens. Are you at all concerned (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

No I'm not concerned about these matters. What I'm concerned with is the prosperity of the country and making sure that we maximise the benefits of the mining boom and spread the opportunities right around our community, to every corner of it.

Of course here today, fast affordable broadband is one way to do that. So that's my concern, but there's nothing new in the fact that the Australian Labor Party has parties to its left if you like, like the Greens and parties to its right like the Liberal Party. There's a political contest which takes place. The Labor Party's values are the values of working people in Australia. And we express those values in policies like a fair industrial relations system, in nation-building policies like fast affordable broadband and our commitment to clean energy technology.

We have a political contest with all of those parties. The Liberal Party at the moment has gone to the extreme right - the loopy right if you like, has been taken over by Tea-Party type activists and is following the sorts of policies we are seeing from that group in the United States.

So I'm pretty concerned about that tilt to the right in the Liberal Party and the way in which it is expressed in this country by opposition to policies like the NBN.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)?

TREASURER:

We are in a contest with parties, minor parties and major parties. We're in a contest with the Liberal Party, we're in a contest with Bob Katter's party and we're in a contest with the Greens. It's always been the case

JOURNALIST:

Do you think we need to legislate on creeping changes?

TREASURER:

The Government is awaiting advice from ASIC. We're taking advice from Treasury.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think it's possible though?

TREASURER:

I haven't taken any decisions. The Government hasn't taken any decisions