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

20 February 2013

Doorstop interview

Joint doorstop interview with
the Hon Yvette D'Ath MP
Member for Petrie

Brisbane

SUBJECTS: NBN, Tony Abbott, A Plan for Australian Jobs, The Greens, Marius Kloppers

TREASURER:

 Well we can see here today with these events with some of our great young footballers that this great nation building project will have great significance in the lives of our local communities not just in sport but all across the board. A great difference in terms of commerce, a great difference in terms of the way in which we deliver health and education. Essentially we're moving from the horse and buggy era of copper into light through fibre.

We have down here Kev O'Leary who's 98 years old. He's probably the oldest resident that lives here and when he moved here copper wire probably wasn't here. But for these boys out here today, these young footballers, this is going to be their life. They, along with Australian and local communities like the Northside of Brisbane, are going to be the great beneficiaries of this nation-building project.

Projects like this take a long time to plan and there's usually a lot of controversy. They are usually opposed by vested interests. This Government has planned the NBN so we can put in place a key piece of critical national economic infrastructure to power our economy for years ahead. Many other countries around the world are doing precisely this. But for Australia this is very important. A large nation like ours dependent and interconnected with the global economy needs this first-class technology to stay competitive and to be more competitive in the 21st century.

The roll-out here today, first of all the 500 homes, eventually in Aspley to around 10,000 homes, currently connecting around 135,000 homes in Queensland moving up over the years nationally, as Darren said before, to 3.5 million homes. It shows that we as a nation can grasp the opportunities of the 21st century and put in place a great nation-building project which will benefit this country for decades to come.

I might just throw quickly to my colleague Yvette D'Ath, the Member for Petrie.

D'ATH:

Thanks Wayne. This is an exciting day for North Brisbane. We're seeing the broadband rolling out across the area of Aspley, but of course that's just the start for the Northside of Brisbane. We've already have North Lakes, Griffin, Mango Hill announced. I was only recently talking to people in the next suburb over, Carseldine, that work has already started there and in 12 month's time they will be seeing the switch on to broadband.

The NBN Co is coming to households, to businesses, to hospitals, to schools across this country. This is what we need to build our economic prosperity. This is what we need to give businesses the opportunities they need. To give our young people the opportunities they need in education, opportunities in sport like we've seen today and importantly getting health services to people in their homes, in their local communities quicker and better than we've ever seen before. Today is an exciting day and I'm very glad to be here with Wayne Swan. We're both local members, we know what this means for our local community.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, can the nation afford it in its current situation at a cost of $40 billion?

TREASURER:

We absolutely think we can afford this project - we can't afford not to do it. This sort of investment does deliver a commercial return. It can only be done by Government committed to nation building. Great projects like the Snowy Mountain scheme that built Australia were opposed by vested political interests including the Liberal Party years and years ago.

Sadly, yet again, the Liberal Party wants to rip up this great nation-building project. We put this in place on the best advice, projected all of the earnings, we're rolling it out methodically. It's entirely affordable for Australia. We need to do it to make sure we maximise the opportunities which will flow to this country from the Asian Century.

JOURNALIST:

Do you know how many of the 500 homes have signed up to NBN?

TREASURER:

We're only switching on today. You can talk to Darren Rudd about that. The opportunity begins today in terms of take up. You can talk to Darren about take up rates around the country, they're quite healthy. Today the opportunity arises, the opportunity is there now for people to connect to the network.

JOURNALIST:

We've seen the example of sport here today but when this is rolled out to outback areas of Queensland like Longreach, how will this revolutionise their lives?

TREASURER:

It's already happening. One of the great stories, and Darren can talk to you about this, this is already happening via satellite. Remote areas are now already getting super-fast broadband to deliver all sorts of services; education, medical services and so on. There's a revolution going on out there. Areas of Australia are now getting super-fast broadband and able to receive all sorts of things which were difficult to get. So what this does is it connects the nation, and then it connects the nation to the global economy.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, Tony Abbott just said that he would stop the boats within months if he was Prime Minister. Do you have any response to that?

TREASURER:

Tony Abbott delayed and delayed when it came to offshore processing by nine months and there were consequences for that decision. I don't think you can take very seriously what Mr Abbott says in this area.

JOURNALIST:

Just your thoughts on the Greens split up, with the Greens alliance?

TREASURER:

We're cut from a different cloth from the Greens, .we're completely cut from a different cloth. The fact is, they're moving further over to the fringe, just as the Liberal Party is moving further over to the fringe on the right, dominated as they are now by Tea Party elements that reject the basic facts of economics.

JOURNALIST:

Fairfax reported this morning that Industry Department received advice that the R&D, the new rules that companies might actually circumvent that and that might bring down less savings. Is that accurate, did you receive any advice?

TREASURER:

Treasury did provide advice and the advice Treasury provided was the advice that we published.

JOURNALIST:

What do you make of speculation the election could be held earlier than September?

TREASURER:

 Well it's just more of the rubbish that's been peddled around the place at the moment. The fact is that the decision from the Greens will have practically little effect on the operation of the Parliament. The operation of the Parliament has delivered very substantial pieces of legislation through that Parliament. We've done that for two years we'll continue to do that.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

I think it will have implications for consideration that private investors make. Why this project here is so important is that we have put in place investment for the long-term backed by the Commonwealth Government to make sure projects like this happen and are commercially operational.

JOURNALIST:

Any comment on Marius Kloppers stepping down?

TREASURER:

I've got a high regard for Mr Kloppers. He's made a significant contribution in his role. I wish him well for the future as I wish his successor well for the future.

Thank you.