The Liberal and Labor parties have traded verbal blows over when the National Broadband Network will be available in the Blue Mountains.
Federal Liberal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus last week asked the Federal Government why it had not scheduled the rollout of the National Broadband Network to the Blue Mountains.
But her Labor opponent, Susan Templeman, accused Mrs Markus of “breathtaking hypocrisy” for voting against the NBN in parliament while calling for its implementation locally.
Mrs Markus’s question came just days after Telstra launched ADSL2+ to Bullaburra.
“Over the years, I have been contacted by many residents and small business owners from the local community who are constantly frustrated by the lack of broadband internet and reliable mobile communication services across the Blue Mountains,” said Mrs Markus.
“I am delighted that the private sector can supply this service to the local region, when the Federal Labor Government appears to have completely overlooked the Blue Mountains when scheduling the roll out of the NBN. I think it’s fantastic that Telstra can provide such affordable and accessible internet now, while residents continue to wait years for the $50million roll out of the NBN which has already begun in other parts of the country.”
Mrs Markus submitted a question in writing to the Federal communications minister asking when the Blue Mountains region could expect the rollout to commence.
“The National Broadband Network website details the rollout of the NBN up until 2015, with no mention of the Blue Mountains. It just so happens that this is also the expected completion year of the NBN.
“The minister needs to advise when the NBN will be rolled out to the Blue Mountains, and if it will not be rolled out, why the Federal Labor Government believes the Blue Mountains is not entitled to faster internet access,” said Mrs Markus.
But Labor’s Macquarie candidate Susan Templeman attacked the call from Mrs Markus.
“I am on the record as wanting NBN in the Blue Mountains as soon as possible, but anyone with a basic understanding of infrastructure rollouts knows that you can’t build it everywhere at once,” she said.
“Mrs Markus conveniently ignores that other parts of her electorate of Macquarie are benefiting from an early roll-out, as is Penrith.
“Yet Mrs Markus has never once acknowledged the enormous benefits NBN will bring to business and the community in the areas where the NBN is currently being installed.
“Not only did she vote against the NBN legislation, but in parliament in February last year, Mrs Markus showed her ignorance of the optical fibre technology capacity by claiming it is ‘no better than other technologies being used across the world today’ including DSL,” she said.
“Perhaps Mrs Markus has now seen the wisdom of Labor’s program of high-speed broadband, in which case I look forward to hearing her sing its praises as the rollout in the other part of her electorate — Windsor and Richmond — come on line next year.”