Esperance overlooked in NBN rollout, Crook
Posted on Thursday, 12 April 2012
NATIONALS WA Federal Member for O’Connor Tony Crook MP will lobby the Federal Government to include Esperance in the initial rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Mr Crook has written to the Federal Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, requesting an explanation as to why Esperance has been ignored as part of the three year NBN rollout.
“As one of the largest towns in O’Connor, and a major regional centre, it came as a surprise to see that Esperance would not be connected to the NBN in the next three years,” Mr Crook said.
“This is a very disappointing outcome for the people of Esperance, particularly the small business community who would have the most benefit from access to high speed broadband.
“The resources sector, agriculture and tourism are all major industries in Esperance, and they all compete on a global playing field. As such, they require access to high-speed broadband to remain relevant and competitive.”
Mr Crook said Esperance’s isolation from the metropolitan area and other regional centres highlighted the need for access to the NBN, particularly in the health and education sector.
“There is a huge gap in services between the city and the country. The NBN has the potential to bridge that gap by improving on telehealth service and remote education outcomes.”
Mr Crook said the Federal Government’s decision not to include Esperance would hinder regional growth.
“Esperance has been recognised as a SuperTown by the State Government, identifying it as a major regional growth centre – however in order for this growth to be realised a proactive approach to regional development needs to be taken by the Federal Government.
“This decision is also out of step with the Federal Government’s own commitment to growing Esperance with Federal Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese contributing $2 million towards the PortLink project on a recent visit to town.”
Mr Crook said Esperance’s substantial contribution to the national economy should also be taken into account.
“While the Federal Government is filling its coffers with the mineral wealth generated by WA – including more than 10 million tonnes of iron ore exported through the Esperance Port in 2011 – the people of Esperance are being left out.”
Mr Crook said the omission of Esperance from the NBN rollout also contradicted claims by the Federal Government in 2010 that regional areas would be given priority.
“What we are seeing will come as no surprise to regional Australians – the Federal Government is racing to connect the Eastern States and the metropolitan areas to the NBN before the next election, while key areas of regional WA are left behind.”