Coalition, local government lock horns over broadband

Australia loses $3.2B a year over poor access: report.

The Coalition has attacked a scathing report by local governments on the state of broadband in Australia which labelled telecommunications under the Howard government as “extremely sluggish and frustrating”.

The report by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) blamed the former Howard Government for not improving the nation’s “dire state of broadband”. The group claims Australia continues to lose a potential $3.2 billion and 33, 000 jobs due to poor broadband infrastructure.

Shadow communications minister Nick Minchin said the report was bias toward the government.

“I cannot believe the ALGA is happy to spruik the broadband policies of the Rudd Labor Government, yet remains silent about the spurious cancelling of the OPEL project which would have seen Commonwealth funding appropriately targeted at under served regions of Australia,” Minchin said.

“[ALGA] overlooks the fact that Rudd Labor promised broadband miracles before the end of this year, yet to date has delivered nothing.”

ALGA president Cr Geoff Lake and the State of the Regions report co-creator Peter Hylands stood by the claims that poor broadband has cost Australia a potential $3.2 billion per year for the past two years.

Lake would not be drawn on whether Australia's broadband problems were exacerbated by the closure of the Opel network, but said the benefits of the government's National Broadband Network (NBN) will be lost without coverage.

“That does not seem an unreasonable claim and is backed-up by rigorous economic modelling to substantiate it.

“Australia is still in the dark ages compared to other industrialised countries when it comes to access to fast broadband technology.”

Lake said Australia is 10 years behind broadband standards in industrialised nations due to “gross underinvestment” in an NBN concept by the Howard government. He expects Australia to continue to lose $3.2 billion next year while the NBN regulations are ironed-out.

Hylands said new services such as e-health and online education will be stunted if the bush has inadequate access.

“It is very hard to introduce e-health and new media across the nation without complete broadband penetration,” Lake said.

A spokesman for Minchin's office said broadband penetration in regional Australia would have improved under the Howard government's Opel wireless network.

“We would have seen the benefits of broadband coverage from next year had the Opel network not been canceled,” he said.

He said the figures can be spun different ways because of the lack of comprehensive economic modelling around broadband.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NBN

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?