Victorian Coalition Government Still Supporting NBN

Despite the fervent opposition to the National Broadband Network (NBN) from the Federal Coalition, in recent weeks the Victorian Coalition Government has repeatedly voiced support for the project.

At a recent announcement of an $85m plan to promote ICT within Victoria, Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips stated that the plan sought to “advocate the expedient upgrade of Victoria’s broadband capacity, including the National Broadband Network.”

On Friday, Rich-Phillips was at it again – this time at the launch of NBN Co’s operations and discovery centres in Melbourne’s Docklands precinct.

“[Rich-Phillips] agreed that the state government’s support contrasted with the federal Liberal Party’s opposition to the NBN project. “This is not about party politics. We are the Victorian government and as a Victorian minister my job is to maximise the benefits of the NBN [for Victoria].”

Now of course, it is perfectly reasonable for the state and federal parties to have different, and even contradictory policies, but given Malcolm Turnbull opines that the economic justification for the NBN lays outside of what the Liberal Party would consider rational economic policy, it seems that not everyone in the party agrees.

Turnbull has been lambasted for his position, not only in the technology media, but also on his own blog where almost none of the comments against a recent NBN article supported the position he was attempting to alliterate.

During a recent appearance on the ABC Q&A program, Turnbull made not a single mention of anything to do with his shadow communications portfolio – (let alone the NBN) – throughout the entire program, sparking some people to theorise that he might be more interested in other political aspirations, rather than his present role opposite Stephen Conroy.

Respected telecommunications commentator Paul Budde stated at a recent ACS event that he believes that “savings from improved healthcare outcomes alone will cover cost to build the NBN”.

Recently on his widely read blog, reporting on a visit to Central Victoria he noted:

“I was very pleasantly surprised that I encountered no resistance to the NBN anywhere. On the contrary, the NBN had the absolute support of the close to 400 leaders I met during this trip. The reason that I mention this is that the people in regional Australia are often slightly more conservative than metro dwellers; however it appears that very little of the current political discord is affecting their interest in, and support for, the NBN.”

It seems that too many of the arguments against the project Turnbull believes in, just aren’t holding up in the real world.

Turnbull should stop fiddling with his iPad and start listening.