In the 21st century access to fast and reliable internet services is a necessity. Our children need it to study, we all need it to fill out government and other paperwork. Business needs it to compete and our health and education systems need it to be more efficient and proficient.
That’s what the NBN is all about, using the world’s best fibre, fixed wireless and satellite technologies to fill those needs. Problem is the NBN is becoming a shadow of the original plan. Old copper wires are being used to deliver services to our homes and worse, $600 million is being spent replacing the worst of the copper wire.
That’s right, rather than run fibre all the way to the home, the Government has decided cooper is good enough for the last stretch between the node and the house and where it’s too bad, they’re replacing it. Remember, any chain is only as good as its weakest link.
The roll-out process has also slowed down and somehow, the cost of the NBN has been allowed to blow-out. Last week I met with a number of residents in Mount Vincent for whom the battle to secure a decent internet service is yet to bear fruit. Their challenges are becoming all too common and their frustration understandable.
I will continue to fight for a better service sooner.
The Prime Minister’s decision to call the Parliament back and to hold the Budget early shocked all involved and for most, it confirmed politics has turned a little crazy. Be in no doubt, it’s a move not about the good of the country. Rather, it’s a move designed to deliver political advantage in a very difficult electoral environment. Will it do so? It remains to be seen.
Certainly it brings the election on earlier. That matters to Malcolm Turnbull because as each day goes by, his political standing deteriorates. This no doubt, is the basis of last week’s move.
While it fuels community perception about the dysfunctional nature of the Government, how much it matters may depend on how long it remains the issue. At some point in the campaign, the focus will shift more to the policy issues; the economy, the Budget, health, education, cost of living, the NBN and the environment. It’s going to be a long 100 days!
Amongst other things I’ve been busy making myself more familiar with the new parts of the reconstructed Hunter electorate. Roaming the towns and speaking with the residents on the townships of the western side of Lake Macquarie remind me of my youth when the day the pits closed for Christmas, the whole town seemed to head to Wangi, Bonnells Bay and like communities. I also recall that Speers Point Park was a popular destination for end of year events for sporting teams.
Of course for most of the time since Federation, the towns of western Lake Macquarie were part of the Hunter electorate. The carve-off didn’t occur until 1984 when the seat of Charlton was created. It’s a very nice reunion.
The Hunter Coal Festival Community Day this Saturday is shaping up to be a great family and community event. My office is looking forward to being involved in the John street parade that commences at 11am.
It’s sure to be a great event and I congratulate the Singleton Business Chamber in partnership with the region’s mining industry on the initiative to bring our region together in celebration of the mining industry’s contribution to the Hunter Valley.
Applications are currently open for the National Library of Australia’s Community Heritage Grants.
Community Heritage Grants of up to $15,000 are available to assist in preserving cultural heritage collections of national significance. Not-for-profit organisations, such as historical societies, regional museums, public libraries and Indigenous and migrant community groups are encouraged to apply.
Applicants should carefully read the 2016 Community Heritage Grants Program guidelines before submitting an application.
Applications for the 2016 Community Heritage Grants program close on 9 May 2016 at 5pm (AEST). For further information visit https://www.nla.gov.au/awards-and-grants/chg
I hope all readers had a safe and enjoyable break over the Easter weekend. It’s a great time to catch up with family and friends or to just relax and enjoy a few days off work.