I rise today to speak about more news on the National Broadband Network. On Friday the three-year plan for the NBN was released with much fanfare. However, I discovered that there was very little good news for my electorate of Lalor in the plan. Only HFC will be delivered before the horizon of the next election, and many homes in many suburbs will have to wait until 2018 to be connected to the NBN. Then, yesterday, in Senate estimates we heard that information given to people like Telstra in a document that outlines specific dates about when to speak to homeowners about connecting to the NBN could not be shared with the public because of potential brand damage. I find it extraordinary that we now have a situation where we are worried about brand damage when, since the inception of Labor's NBN, the coalition have done nothing but damage the brand of what is a major infrastructure project—our digital Snowy River scheme, one could say.
The current government, when in opposition, led by Malcolm Turnbull, the then Minister for Communications, did nothing but damage the brand of this great project. Now that he is Prime Minister we see a sudden concern about brand damage. The government is now suddenly concerned about brand damage if homeowners or businesses are given a particular date on which they can expect to go on to the scheme and that date cannot be met. They have done nothing but trash this project from the outset.
This is one of the major infrastructure projects for this country. It is going to drive growth in jobs in this country. In my electorate it is absolutely critical for small and medium business to be on the NBN as soon as possible. I find it amusing, to say the least, that the coalition are now concerned about brand damage. All documents should be released. Everyone should know when the NBN can be expected to be connected.
I received a letter in May to say that my home would be connected to the NBN. It is now October and no-one has come to connect my home to the NBN. That is typical of what is happening in my community. We have families who are ringing to make appointments to connect to the NBN, and then they follow up with Telstra—only to find they have to take three or four days off work to get these things happening. The Prime Minister needs to complete his portfolio work and deliver on the NBN.