It was standing room only at the Morley-Noranda Recreation Club last night as over 100 local residents braved wet and windy conditions to demand a real National Broadband Network for their homes, businesses and their children’s education.

Convened by Tim Hammond MP, Member for Perth, and WA Labor Candidate for Morley, Amber-Jade Sanderson, local residents from Morley and Noranda voiced their frustration with the lack of broadband access and the unreliable services currently reliant copper infrastructure – the same copper to which Malcolm Turnbull has condemned them under his second-rate network.

“The feedback from the meeting reinforces the recent findings in the West Australian that Perth is Australia’s broadband wasteland”, said Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister for Communications.

“Unfortunately the situation for residents in Morley and Noranda is far worse than the West Australian’s findings of average Perth download speeds of 7.1Mbps.  The speed tests undertaken by local residents reveal snail-like speeds of between 0.24Mbps and 2.1Mbps”, Ms Rowland said.

Member for Perth, Tim Hammond, said the frustration of local residents was palpable and worsened by the fact that most attendees could not even find their addresses listed for construction on the NBN Co rollout maps.

“Residents are acutely aware that access to high-speed broadband is essential for their children’s education and local jobs.  They have a strong understanding of the superiority of fibre and the degraded state of the copper network”, Mr Hammond said.

“Their frustration is compounded by the fact that all we hear from Mr Turnbull is empty rhetoric and broken promises”.

WA Labor Candidate for Morley, Amber-Jade Sanderson, said the overwhelming concern from local residents is that time is running out for Perth’s suburbs and the State as a whole is being left behind not only the rest of Australia, but our global competitors.

“The benefits of high-speed broadband are well understood, but there has been a total lack of interest at the State level to address residents’ needs”, Ms Sanderson said.

“The sitting Member for Morley had barely mentioned broadband until he heard of this pubic meeting.  In response, he posted a bizarre rant on his Facebook page urging residents not to make this issue ‘political’, said he would start to do something but couldn’t articulate what that would be, and admitted he didn’t even know he had a landline”, Ms Sanderson said.

“This is indeed a political issue that needs strong and co-ordinated advocacy at the State and Federal level, which is what Tim Hammond and I are committed to”.

Concerns shared by residents at the forum included:

  • A resident whose wife is housebound but can’t access any popular video on demand services due to poor broadband speeds.
  • School representatives who don’t know how students will be able to participate in online testing.
  • How residents will be restricted from accessing government services as they are increasingly moved online.
  • Not receiving the broadband speeds and quality they paid for.

Mr Hammond and Ms Sanderson assured residents that last night’s forum was only the start of their local campaign for quality broadband in Morley and Noranda.  They are making representations to the Communications Minister and have launched a petition to fast track a real fibre-based network for the area.  They also outlined practical steps they will be taking in the interim, including engagement with Telstra and other ISPs to try and address the current lack of service.