SUBJECTS: Labor’s National Broadband Network announcement; Labor’s policy agenda; Federal election; lack of trust in Scott Morrison and his Government. 

Scott Morrison has declared that we're in an election campaign. Well, that's a campaign that Labor welcomes. Because what elections do is determine the future direction of Australia. And what we know is that we have a Government that's scared of the present and terrified of the future. When it comes to embracing new technology, when it comes to giving Australia the policy framework so that we can seize the opportunity to create jobs, to become a high-value economy, to look after people and make sure that people aren't left behind as we move forward into the future. Scott Morrison is part of a Government which, when they came into office in 2013, having said that fibre-based National Broadband Network was a waste of money, set about dismantling it. They set about replacing fibre to the home and business with a hybrid model, including copper. Indeed, enough copper, 60,000 kilometres has been purchased by this Government, enough to wrap around Earth one and a half times. It's absurd that in the 21st century we're using technology in this country that is so far behind. Well Labor will have a repair job. And Michelle Rowland as the incoming Communications Minister, if we're successful, will be in charge of that repair job. Making sure that we recognise, as COVID has reinforced, that high-speed broadband isn't about downloading videos, it's about providing health services to people where they live, it's about providing education services, whether they be school students, university or TAFE students or other adults studying and being retrained. It's about making sure that businesses can compete by having access to markets not just domestically but globally as well. It is about Australia being able to compete with the world in our globalised world that we live in. Australia at the moment is running 59th when it comes to broadband. We are a G20 nation. We should be doing much, much better than that. And that's why we will set about repairing this Government's broken system of the National Broadband Network. Today we're announcing the upgrade for those who want higher speed broadband in up to one and a half million homes and businesses. This will cost $2.4 billion. But it will create 12,000 jobs. This is about people getting access to education services. It's about people getting access to health. It's about making sure that our businesses can compete. The Government simply isn't up to the task. And with their system, we know that they promised their copper-based network would cost $29 billion. And that cost went to $41, then to $49, then to $51 and now it stands at $57 billion. Belatedly, they conceded that they need to upgrade some of the network from copper up to fibre. If they had have done the right thing in the beginning, when I as Communications Minister made it very clear before the 2013 election that what we needed to do was do it right, do it once, do it with fibre. Had we done that, we wouldn't be in this predicament of having to repair. Now, the Government started a bit of repair. Labor will take it that step further by ensuring that 90 per cent of households and businesses have access to high-speed fibre. Michelle?

MICHELLE ROWLAND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Thanks, Anthony. When Labor initiated the National Broadband Network, it was about a vision for the future. It was about ensuring that Australia had the best. Because Australians deserve the best. Our businesses, our industries, our students all deserve the best. That is why Labor always said that we would do it once, do it right and do it with fibre. Now, when the Coalition were elected, they took a different path, as Anthony outlined. They said that they would build a network for $29 billion. That has virtually doubled in cost to today being $57 billion. And let's be clear. The pandemic has taught us many things. There are going to be new normals with how we study, how we work and how our industries adapt. And if we want A Future Made in Australia, the best future made in Australia, we are going to need the highest quality communications infrastructure. So as Anthony has outlined, today we announce two parts of an intrinsically linked policy framework for the NBN that we will be taking to the next election. The first is the repair job to ensure that we can expand the number of residents and small businesses who have access to fibre technology. And we will, for the foreseeable future, while we get this job done, keep the NBN in public hands. Because we want to ensure that the NBN has the certainty for this task and that costs are kept as low as possible for consumers. And let us examine the record of the Coalition in this area - the cost blowouts that were mentioned, every single assumption on technology being wrong. You cannot trust the Liberals when it comes to technology. They said that they would build a network for the future. And it is very clear that even a year ago, they undertook the single biggest humiliating, wasteful public policy backflip and announced that they will be reverting to fibre. Well, under an Albanese Labor Government, we will ensure that repair job is accelerated and that we have up to 1.5 million premises ensuring they have access to the highest quality broadband through fibre.

ALBANESE: Thanks very much.