Labor forms minority government

By Liz Tay, Ry Crozier, Negar Salek on Sep 7, 2010 3:12 PM
Filed under Communications

Gillard touts wholesale price uniformity for the NBN as a “transformation” in Australian telecommunications.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised uniform wholesale prices for regional and metropolitan service providers under the National Broadband Network.  

In her first press conference as the country's newly-elected Prime Minister, Julia Gillard said her government would ensure that the NBN offered the "benefit of uniform wholesale prices."

"The cost has fallen on regional Australia ever since we've had the telephone. What we're saying is that the wholesale price for your broadband would be the same [under the NBN].

"What a transformation...we're equalising the cost of telecommunications for this country," she said.

Furthermore, Gillard said that the Labor Government  would ensure that regional Australia gets priority for the roll-out of the NBN. 

"What we are saying is that with the agreements with the independents we want that to be priority, the rollout in regional Australia."

Earlier, Independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor backed a Labor government allowing Labor to form a minority government with 76 seats over the Coalition's 74, 17 days after the federal election. 

Both Independent MPs said the national broadband network was critical to their decision.

Windsor said there was an "enormous opportunity for regional Australians to engage with infrastructure of this century".

"To pass up that opportunity and miss the opportunity for a million people of country Australia ... I thought [it] was too good an opportunity to miss," Windsor said.

"My advisers in relation to broadband technology - of which I have many - suggest you do it once, do it right and you do it with fibre.

"That has been one of the major influences I've had in making a decision."

Oakeshott also cited "the broadband issue [as] a key sticking point", as well as the computers in schools program.

Meanwhile, Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce today rejected the NBN's cost to taxpayers "for a technology that could be superseded." 

"Are we going to happily wander to China and the Middle East and put this on the nation's credit card?"  Joyce asked on the ABC 24.

Earlier, Independent MP Bob Katter sided with the Coalition.

 
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