Opposition promises ‘more reliable NBN’, with zero detail

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Opposition promises ‘more reliable NBN’, with zero detail

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has delivered his Budget reply speech and, like the actual Budget, there’s not a lot for the technology industry to get excited about.

Innovation wasn’t mentioned in the speech, and technology scored but a fleeting mention in remarks about “new investments in eliminating mobile blackspots; and a more reliable NBN for small business”. No detail was offered in either case.

The NBN remarks seem to reference a June 2018 statement promising “clear standards for connection timeframes, fault repair timeframes, and missed technician appointments”, with fines for missing targets. The blackspots remark seeming refers to another June 2018 statement that called for “more co-investment, more co-location and more sharing of assets” to build more mobile infrastructure in the regions.

Shorten did offer “an extra 20 percent tax break for every business that invests in productivity-boosting equipment above $20,000, whether that's a big manufacturer buying new technology or a tradie getting a new ute.” As we noted in our coverage of the actual Budget, such schemes could be a way to get smaller businesses upgrading their IT too.

There was also news on the industrial relations front, in the form of a promise to “stop companies using sham contracts and dodgy labour-hire arrangements to cut people's pay”. With plenty of IT work done on contract, that may signal some new regulations.

The speech also featured millions in new funding for TAFE, albeit focussed on apprenticeships. But as TAFE runs plenty of technology courses, there may be something in it for employers too.

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