Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Minister for Communications

Minister for the Arts

Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Launch of FlexTube Cable

6 April 2016

E & OE

FIFIELD:

I have the opportunity to be here with two very good mates of mine, Minister Anthony Roberts who is such a ceaseless advocate for industry in New South Wales. And my other good mate, Bronwyn Bishop, the local member who is such a relentless advocate for her community. Wonderful to be here with both of you. Can I also acknowledge Valerio Battista, the global CEO of the Prysmian, Frederick Persson the Australian and New Zealand Chief Executive.

But most particularly of all, can I acknowledge the staff of Prysmian. Be in no doubt that what you do here, each and every day, does make a contribution to the quality of life that we have in Australia. What you do helps to connect families. What you do helps to connect businesses with consumers. So when you get up each day, know that you're doing something that is incredibly valuable to something that is incredibly important for NSW and Australians.

Now I've been trying to work out what the colour code is here today. What pink jackets mean. And what yellow jackets mean. So I might ask if the staff here can put their hands up. That might give me an indication of what the jackets mean. Okay so I think its yellow you work here. Pink we're visitors. So thank you so much for having all of us.

Prysmian we all know is an exemplar of innovation. But Prysmian did have a nervous moment though fairly recently. When I was chatting to some of the senior management here they said that nbn recently handed out their supplier of the year awards. And when they were going through the various categories, the equivalent of best supporting actor. There was no award for Prysmian. When they were announcing the award, the equivalent of best director. There was no award for Prysmian. Until the final award, the equivalent of the best actor, and the winner of the awards, for best supplier of the year it was Prysmian. So that nervousness in the early part of the awards, that was just the delayed gratification. As Prysmian's great work was recognised. So congratulations to you for that.

Prysmian is an innovator not just in the work that you do for nbn but also in the work that you do beyond nbn for other customers. You will have heard, I think every federal minister and every NSW minister talk about the importance of flexibility and agility and the importance of being innovative. Now that obviously is something that is important for industry and we see that in the form of Prysmian. But it is also important to expect agility and innovation from your government. We've seen that in the New South Wales Government and we hope we've demonstrated that federally through our approach to the National Broadband Network where we're pursuing what we call a multi-technology mix. Which means the mandate for the nbn is to pursue the technology that will see the nbn rolled out fastest and at lowest cost. As a result of taking that approach, we are going to see the nbn roll out six to eight years sooner than would otherwise be the case and at a reduced cost of about $30 billion. So Prysmian is very much playing their part in that.

Now Anthony Roberts was right, I can't not take the opportunity of giving just a very brief update on where the nbn is at. So particularly to the staff here, you have a handle on the work that you are doing and where that's leading to. At the moment, nation-wide, there are about 1.9 million premises who are ready for service. There's about 870,000 premises who have an active connection. And as Anthony said in New South Wales we're pretty close to having 600,000 premises that are ready for service and about 260,000 people who have hooked up to the nbn. And by the end of June this year, we aim to have about 2.6 million premises that are ready for service. So the nbn, despite what you might read in the paper, on occasions, is on track. Is going well. Has met or exceeded every one of its targets over the last seven quarters. One of the best predictors of future behaviour is past behaviour. So we can have confidence that the nbn is rolling out well. Thank you so much for having me here today, for letting me be a part of what is an important event in the life of Prysmian. Congratulations to everyone who works here for all that you have achieved and for all that you will achieve. Thanks very much

[end]

Media contact: Justine Sywak | 0448 448 487 |Justine.sywak@communications.gov.au

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