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Doorstop, Miranda, NSW

TREASURER: 
Well, welcome to the Shire everybody. It's great to have  you here. It's particularly great to be here with Rebecca and thank you for  allowing us to be standing on your front lawn this afternoon and also a big  welcome to Mitch Fifield, my colleague, the Minister for Communications. And  Peter from the NBN. It's been a week in the Shire. We had the Prime Minister  down for the Sharks, Roosters game. Not the result I was looking for, but it  was the one he was. On top of that, the Premier was down here last night for  all of those celebrating a Greek Easter this weekend. It's been a tremendous  celebration here. We have a large community here and it was wonderful to have  the Premier joining us. And today we have the Minister for Communications with  us here in the Shire to make an important announcement. I'm going to hand it  over for Mitch to do that and then I'll make a few other comments. But Rebecca,  thank you very much for the opportunity to come and join with you here today.  We'll try and keep the noise down so we don't wake the bub up and I know you've  been participating in a great trial with the NBN which has really made a  difference for you and we're looking forward to that being extended right  across our local community here and communities right across the country. So  I'll leave it to you Mitch.

FIFIELD: Thanks Scott. It's great to be here with Scott in the  electorate of Cook. Thank you also to Rebecca for having us at your place and  good to be here with Pete Ryan from NBN.  
We're here today to talk about the NBN but also an  important announcement for the rollout of the NBN.   When we came into office in 2013, the NBN was essentially a  failed project. Contractors had downed tools in four states. And despite the  best part of $6 billion having been spent only 51,000 premises nationwide were  connected. We gave the NBN a new mandate which was to use the technology that  makes sense in an area to see the NBN rolled out fastest and at lowest cost. As  a result of that, more than half the nation now have the NBN and it'll be  completed by 2020, which is a good six to eight years sooner than would have  been the case under our predecessors and at $30 billion less cost.  
Because of this approach, we're able to announce some great  news for the electorate of Cook and also for the nation. Today we're launching  a new NBN technology, Fibre to the Curb, which will be available to a million  households nationwide and a lot of households in the electorate of Cook.  
Fibre to the Curb brings fibre closer to the premise, to  the end of the driveway and enables 100 megabit per second speeds and an  upgrade path to gigabit per second speeds. This is really good news. It's a  further development in the evolution of the NBN. With any project of this  nature as you're building you'll always find different ways of rolling out the  NBN and that's exactly what we're doing here now.  
If we had persisted with the approach of our predecessors  we wouldn't actually be standing here today. We'd be standing here in six or  eight years time and what we'd be looking at is Rebecca's front yard dug up and  we would see a trench heading towards a budget black hole.  
Because of the approach that we're following, the NBN will  be completed on time, on budget, Australians will have access to it far sooner  than otherwise would have been the case. And importantly, their internet bills  will be $500 a year less than would have been the case under our predecessor's  approach. So Rebecca, thank you again for having us here today.

TREASURER:
Right, well thanks very much Mitch. Rebecca you've had this  in as a trial now for about the last month, is that right?

REBECCA: 
Yep.

TREASURER
And what have you  noticed with the difference?

REBECCA: 
The speed is tremendous. We started off at 10 megabits a  second and now we're on 80.

TREASURER
Fantastic.

REBECCA:
We have two iPads and two mobile phones plus Netflix on in  our lounge room and we don't lose speed.

TREASURER
That's fantastic.

FIFIELD: 
And your front yard hasn't had to be dug up, which is  good.

REBECCA: 
Not at all.

TREASURER
The playing field has  been meticulously maintained in front of us here in yet another Shire front  yard. And it's also great for those involved in home-based businesses. We get a  lot of people in home-based businesses in our community and whether that is  starting up businesses or running actually quite significant businesses out of  homes particularly for Mums as well, we've been doing that. But not just Mums,  and so getting this in place and having this option here in the Shire is absolutely  tremendous, so well done Mitch. So this is just another practical example of  the Government just solving problems and getting on with it and delivering it.  That's what we're doing with the NBN. That's what we're doing with creating  jobs. That's what we're doing in supporting technology and this is wonderful  Australian technology we're seeing here in this part of the rollout and we're  very excited about that happening right across the country.  
Peter, did you want to offer anything as well in terms of  the… you've got a very exciting little black box there. Tell us a bit about  it.

PETER RYAN: 
Thank you Scott. This is the technology made here by a  company called NetComm, Australian-made company which is able to make that  technology possible. It is a breakthrough for us because it allows us to  deliver a lot of benefits of fibre to the premise without the inconvenience of  digging up front lawns of Australians which allows us to deploy the NBN faster  and at lower cost and it allows us to complete the network by 2020.

JOURNALIST: 
Can you talk us through some of the speeds you've been  getting? Some of the testing you've been doing? What are you seeing, what's  best case scenario here?

PETER RYAN: 
Well we are seeing speeds of over 100 megabits per second  download and over 40 megabits per second upload. We know that this technology  has a fabulous upgrade path that allows us to get to the gigabit speeds that  Mitch mentioned earlier.

JOURNALIST: 
When will G.Fast be launched?

PETER RYAN: 
So G.Fast is a copper acceleration technology, which allows  us to drive even higher speeds across, economically (inaudible), we're  expecting to launch that later this year.

JOURNALIST: 
Minister and Treasurer, you're launching a new access tech,  just days after the ACCC has just urged the government to get ready for a  breakup of the network maybe impacting some of the technologies, what's the  current position on that from Government?

FIFIELD: 
Well our overwhelming focus is on completing the rollout of  the NBN, which we will achieve by 2020. It's our position as it was the  position of our predecessors that ultimately the NBN is best not in  government's hands, but in the hands of the private sector. Now, how that will  happen is to be determined. It's legislated that there's required that there be  a productivity commission inquiry before those decisions can be made.

JOURNALIST: 
And you're happy with either way at this stage?

FIFIELD: 
We're focusing on getting the job done. Getting the NBN to  every premise in Australia. That's what we're doing. And there's a process to  follow, once that's concluded. To look at what the ownership arrangements will  be for the NBN.

JOURNALIST: 
Will the government consider rolling out this technology  beyond the 1 million households promised?

FIFIELD: 
Well essentially all of the NBN that isn't already  constructed is in planning or design. At the moment, the best estimate is that  it will be about 1 million premises nationwide will benefit from this  technology, but that could change at the margins. But as I said before, the mandate  to NBN is that they use the technology that makes sense in a given area. To  rollout the NBN at lowest cost, and as fast as possible. This is further  evidence of that. And that choice remains there for the NBN.

JOURNALIST: 
How are you going to decide who gets this, is this on a  suburb-by-suburb basis? Who gets the highest speeds?

FIFIELD: 
Well I think it's important to recognise that all of the  NBN, regardless of the technology choice or type, is high speed. But regardless  of the technology type on a fixed-line network, there is the capacity to get  speeds of up to 100 mps. Obviously, on fibre to the node, there are some  limitations depending on how far you are away from the node. But our guarantee  is that everyone will get 25 mps and 90 per cent of the fixed-line network will  get 50 mps and 72 per cent of the network will get 100 mps plus speeds. But  what determines who gets fibre to the curb is the cost. And NBN look area by  area at what makes sense in a given area in terms of cost and logistics to rollout  the NBN as fast as possible.

TREASURER: 
Because what makes the NBN work in the way we're doing is  that we're focused on the engineering of the NBN, we've also focused on the  economics of the NBN. And you've got to make these things work economically. And  the economics proves the case for the rollout here. In Cook itself some 50,000  households will have the benefit of this technology and that's welcomed. And in  other parts of the country they will be getting the benefits of alternative  technology.

JOURNALIST: 
Pete do you have a read at the moment about how many of  those million FTTC premises might benefit from G.Fast?

PETER RYAN: 
No not yet, it's part of the analysis that we're  undertaking at the moment in preparation for the launch of G.Fast later this  year.

JOURNALIST: 
G.Fast hasn't been rolled out in that many countries so  far, the UK I know, I think it's in South Korea, could Australia be a leader in  adopting G.Fast technology?

PETER RYAN: 
Could be as we are a world leader in the deployment of Fibre  to the Curb. I think we're one of the – whilst most other countries around the  world have deployed small rollouts of the fibre to the curb, I think we're one  of the only countries in the world to undertake a scaled rollout of this size.

JOURNALIST: 
One for Minister Fifield, we're looking at a rollout by  2020, are you confident that the internet speeds will meet the expectation and  standards Australians have by then or will it be too old, the technology, by  then.

FIFIELD: 
I'm confident that the NBN will meet the speed needs that  people have in the years ahead. But obviously there is no communications  network that is set in stone. All communications networks need upgrade  paths over time and that will be something that NBN will pursue.

JOURNALIST: 
Treasurer do your foresee having to write-down the NBN?

TREASURER: 
No and the ACCC's further report on this I think addressed  that issue very plainly. We said at the time that that was not a view that we  had held was necessary, it was not our advice and it's still no longer the  issue. We continue to maintain I think a very sound commercial footing for the  NBN and the assumptions it's based on. Because it has to pass muster on those  issues when it comes to identifying and defining the nature of debt and other  the finances going into the project. So these aren't arbitrary decisions being  made. They are subject to standards on the accounts and them meeting the  standards and we expect they will.

JOURNALIST: 
Treasurer and Minister, just on another issue…

TREASURER: 
Are there anymore questions on the NBN…

JOURNALIST: 
Just one last question on the NBN, this rollout being fibre  to the curb is only in new, existing customers, not those who already have the  NBN. So for those that have had problems with the speed and so forth of the  NBN, this rollout your announcing today won't help to solve those problems  so what's your answer to that for people who have had speed issues?

FIFIELD: 
Well the great news is that whereas a  little while ago at peak times there was congestion for about 5 hours  a week. NBN has got that down to about 12 minutes per week. So those speed  issues have been addressed through a combination of measures. NBN have reduced  their pricing to retailers so retailers can purchase the capacity they need to  service their customers. Also, NBN has been working really closely with the  retailers to identify other issues that consumers have been experiencing and  those are being progressively resolved. But I think overall the  experience people are having overwhelmingly today is a good one.

TREASURER: 
Well thanks Peter and Rebecca for having us here.

FIFIELD: 
Thanks Rebecca.

JOURNALIST: 
Do you believe Tony Abbott when he says he doesn't want to  take responsibility for the government?

TREASURER:
I think all members of the Government want to see the  Government performing well and to be returned at the next election, because the  alternative is Bill Shorten which means higher taxes, a weaker economy and  Australians paying more for everything. Whether it's electricity, or whether  it's their taxes, or right across the board. 
Under Labor Australians  will pay more. And a big part of that is the higher taxes, and the regulatory  costs they are going to put on small business. We're for lower taxes, he's for higher  taxes, we're for backing business to create jobs, he's for attacking businesses  to take away jobs. These stark choices I think are very, very real. All  Liberals, all Nationals, whether they are supporters, or members of Parliament  or members of the Party know very clearly what the risk of Labor is to jobs and  growth in our economy.

I was just down the road  here the other day talking to retirees. You know what they're worried about?  Bill Shorten is coming to take their tax refund. He is just going to swipe it.  He is just going to take it away. Their great sin was they bought shares and  they provided for their retirement. Bill Shorten is going to come and steal  their tax refund. That's not an outcome Australians want. That's why  the Party will continue to work strongly together with our coalition  partners in the National Party to ensure that we continue to create jobs.

JOURNALIST: 
Do you think Mr Abbott  is being a bit provocative planning this Pollie Pedal route through the La  Trobe Valley while there are discussions going on…

TREASURER: 
Pollie Pedal has been  held every year, I think Tony is to be commended for the work that he has done  on Pollie Pedal. He is to be commended for working with carers and other  organisations, which I mean when Mitch and I, I was in social services and you  were in aged care, and disability services, and looking after carers at that  time, I remember that was a big part of how we actually engaged with that  sector. I know others are going to comment on this but the Government is just  going to be focused on what we're doing, and what we're doing is creating a  stronger economy, with lower taxes and more jobs. That's what we're focused on,  others will be maybe focused on other things. We're focused on getting  affordable, reliable electricity prices that are lower. That are lower. That's  what we are delivering, what we're looking to deliver with the plans we've got  in place.

JOURNALIST: 
Is the Party completely  united given that we are on the eve of the 30th consecutive Newspoll...

TREASURER: 
Of course we are. Let me  tell you why. Over the last few years what we've seen is unemployment come  down, jobs go up, business confidence go up, consumer confidence go up, the  deficit halve, we've seen through Mitch and Mathias Cormann and our other team  in the Senate, we've seen legislation passing the parliament, which we had some  real issues with before. We're making enormous progress, the NBN is being  rolled out, 1100 jobs being created every day. I'll have a lot more to say about  many of these issues in the Budget in the weeks to come when we hand it down on  the 8th of May.  So, the Government is making progress, we're delivering.  Others will engage in the white noise of commentary. The Government will focus  on the real work of just continuing to get stuff done.

JOURNALIST: 
Treasurer, do you think  too much is being made of this Newspoll?

TREASURER: 
Of course it is. Of  course it is. People are focused on how much they are paying for electricity,  their jobs, their NBN connection, they're focused on how they're looking into  the future and what it is going to mean for their families. That's what they are  focused on. Others are focused in Canberra in a bubble on this issue. I was  with the Prime Minister on Friday night. People weren't coming and talking to  us about Newspolls. They were actually talking about the fact the Sharks were  down at half time, hoping they would turn around. That's where people are  focused on, they're not focused on this stuff that others, I think, get a bit  worked up about. Monday, whatever the result is, will come and go, like every  poll. And guess what the Government will keep doing? The work we've been  elected to do.

FIFIELD: 
Just to echo what Scott  said, we're focused on transacting to people's business. Wearing my Deputy  Senate Leader hat, since last election we've got 200 bills through the  Parliament. We have re-established the ABCC, put the Registered Organisations  Commission in place, we've reformed the operation of the Human Rights  Commission, we've outlawed corrupting benefits, we've reformed the childcare  system, we've reformed the school education system, we've legislation i think  it's $34 billion worth of the savings since the last election and the Budget is  on track for surplus in 2020/21. We're focused on the people's business, we're  getting it done.

JOURNALIST: 
Can I ask you both, do  you fully support Malcolm Turnbull as leader of the Liberal Party?

FIFIELD: 
Of course we do.

TREASURER: 
Of course we do, and  I'll tell you what, the alternative, the only alternative is Bill Shorten. So  Australians have got a clear choice and I think as we get closer to the next  election, next year, people will look carefully. They'll look carefully at the  alternatives. Higher taxes, higher electricity prices, slower growth, less  confidence amongst business because they're under constant attack, particularly  small and medium sized businesses from Bill Shorten. Or under Malcolm Turnbull,  the continued path of getting the Budget in order, growing the economy, backing  and supporting small business to create jobs, continuing to reduce the deficit  and take us back into balance in 2021. Continuing to do the practical work of  rolling out the NBN, guaranteeing the essentials that Australians rely on. This  is very important. They depend on a strong economy for more jobs, they depend  on a strong economy for services like Medicare, for the Pharmaceutical Benefit  Scheme, and the record funding we've got for schools, in particular for  public schools, and the health and hospitals agreement that we are putting  in place now with all the states and territories for the next five years. And  keeping Australians safe. I mean, if you want to see the boats come back, if  you want to see Australia's security threatened by a weak Labor Government  again. We saw it happen before, we saw it happen before. That's the choice and  I think as the day gets closer, Australians will focus on the one that matters  and that's their choice at the next election.

[ends]