28 June 2018

I was very interested to learn that in March this year, with much fanfare, we had the announcement by the federal and the New South Wales Liberal governments of a Western Sydney City Deal.

I've heard a bit about these city deals, and I was very interested to learn what this would end up delivering. The media release said:

The City Deal is a 20 year agreement between the three levels of government to deliver a once-in-a-generation transformation of Sydney’s outer west  creating the 'Western Parkland City'.

So they're giving the area a new name and they're talking about 'six priority domains', including 'Connectivity—connecting the Western City by world-class digital infrastructure'.

As I read through this I learnt that part of it includes trialling 5G mobile technology. It goes on to talk about the importance of 5G and includes a statement that the New South Wales government and local governments will develop a 5G strategy for the 'Western Parkland City', which includes partnering with a carrier to deliver a trial of 5G technology. How exciting is this? But, as we learnt soon thereafter, unfortunately, Western Sydney apparently doesn't include Blacktown, according to this government and the New South Wales Liberal government. So I'm not surprised that the front page of my local paper was: 'Anger at 5G snub.' Indeed it is a snub. I quote:

Blacktown will be bypassed as trials of a revolutionary new wireless technology will be held in Western Sydney.

Local government areas included in the Western Sydney City Deal are set to have widespread access to 5G before anyone else in Australia.

But it doesn't include Blacktown. It's news to me and news to my constituents that they're not part of Blacktown.

It's fine if this government again seeks to pursue an agenda of not understanding the needs of Western Sydney. That follows in the footsteps of the current Prime Minister, who, when he was communications minister and also shadow communications minister, did not understand at all the needs of Western Sydney when it came to having high-speed broadband. Just as my local paper described, and as I predicted, Blacktown has become 'an NBN town divided'. We've got the Prime Minister, who at the time, before the 2013 election, said:

Speeds of fibre to the node is more than sufficient whether it's movie downloads or e-commerce.

The reality is that three in four fibre-to-the-node customers cannot get access to top speeds. The bad judgement of this Prime Minister is on display in his past portfolio of communications and currently with 5G technology bypassing Blacktown. It is an absolute disgrace.