Paul Fletcher MP

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Wednesday, 09 January 2013 00:00

AFR: 4G sale is just a greedy grab

The Rudd-Gillard government has badly mismanaged fixed broadband policy: after five years and several billion dollars oftaxpayers' money, as at October 2012 fewer than 7000 customers took a fibre service on the national broadband network. It is now taking an equally inept approach with mobile broadband services, with a seriously flawed approach to allocating a big slice of radio frequency spectrum. In 2013 a key piece of spectrum the 700 megahertz (MHz) band is to be allocated by auction.

IN April 2009, the Rudd-Gillard government announced its plans to build the National Broadband Network. The fibre optic network is supposed to pass 12.2 million premises around Australia by 2021. More than three years later, as at June 30, 2012, it had passed just 38,914 less than one third of 1 per cent towards the finish line.

WHEN the Liberal member for Bradfield, Paul Fletcher, and his group of Coalition MPs were preparing their discussion paper on ways to improve online safety for children - released by Tony Abbott on Friday- they came upon a Perth school principal who'd had to sort out a Facebook dispute between two six-year-olds.

TEACHERS have been forced to break up Facebook fights between kids as young as six while some teenagers are secretly running two Facebook accounts so they can keep one hidden from mum and dad. And parents say the explosion
in the number of internet enabled devices in the home makes them feel like they are running the IT department of a small company, according to research by the federal Opposition.

If you want proof of how badly the Gillard Government is managing Australia’s broadband rollout, you just need to look across the Tasman.

In November 2008, the Key government came to power in New Zealand promising to spend NZD 1.5 billion on a new broadband network (on current exchange rates, around AUD 1.2 billion.)  

JULIA Gillard's speech to the Energy Policy Institute last week sought to blame increasing electricity prices on greedy state governments and hence shift blame away from the carbon tax. It was an odd argument for her to make. For one thing, the carbon tax is specifically designed to increase electricity prices, by making carbon-intensive activities (such as producing electricity from coal-fired generators) relatively more expensive.

The housing affordability problem has stimulated many policy responses over the years, as the cost of gaining a toehold on the property ladder has risen higher and higher.

From the 1960s until the 1980s, real (that is, inflation adjusted) house prices closely tracked growth in real average weekly earnings, according to a recent paper by the Sydney University economist Judith Yates.

Thursday, 09 August 2012 00:00

AFR: NBN hoplelessly behind targets

When Stephen Conroy and Kevin Rudd announced the NBN in April 2009, they promised that it would be “operated on a commercial basis… and involve private sector investment.”  

In mid-2010 Conroy abandoned the commitment to private sector investment – after receiving advice in the McKinsey-KPMG Implementation Study that private investors would regard the project as too risky and hence taxpayers would need to provide one hundred per cent of the equity.

Sunday, 22 July 2012 10:00

AFR: ACCC fails to push for competition

You expect a competition regulator to make decisions that promote competition. Last week the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission did the opposite, approving a deal between Optus and the government-owned NBN Co, under which NBN Co will pay Optus $100 million and Optus will cease serving customers on its cable broadband network.

Sunday, 20 May 2012 10:00

AFR: Unions and the Super Conundrum

The Fair Work Australia report into the Health Services Union reveals a union culture in which normal standards of governance are largely ignored. But it is not just union members whoare affected. There is a direct link between unions and the superannuation savings of millions of Australians. The deeply flawed governance arrangements put in place by the Keating government allow union officials a privileged place in running super funds.

Authorised by Paul Fletcher MP, Level 2, 280 Pacific Highway Lindfield NSW 2070.

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