National Broadband Promise Broken

Tassie suburbs wiped off the National Broadband Network map

National Broadband

MORE than 150,000 Tasmanian homes and businesses will miss out on fibre optic cable to their door because of Abbott Government changes to the National Broadband Network, a consumer group warns.

Suburbs to miss out on the premium NBN service include Sandy Bay, New Town, North Hobart, Mount Stuart, Mount Nelson and many parts of the Eastern Shore.

Large areas of Devonport, Burnie and Launceston would also have their service downgraded.

The Coalition Government’s less expensive but slower NBN alternative involves fibre optic to street cabinets, with copper wire connection to the premises.

Digital Tasmania spokesman Andrew Connor said new NBN maps showing only areas where the fibre optic rollout was already substantially advanced would be continued as originally planned.

“NBN Co’s online rollout maps have been stripped of plans to start fibre-to-the-premises construction within one to three years around the state,” he said.

NBN Co executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski confirmed maps were being updated on the NBN Co website.

“This will provide residents with clarity around those areas where (a) the physical building of the NBN has started or (b) is about to start (c) as well as locations where services are already available,” he said.

“The maps will be updated when further areas enter the building stage and the shape of the rollout becomes clearer following the completion of the Strategic Review into the NBN.”

An NBN spokesman said: “Every community in Tasmania will still receive the NBN. Nobody misses out.”

But Mr Connor said the changes were contrary to a promise made by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to honour existing NBN contracts.

In July 2012, NBN Co announced that it had contracted Visionstream for $300 million to complete a fibre-to-the-premises rollout to 200,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania by the end of 2015.

Mr Connor said the fibre-to-the-node alternative would create a digital divide between neighbouring streets and suburbs that would affect home prices.

About 36,000 premises had so far been passed by the fibre optic cable in Tasmania, with up to half of those connected.

He said fibre to the node would result in failures because of its reliance on the “decrepit” Telstra copper network.

“City fringes will be especially affected with many areas on the previous NBN plans to be completed by 2015 having current issues obtaining any reliable fixed broadband option,” he said.

Civil Contractors Federation chief executive Tony Cook said the change appeared to be a matter of the definition of existing contracts.

“The Federal Government has had a look at whether contracts had commenced and if the ground hasn’t been broken the rollout hasn’t really commenced,”he said.

Premier Lara Giddings said it appeared that up to 60 suburbs had been slashed from the NBN rollout.

“The Liberals’ promise to honour existing NBN contracts has been shown to be a complete lie,” Ms Giddings said.

“Comparing rollout maps on the NBN Co website from before and after the election it appears that whole suburbs and towns have been completely abandoned.”

Sourced from The Mercury

So as expected it didn’t take long for the pre election promise that all Tasmanian contracts will be honoured under the coalition government. It’s time for you to have your voice heard by signing the petition onย Save Tassie’s NBNย (Authorised by John Dowling, 2/63 Salamanca Pl, Hobart โ€ขย Australian Labor Party)

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What’s not being told?

AFL Tasmania boss calls in lawyers over funding hearings

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AFL TASMANIA has sought legal advice from AFL House as it awaits a formal request to appear before the public accounts committee examining state government funding of Tasmanian football.

The joint house committee is investigating how the $500,000 granted annually to AFL Tasmania by the State Government is spent.

AFL Tasmania chief executive Scott Wade had previously said his organisation would not front a public hearing but was happy to give evidence in private.

This earned the ire of committee chairman Windermere MLC Ivan Dean, who told the Mercury this week AFL Tasmania risked “extreme measures” if it failed to co-operate with hearings.

“It is not for Scott Wade to call the shots here, it is a parliamentary accounts committee inquiry and we will convene that in the way it should be done and as openly as much as is possible,” Mr Dean said.

AFL Tasmania chairman Dominic Baker was tight-lipped yesterday as the sport’s governing body waited for a request to front the committee.

“At this point we have not formally been advised that we will be required to appear and all our comments will be made at that point,” he said.

Asked if AFL Tasmania would be prepared to appear in front of a public hearing, Mr Baker said: “We are in consultation with the AFL’s legal team on what our requirements will be. We’ll follow their advice.”

It is understood AFL Tasmania believes the hearings have turned into a witch hunt, as witnesses with a personal gripe against the organisation have used it as an opportunity to publicly attack the body.

The committee will meet again on Wednesday where it will decide on calling more witnesses before summoning representatives from AFL Tasmania and the State Government’s Department of Sport and Recreation.

Sourced from The Mercury

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What's not being told?

AFL Tasmania boss calls in lawyers over funding hearings

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AFL TASMANIA has sought legal advice from AFL House as it awaits a formal request to appear before the public accounts committee examining state government funding of Tasmanian football.

The joint house committee is investigating how the $500,000 granted annually to AFL Tasmania by the State Government is spent.

AFL Tasmania chief executive Scott Wade had previously said his organisation would not front a public hearing but was happy to give evidence in private.

This earned the ire of committee chairman Windermere MLC Ivan Dean, who told the Mercury this week AFL Tasmania risked “extreme measures” if it failed to co-operate with hearings.

“It is not for Scott Wade to call the shots here, it is a parliamentary accounts committee inquiry and we will convene that in the way it should be done and as openly as much as is possible,” Mr Dean said.

AFL Tasmania chairman Dominic Baker was tight-lipped yesterday as the sport’s governing body waited for a request to front the committee.

“At this point we have not formally been advised that we will be required to appear and all our comments will be made at that point,” he said.

Asked if AFL Tasmania would be prepared to appear in front of a public hearing, Mr Baker said: “We are in consultation with the AFL’s legal team on what our requirements will be. We’ll follow their advice.”

It is understood AFL Tasmania believes the hearings have turned into a witch hunt, as witnesses with a personal gripe against the organisation have used it as an opportunity to publicly attack the body.

The committee will meet again on Wednesday where it will decide on calling more witnesses before summoning representatives from AFL Tasmania and the State Government’s Department of Sport and Recreation.

Sourced from The Mercury

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Yet Another Surprise? (Not)

Hydro deep in the red

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THE State Government will examine Hydro Tasmania’s debt level after it posted a $248 million loss last financial year, just days after talking up its operating profit.

Hydro was stung by taking on the Aurora Energy Tamar Valley power station, the acquisition of which wiped $335 million off its books in asset writedowns.

Hydro has debt levels of $866 million after the gas-powered station was transferred at a cost of $205 million from Aurora Energy to Hydro under government energy reforms.

The loss is distinct from last week’s before tax operating profit of $238 million, which was mainly a result of record sales of carbon-free electricity across Basslink.

Chairman David Crean said the loss was largely as a result of taking on AETV and its associated debt as well as the revaluation of hydro generation assets.

“The Government has committed to reviewing our capital structure in 2013-14 to assess the sustainability of Hydro Tasmania’s balance sheet following the transfer of debt from AETV,” Dr Crean said.

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The likely abolition of the carbon tax exacerbated the writedowns of hydro power stations.

“In recent years the value of generation assets increased as a result of the introduction of a price on carbon,” he said.

However, as a result of a range of factors, including a reduction in forecast energy and carbon prices, the value of generation assets was revised downward in 2013.

Liberal Energy spokesman Matthew Groom said it was a $330 million Government stuff-up and that the Government had tried to cover it up.

Deputy Premier Bryan Green said the revaluation of the Tamar Valley power station was a necessary adjustment under accounting standards to reflect the way it would be operated in future.

He said the loss did not affect Hydro Tasmania’s cash position and that the station was an important asset.

The Aurora Energy Tamar Valley power station has barely operated since early July, generating just 3.34 gigawatt hours compared with an average of 34 GWh a week under Aurora.

But Hydro chief executive Steve Davy said operation would resume when the current high rainfall inflows to hydro storages and rivers stopped.

Sourced from The Mercury

So what’s the real story here? Aurora makes a before tax profit, yet Hydro makes a loss. This clearly means that Hydro isn’t a competitive player! Just goes to show that even if the government does eventually open up the retail market for the general consumer there’s no guarantee that the retail costs will be lower if the local power generation company’s can’t even balance the books!

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It’s No Wonder (we’re feeling bitter)

Hydro Tasmania records historic before-tax profit of $238 million

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ENERGY giant Hydro Tasmania has recorded the largest profit in its history.

The company is crediting increased revenue from renewable exports, the carbon price and increased exports across the Bass Strait for a $238 million before-tax profit for the 2012-2013 financial year.

The result will bring an expected return to the Tasmanian Government during the 2013-2014 year of $263 million — including a dividend of $116 million.

During 2012-13, the business returned $125 million, including a dividend of $51 million.

Hydro Tasmania chair David Crean said Hydro Tasmania expected to return more than $450 million to the state in the next two years.

“This was a year in which the true value of the state’s 100-year investment in renewable energy was finally realised,” Dr Crean said.

“The performance is also notable for the increased proportion of our revenue and profit which comes from the mainland.

“At the same time we continue to be a major purchaser of Tasmanian goods and services with almost $125 million spent locally during the year.” Deputy Premier Bryan Green said today record returns from the Hydro to Tasmanian taxpayers demonstrated the importance of keeping the business in public hands.

“This shows the enormous value of Hydro Tasmania and the dividends it pays helps ensure the Government is able to invest in core services like hospitals, schools and police,” Mr Green said.

“That is why we have decided not to sell or break up Hydro Tasmania or privatise our network of poles and wires that deliver electricity to homes and businesses around the state.”

Key results

OPERATING profit before fair value movement and tax: $238 million

OPERATING cash flow : $262 million

CAPITAL works on hydro asset program : $58 million

TOTAL group revenue : $1578 million

RETURNS to government 2012/13 $125 million

EXPECTED returns to government 2013-14: $263 million

Sourced from The Mercury

Is it any wonder why when the topic of power price gets a mention most people just see red! This latest figure clearly shows that the Tasmanian Government is gouging as much money possible before the electricity market becomes open to commercial competition (if that still goes ahead) Tasmanians have been feeling the pinch for too long when it comes to electricity costs and this report simply rubs salt into those wounds.

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It's No Wonder (we're feeling bitter)

Hydro Tasmania records historic before-tax profit of $238 million

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ENERGY giant Hydro Tasmania has recorded the largest profit in its history.

The company is crediting increased revenue from renewable exports, the carbon price and increased exports across the Bass Strait for a $238 million before-tax profit for the 2012-2013 financial year.

The result will bring an expected return to the Tasmanian Government during the 2013-2014 year of $263 million — including a dividend of $116 million.

During 2012-13, the business returned $125 million, including a dividend of $51 million.

Hydro Tasmania chair David Crean said Hydro Tasmania expected to return more than $450 million to the state in the next two years.

“This was a year in which the true value of the state’s 100-year investment in renewable energy was finally realised,” Dr Crean said.

“The performance is also notable for the increased proportion of our revenue and profit which comes from the mainland.

“At the same time we continue to be a major purchaser of Tasmanian goods and services with almost $125 million spent locally during the year.” Deputy Premier Bryan Green said today record returns from the Hydro to Tasmanian taxpayers demonstrated the importance of keeping the business in public hands.

“This shows the enormous value of Hydro Tasmania and the dividends it pays helps ensure the Government is able to invest in core services like hospitals, schools and police,” Mr Green said.

“That is why we have decided not to sell or break up Hydro Tasmania or privatise our network of poles and wires that deliver electricity to homes and businesses around the state.”

Key results

OPERATING profit before fair value movement and tax: $238 million

OPERATING cash flow : $262 million

CAPITAL works on hydro asset program : $58 million

TOTAL group revenue : $1578 million

RETURNS to government 2012/13 $125 million

EXPECTED returns to government 2013-14: $263 million

Sourced from The Mercury

Is it any wonder why when the topic of power price gets a mention most people just see red! This latest figure clearly shows that the Tasmanian Government is gouging as much money possible before the electricity market becomes open to commercial competition (if that still goes ahead) Tasmanians have been feeling the pinch for too long when it comes to electricity costs and this report simply rubs salt into those wounds.

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Turnbull’s Tasmanian Power Play

Sparks fly over NBN as Visionstream urged to ‘come out of hiding’

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THE company overseeing the rollout of the NBN in Tasmania has been told to “come clean” on the status of the $300 million project.

Tasmania’s communications sector has urged Visionstream to “come out of hiding” amid concerns the NBN rollout has stalled.

The calls come as federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday accused Visionstream of stopping work on Tasmania’s NBN rollout.

NBN Co has also confirmed the pace of the rollout has slowed.

Visionstream has consistently refused to comment on concerns being raised about the NBN rollout in Tasmania.

Yesterday the company did not reply to calls from the Mercury.

TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said yesterday “trying to get information out of Visionstream is like trying to draw blood from a stone”.

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“There will be endless speculation about the status of the NBN rollout in Tasmania until Visionstream finally comes clean on what is going on.”

Mr Winter said there needed to be a detailed public statement made about the company’s progress and its ability to complete the $300 million contract it signed last year.

“We’ve got an interstate company who have won the right to deliver the most important infrastructure project of this generation, but who seem totally disengaged with the Tasmanian community.”

An NBN Co spokesman told the Mercury yesterday NBN Co was in discussions with Visionstream about rates and costs.

“As a result, the pace of the rollout in Tasmania has slowed,” the spokesman said.

“We’re working to resolve this issue.

“This is in addition to the impact that the halt to remediation work on pits and pipes due to asbestos has had on the rollout. Visionstream is contracted by Telstra to carry out this work.”

The spokesman said 32,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania now had access to the fibre. Visionstream had been contracted to deliver to 190,000 premises.

Mr Turnbull told ABC radio yesterday work had stopped on the NBN in Tasmania.

Nine out of 10 Tasmanians did not have access to the NBN, Mr Turnbull said.

“The bottom line is that there was not one thing I could do to stop the NBN rollout in Tasmania — because it has been stopped,” Mr Turnbull said.

“At this stage Visionstream is not building anything. There is a serious problem there that we have to address.”

Yesterday Mr Turnbull stood by the pre-election vow that all existing contracts would be honoured, but raised concerns about Visionstream’s work.

“Visionstream, it was reported, signed a contract in March 2012 worth $300 million to complete the entire fibre rollout in Tasmania covering about 200,000 premises. That’s what NBN Co announced and that was to be completed by 2015.

“As far as we can see no work has been done by Visionstream for at least two months — they have basically downed tools.

“I am not saying we would dishonour or breach any contract, but at the moment nothing is being done under the contract by the contractor.”

Sourced from The Mercury

Now let’s see how this new Liberal Government will sit back and ensure that Tasmanians will be denied the opportunity to get connected to the NBN via FTTH. Ok so I’m one of the lucky ones who has been able to get connected, but it looks like there’s a stalemate that the general public won’t be privy to the finer details. I just hope this contract is honoured (as Mr Turnbull claims)

Only time will tell… ๐Ÿ˜

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Turnbull's Tasmanian Power Play

Sparks fly over NBN as Visionstream urged to ‘come out of hiding’

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THE company overseeing the rollout of the NBN in Tasmania has been told to “come clean” on the status of the $300 million project.

Tasmania’s communications sector has urged Visionstream to “come out of hiding” amid concerns the NBN rollout has stalled.

The calls come as federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday accused Visionstream of stopping work on Tasmania’s NBN rollout.

NBN Co has also confirmed the pace of the rollout has slowed.

Visionstream has consistently refused to comment on concerns being raised about the NBN rollout in Tasmania.

Yesterday the company did not reply to calls from the Mercury.

TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said yesterday “trying to get information out of Visionstream is like trying to draw blood from a stone”.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

“There will be endless speculation about the status of the NBN rollout in Tasmania until Visionstream finally comes clean on what is going on.”

Mr Winter said there needed to be a detailed public statement made about the company’s progress and its ability to complete the $300 million contract it signed last year.

“We’ve got an interstate company who have won the right to deliver the most important infrastructure project of this generation, but who seem totally disengaged with the Tasmanian community.”

An NBN Co spokesman told the Mercury yesterday NBN Co was in discussions with Visionstream about rates and costs.

“As a result, the pace of the rollout in Tasmania has slowed,” the spokesman said.

“We’re working to resolve this issue.

“This is in addition to the impact that the halt to remediation work on pits and pipes due to asbestos has had on the rollout. Visionstream is contracted by Telstra to carry out this work.”

The spokesman said 32,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania now had access to the fibre. Visionstream had been contracted to deliver to 190,000 premises.

Mr Turnbull told ABC radio yesterday work had stopped on the NBN in Tasmania.

Nine out of 10 Tasmanians did not have access to the NBN, Mr Turnbull said.

“The bottom line is that there was not one thing I could do to stop the NBN rollout in Tasmania — because it has been stopped,” Mr Turnbull said.

“At this stage Visionstream is not building anything. There is a serious problem there that we have to address.”

Yesterday Mr Turnbull stood by the pre-election vow that all existing contracts would be honoured, but raised concerns about Visionstream’s work.

“Visionstream, it was reported, signed a contract in March 2012 worth $300 million to complete the entire fibre rollout in Tasmania covering about 200,000 premises. That’s what NBN Co announced and that was to be completed by 2015.

“As far as we can see no work has been done by Visionstream for at least two months — they have basically downed tools.

“I am not saying we would dishonour or breach any contract, but at the moment nothing is being done under the contract by the contractor.”

Sourced from The Mercury

Now let’s see how this new Liberal Government will sit back and ensure that Tasmanians will be denied the opportunity to get connected to the NBN via FTTH. Ok so I’m one of the lucky ones who has been able to get connected, but it looks like there’s a stalemate that the general public won’t be privy to the finer details. I just hope this contract is honoured (as Mr Turnbull claims)

Only time will tell… ๐Ÿ˜

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Tasmanian NBN rollout in doubt

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Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims there has been little progress on the NBN rollout in Tasmania.

Before last month’s election, the Coalition promised to honour all existing NBN contracts in Tasmania if it won government.

Mr Turnbull told ABC Local Radio he could see little or no progress on the NBN rollout.

“All I can say is that the last figures we saw from NBN Co showed that less than 20,000 premises had been passed with fibre in Tasmania so that’s less than 10 per cent of the total rollout,” the minister said.

“So obviously competing it by 2015 looks pretty optimistic.

“I’m not suggesting that we would dishonour or breach any contract, but at the moment nothing is being done under the contract by the contractor.”

The body representing contractors on the project says the project has not stalled.

The Civil Contractors Federation’s Trevor Cook says he has seen Visionstream staff in the field but he can not comment on whether any contracts have been breached.

“I’m not a lawyer, I don’t have a contract in front of me, I’ve got no idea what their contract is,” he said.

“I myself have personally seen the contractor out there toiling away…remediating Telstra asbestos pits, scoping.”

Visionstream has declined to comment.

The Minister says a strategic review of the NBN will address whether the Tasmanian-based NBN board is still required.

The review is expected to be finalised by early December.

Sourced from ABC News

So as one expected, this Liberal government will sit idly by and allow this NBN rollout fail. Should this happen, many Tasmanian’s will be left behind in the technology darkages.

Now it’s time to make that list of pre-election promises vs policies delivered

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Greedy Politicians want more!

Calm urged on pollie pay issue

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TASMANIANS should have a good look at the issues before deciding if they think politicians earn too much, according to the head of the tribunal looking into their pay packets.

The public is being asked to consider the workload of politicians before making a decision. And to also consider whether modern-day parliamentarians have an added workload because of new issues such as social media.

The Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Tribunal has released an issues paper to help people make an educated decision on how politicians should be paid and their level of entitlements.

Tribunal chair Tim Abey said there was a feeling in the community politicians were paid too much.

“It is a commonly held view,” Mr Abey said yesterday. “That is a sentiment expressed by some people but not the majority of the community.”

He said the public was concerned when politicians were setting their own wages.

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“It is a huge concern [for the public], with some justification,” Mr Abey said.

“Particularly when you look at the past pay freezes and then 40 per cent pay rises that we have seen in the past.”

He urged people to take a good look at the issues paper before forming opinions and presenting a submission.

“The paper provides a historical perspective together with comparisons with salaries applicable to members of the Commonwealth and interstate parliaments, and to senior administrators in the state service,” Mr Abey said.

As of July 1, the base salary for a Tasmanian politician is $118,466. Politicians also receive a range of additional entitlements depending on their electorate and their responsibilities.

Mr Abey said the paper identified issues he expected to come into consideration.

These issues include the level of comparability between state, federal and interstate MPs in terms of work value, if there was a case for a “catch up” for local MPs, what impact has social media had on the work of an MP and to what extent should Tasmanian Government wages policy be taken into account.

“During November the tribunal intends to conduct hearings around the state in order that we may hear first-hand the views of the public on this often controversial subject,” Mr Abey said.

Greens leader Nick McKim said yesterday his party would look at the paper and make a submission, but at this stage it supported a pay freeze.

Premier Lara Giddings said “our submission to the Industrial Commission will be to formally tie pay rates for politicians to the public service”.

Opposition deputy leader Jeremy Rockliff said “we supported the referral to the independent tribunal and we will await their recommendation”.

Details on how to lodge submissions and the issues paper are available at www.tic.tas.gov.au

Sourced from The Mercury

I’m totally gob smacked that this is even being discussed, as it was only a few years ago that politicians claimed that there was no funds to be used for this and opted to cap their pay. Now there’s a debate on weather or not the lower house should be returned to 35 seat capacity. In my opinion if politicians want a pay rise, then they can’t have the lower house restored. After all where’s the money going to come from? Oh that’s right, the TAX payer!

At this stage I’m sure that every Tasmanian is considering a career change to “Politician” so that they can afford to live in this state! ๐Ÿ˜

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