In late December last year, Victoria's new Liberal technology minister Gordon Rich-Phillips confirmed the state would not follow Tasmania in pursuing an 'opt-out' model for the NBN. The move will force property owners to actively choose to receive fibre infrastructure in the state when the rollout hits their neighbourhood.
In addition, it is not clear whether the new Liberal State Government in NSW will follow Victoria in choosing a so-called 'opt-in' policy, with several requests for clarification on the matter having not produced a concrete position from the government over the past few months since the recent state election.
Speaking at the CeBIT trade fair and conference series in Sydney this week, Bartlett, who left the Tasmanian parliament several weeks ago, said Victoria's decision was 'very short-sighted, frankly'.
'Every state needs to start taking this seriously,' the politician said, arguing that Australia needed to 'take the politics out of the NBN', despite the 'patchwork of liberal and labor states' which Australia was currently experiencing.
A spokesperson for Victorian Technology Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said: 'The Victorian Government's position has not changed with respect to an opt-in approach. We have not received an approach from either the Federal Government nor NBN Co regarding opt-out legislation.'
Bartlett argued that rural and regional areas in Australia were currently facing a variety of obstacles, with 'everything against the regions' standing in the way of their economic renewal. The rollout of fast broadband, he said, offered the 'brightest hope and light' for regional renewal to occur, and so consequently, every state government should be engaged in the NBN process.