Monday, 17 December 2018 10:16

Labor asks why comms policy roadmap missing after two years

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Michelle Rowland: "Australia cannot afford another term of this dysfunctional government and do-nothing minister." Michelle Rowland: "Australia cannot afford another term of this dysfunctional government and do-nothing minister." Supplied

Labor Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has taken another potshot at her Coalition counterpart, Mitch Fifield, questioning why the communication policy roadmap touted by the government in 2016 is still under development.

In a statement on Friday, Rowland said a year prior, Labor had warned that communications policy was on a road to nowhere under the government because a policy roadmap, announced in 2016, had not been consulted on, or released, by late 2017.

And, she added, "In late 2018, there’s still no sign of it."

Rowland referred to a response to a question under notice, which was released on Thursday, wherein it was said that Fifield had released a roadmap in order "to present the government’s priorities and achievements in relation to the communications sector” and that “the roadmap is under development”.

She said: "Little wonder the roadmap continues to languish when the ‘priorities and achievements’ of this dysfunctional Liberal-National Government include:

  • "building a second-rate copper NBN that costs more and does less;
  • "missing deadline after deadline for delivery of the spectrum reforms;
  • "stalling the passage of an omnibus deregulation Bill that has been hanging around for years;
  • "re-announcing an acronym to describe existing safeguards for the delivery of phone and broadband services; and
  • "failing to overhaul the regulatory framework for media and communications, which successive chairs of the ACMA have referred to as ‘strained’, broken’ and ‘irrelevant’."

Rowland said the government, in its sixth year in office, had failed "to articulate a genuine vision, strategy or roadmap to address challenges and harness opportunities in the communications sector".

"As other countries implement and refine plans to reap the benefits of communications-based transformation, Australia remains stuck on Groundhog Day," she claimed. "On the eve of 2019, it is clear the ATM government has nothing to guide the Department, regulator or sector.

"Australia cannot afford another term of this dysfunctional government and do-nothing minister."

Reaction has been sought from Fifield.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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