TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
LABOR CALLS FOR NBN REBATE TO HELP CONNECT FAMILIES AND CHILDREN WITH NO INTERNET AT HOME
At a time when connectivity has become even more essential for society, ensuring that children have access to broadband at home is critical.
According to the final Australian Bureau of Statistics household internet survey, 3 per cent of Australian households with children under the age of 15 did not have internet at home.
This suggests children in up to 55,600 family households are potentially missing out on the benefits of connectivity.
Recent developments with COVID19 are no doubt placing these children, their parents and their teachers under pressure.
Labor is calling for a targeted initiative to support these families with free NBN broadband access for a period of at least 12 months.
The small proportion of eligible households means incentives can be delivered in a targeted, responsible and compassionate manner to achieve a social and economic good.
At a time when broadband has become a critical link between students, parents and their teachers, action is needed to ensure no child is left behind.
This will build on good work being done by some state governments to provide laptops and other devices to support distance learning.
Labor also welcomes steps taken by NBNCo, retail providers and the Government to expand capacity and data allowances.
Ensuring every family with children has broadband is a complex challenge that cannot be solved overnight. Through compassion, targeted incentives and a clear sense of purpose we can bridge the digital divide.
One approach Labor considers has merit is the Commonwealth, with the agreement of industry, partnering with a single retail provider for the specific purpose of this initiative, with NBNCo providing a reverse wholesale rebate for 12-24 months to support a $0 retail price.
This model would help simplify delivery by providing eligible households with a single point of contact to get them get connected more quickly.
Eligible households would ideally be identified by schools, and local community and welfare organisations.
WEDNESDAY, 1 APRIL 2020