June 17, 2016
Coalition for the New Economy readers know we’ve criticized Australia’s government-owned broadband network, the National Broadband Network, repeatedly. A recent report in the Whyalla News in South Australia shows that Australians agree with our assessment.
The newspaper polled local readers and found the Australian government “received a low rating for its rollout of the National Broadband Network, with readers delivering an average rating of 3.5.”
At the same time, Whyalla readers are appalled by the government’s investment in basic infrastructure like roads. The News said, “The government was rated a 3.1 out of 10 for infrastructure which was the lowest rating out of all issues covered in the survey.” Specifically, “A majority (67%) of readers said they were ‘not satisfied’ with the government’s road funding for the Whyalla area, 33% said they were ‘satisfied’ and none said they were ‘very satisfied.’”
While lawmakers currently in office defended the Australian government’s investment in basic infrastructure, candidates running for office clearly saw gaps that need to be filled. Candidate Andrea Broadfoot called for an “immediate capital injection for upgrading the steelworks needed in Whyalla” while “Greens candidate Jillian Marsh said the government needs to invest more in making country roads safer.” Marsh also called for more investment to help the steel industry and also advised, “Investment in social infrastructure such as local hospitals and schools will help keep regional communities alive.” Additionally, “candidate Cheryl Kaminski said the state’s road situation is ‘so bad the national association of councils is lobbying the government to fix SA’s roads.’”
Only one candidate called for increased investment in “new technology.”
In Australia, as in the United States, it’s clear government should focus on traditional infrastructure like roads, instead of the broadband infrastructure that the private sector can provide.
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