Sky News with Laura Jayes
Sky Studio Parliament House, Canberra
18 October 2017
E & OE
Mitch Fifield the Communications Minister joins me here in
the studio. Mitch these allegations have
just been made in parliament by Andrew Wilkie.
I imagine this falls under your portfolio perhaps. What have you done since you have heard these
allegations. What course of action can
I’ve only just caught a little bit on the news in relation
to what Andrew Wilkie has said in the House of Representatives. My understanding is that it has to do with
poker machines. And regulation of poker
machines is something that falls squarely within the State jurisdiction. While
I have responsibility for online gaming, those physical poker machines in
venues are really matters for the State Gaming Minister in Victoria.
Ok fair enough. Well
look to be fair to you I should let the audience know that we got you in to
talk about the NBN report. And this has just dropped. So you haven’t had time to see the
report. So what the allegations are is
the Crown Casino has been avoiding AUSTRAC scrutiny and they have also
sanctioned the use of illegal drugs and covered up instances of domestic
violence. Now the number one allegation
that Andrew Wilkie is making is allegations of serious criminal misconduct and that
poker machines have been tampered with.
You say that this is the State jurisdiction but is there anything that I
have just told you, and you will have to trust me with the report, that you can
look into, that the Federal Government might have provision over.
Look when it comes to AUSTRAC and its responsibilities for
tracking the movement of funds, if there are allegations then it is appropriate
for relevant law enforcement authorities to investigate that.
On the face of it how serious do you think these
allegations are? Because this has been,
from what Andrew Wilkie said, quite broad and quite widespread and could have
been going on for quite a while
All I know is the snippet that I saw on the news a little
bit earlier. Parliament is a forum where
colleagues can make a proposition. They can put that forward if they think
there is potentially some wrong doing.
And it’s really a matter for the relevant authorities. That is what Andrew Wilkie has done but it’s
really a matter for the relevant law enforcement authorities to investigate.
OK moving on to the last question on this before we get to
the NBN. You actually have to go back to
the Senate I believe, there is another division so we will have to let you go.
That’s showbiz. But I will come back shortly.
Mitch Fifield is fresh back from a division. He is going up and down the stairs to the
press gallery. Thank you once again for
joining us. We will have a few clear
minutes before we have another division in the Senate. Let me ask you about this Ombudsman
report. How concerned are you that there
has been an increase in complaints about the NBN.
Well the first point is I never want to diminish the
experience of an individual or a business if it hasn’t been all that it should
be. But it is also important to have the Ombudsman’s report in context. The complaints about the NBN are increasing,
pretty much in line with the rollout of the NBN. So we’ve had basically a 100% increase in the
number of premises connecting to the NBN over the previous twelve months. So there are a range of factors that people
can have issue with. A lot of them
relate to the retailers on the NBN network and not with NBN itself. And the Ombudsman’s report doesn’t
distinguish really between retailer issues and NBN issues.
So customers basically have to expect a bit of pain for a
future gain. Is that what you are
Well we are essentially doing in the space of seven years
what it took the PMG and Telecom seventy years to do. And that is we are establishing a brand new
network. And everyone in the nation will be moving across to the NBN
network. So when you have the best part
of eleven million premises migrating across, there will be some issues. And the challenges that people face really
fall into two types. One is the actual
migration experience to a new network. And the good news about that is, it is a
one off you are only going to migrate to a new network every 100 years or
so. And NBN and the retailers are
getting better at the migration experience.
The other sort of issue really relates to peoples expectations when it
comes to speed. Modems are a big part there. Often people will have the wrong modem. They will have been sent the wrong modem, or purchase
the wrong modem. In-house wiring is also
a significant reason for people not having the speeds they expect. And that can be fixed. And then there’s the issue of ensuring that
the retailers are purchasing from NBN the capacity that they need.
Yes so this is a retailer issue. Do you have any control over that? Because the retailers are basically giving
the NBN a bad name on some of these cases.
Retailers have an absolute obligation to honour their
contracts with their customers. And to
purchase from NBN the capacity that they need to service them. And there are a few things that we are doing
here. One is we have given money to the
ACCC so that they can embed 4000 probes, in the nicest possible way, in peoples
premises. So that the ACCC will be able
to report publically on the speeds people are getting by retailer. The ACCC is also giving very clear guidance
to the retailers as to how they need to advertise their products. That they can’t be misleading. And the ACCC I think is poised if retailers
don’t do the right thing there to come down pretty hard. And we have also asked the Australian
Communications and Media Authority to undertake a research project to identify
what is the experience that customers are having and across the supply chain
where the issues are.
I have to interrupt you we have to go live to Bill Shorten.