Letters to the Editor – 9 August 2015

This week we publish letters about: the National Broadband Network (NBN), the plight of southern Moreton Bay islands and  election promises.

Coaltion’s NBN is ‘third world’ says former US resident

Damien Buckley’s article in the recent “Redlands2030” newsletter, on the NBN really caught my eye. I appreciated the detail and candor. It appears that the public has been misled on the matter of NBN.

Now, we read in your article that, “…..The harsh reality of the Coalition’s NBN plan is that if you have HFC cable in your suburb today, THAT IS ALL YOU ARE EVER GOING TO HAVE …..”.
Please let me explain where I am coming from.

A year ago my wife and I moved to Cleveland from California (outside of any of its major cities), where for years we had excellent fiber optic as well as cable telecommunications service (including internet, TV, and telephone) — depending upon the service provider to which the individual subscribed.

Needless to say, after we moved into our home very near Thornlands (between South and Beach Streets, east of Bloomfield) — we became VERY dismayed that there was NO Home Broadband service at all offered to our home, or to many of our neighbors’ homes.

The excuse provided by Telstra (after they signed a contract with us, then cancelled it) was that the lack of service was due to “paired gains”. Telstra described (after my pressing them) paired gains as having inadequate copper cable to serve all the homes in the area — and that we had no recourse; mobile broadband was the best substitute available.

I have since talked to local people in other areas around Cleveland who also have no home broadband available to them. When I talk to services other than Telstra and ask what broadband they can provide, they promise one thing, but when they try to install, they say they cannot and say it is because “Telstra won’t give (them permission to use the lines.”)

Cleveland and the surrounding Redlands appear to have great places to live. However insofar as telecommunications technology is concerned, we now feel that — when we moved to Cleveland and the Redlands – …that we found them to be like a third world country or at least one that had not yet joined the 21st Century.

We have been told by the government and Telstra that once NBN arrived, we would have all of that (fiber optic internet, TV, and telephone) — but the best we could have now, is mobile broadband (very limiting, expensive, and unreliable).

Now back to what I mentioned in the first paragraph above: Today we read in Damien Buckley’s article that, “…..The harsh reality of the Coalition’s NBN plan is that if you have HFC cable in your suburb today, that is all you are ever going to have,…..”
The government wants new business and the revenue it provides (This appears especially true in the Redlands.) but the government also seems to be acting like it can foster such growth with archaic technology.

Is this what we have to look forward to? 
What recourse do we have?

In summary, I wrote this letter for three reasons, to:
1. Thank you for your Redlands2030 article,
2. To describe an apparently little publicized fact that there are many already established areas in the Redlands including Cleveland — where homeowners do not have access to home broadband today, and
3. Ask what can the people in these areas do to effectively highlight this dilemma and ensure they are afforded equal access to the same quality NBN, that is available now in the major cities like Brisbane CBD?

I do appreciate Mr Buckley’s time and interest to write this article for the Redlands2030. I would appreciate hearing other residents’ thoughts, and perhaps knowing of ways where one can be of service to the community in the matter of upgrading the telecommunications technology available to us now.

Lansing R Hawkins – Cleveland

Is there any hope for the Southern Moreton Bay Islands?

The plight of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands (SMBI) islands has been ignored for too long. We live on rare, beautiful and tranquil islands in the middle of a Marine Park and less than 40km from a major city.

The recent ‘ Dropping off the Edge ‘ (DOTE) report, which is based on Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, equated the levels of disadvantage on the SMBI with those of Palm Island.

These are real problems. They will get much worse if governments continue to do little to help whilst the community continues to expand rapidly. We find the different levels of government simply pass the buck from one level, and one party, to another year on year, administration to administration.

The relative isolation of the Islands, caused by the current high water transport costs, encourages low housing cost and therefore high level of dependency disadvantage.
It will simply not be possible to service adequately these increasing levels of dependency.

Practical planning and prompt investment is essential to make a sustainable future for these Islands which have been stranded, and are now being broken, by a whole tide of unresponsive Federal and State Governments and Councils over the years.

Improving access to SMBI, and costs of access, for both passengers and vehicles is the key.

Right now, we need the State Government to remove the need, completely, for the Translink charge on Island ratepayers and place SMBI in zone 8 or 9 where it belongs. This will enable working families to access mainland employments economically and re-invigorate our economy and tourism. It will help re-balance the present unfortunate demographic.

In addition, we need a State level body to maintain continuity year on year, to take responsibility for coordinating the practical moves that must happen soon to prevent the situation becoming unretrievable.

We recently met with the Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad, and she has responded positively to our invitation for her to visit SMBI in the Spring.

Perhaps this could be the first step in the regeneration of our Islands, which are just too tranquil and delightful to ruin through continued government neglect?

Robin Harris – Macleay Island

Election promises – made to be broken?

During her election campaign in 2012, Councillor, now Mayor Williams made a lot of noise about the previous Hobson administration alleging waste, and supposed bad administration and that if she was elected there would be a “streamlining” starting from the top down. That all positions would be “re- evaluated” and that she was all about “cutting the red tape”, “stopping the waste” and that other famous Tory throw away line, “back to basics”.

Now our suspicions about those supposed promises have been realized according to these well researched statistics reported in the Brisbane Times of 3 August.  And unfortunately for the unfortunate, badly slugged ratepayers of the Redlands these promises never eventuated. In my view, and I’m absolutely certain the view of a majority of residents, our lives on the whole have NOT been improved since the Mayor has taken power.

As I have said many times to as many people as I can, “Karen Williams and her developer mates” represent the few at the expense of the many.

Dan Ling – Alexandra Hills