Victorian residents will have to opt out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out if they don't want to be connected should Labor retain government at Victoria's state election this Saturday.
The move, similar to one announced by the Tasmanian Government earlier this year, was announced today by Victorian ICT Minister John Lenders, who said the opt-out approach would ensure a quicker roll-out of the project in his state.
Lenders said this mandate could either be achieved as part of "a national process in partnership" with the Federal Government to be rolled out across the states or via a change in legislation in Victorian parliament.
Lenders also announced $10 million in seed funding for an Australian Broadband Laboratory to be established in Parkville. Lenders said the lab will develop applications for the NBN and will employ up to 50 people including software developers, telecommunications engineers, business developers and regulatory experts.
"It will include a development, integration and testing centre that will provide technical, regulatory and business advice to companies wishing to offer new broadband services and applications," Lenders said in a statement.
The new funding builds upon $110 million allocated in October for ICT.
Should it win the poll on Saturday, the Victorian Labor party also pledged $5 million in funding for a new e-Health institute to be established with the help of Monash University. The institute will be located in Alfred Hospital.
"For the first time in Australia, one organisation will have an operational capability that will promote clinical leadership, optimise awareness, support training and education, and the integration of e-health solutions in the clinical environment," Lenders said.
"Having an independent entity capable of evaluating key economic and healthcare parameters will help roll out new e-health products and services across the Victorian and national health systems."
Lenders also criticised his Liberal party opponents for "releasing no ICT policies at all during the state election", however the Liberal party has announced a ICT audit of Melbourne to ascertain the ICT capacity of suburbs in the city.