Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, has welcomed the Australian Government’s continuing commitment to expanding mobile coverage in regional and remote Australia, with Round 5A of the $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program now open for applications.
“This new round couldn’t have come sooner as it will have a specific focus on improving mobile coverage along major transport corridors and in disaster-prone regions,” Mr Joyce said.
“Just recently under this program we’ve had new mobile coverage at Copeton Dam and Weabonga switched on – two among 45 new mobile base stations that I have secured so far for the New England.
“Under the last Labor Government, we didn’t get one, that’s how much it cared about the regions.
“But I am continuing to fight for more base stations in all corners of our electorate, placing specific emphasis with service providers to deliver this Australian Government-funded infrastructure in our areas of need.
“I am also in regular contact with Ministers and community groups to press the point how crucial this communication infrastructure is, not only from a safety standpoint but also a wellbeing perspective for family and friends given recent travel restrictions and increasing reliance on phone communications.”
Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, said the first five rounds of the program have funded more than 1,200 new base stations in regional Australia, with more than 880 of these already switched on.
“Round 5A will support new ways of delivering mobile services to locations that have traditionally been less economic for mobile network operators,” Minister Coulton said.”
Mr Joyce encouraged local communities and councils in the New England Electorate to identify their priorities for improved coverage and to work with the mobile network operators and infrastructure providers in support of applications for funding for those areas.
Applications for Round 5A will close on 10 February 2020. For more information about the Mobile Black Spot Program and the Round 5A process, visit: www.communications.gov.au/MBSP