14 May 2014
The Abbott Government is honouring its election commitment to invest $100 million in telecommunications infrastructure to improve mobile coverage in outer metropolitan, regional and remote Australia.
Inadequate mobile phone coverage remains a significant issue for Australians living, working and travelling in regional and remote areas of the country.
“The Abbott government understands the importance of mobile coverage for people in regional Australia,” the Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said.
“That is why we have committed $100 million to improved mobile coverage in outer metropolitan, regional and remote Australia, through upgrading mobile phone network infrastructure including rolling out new base stations. Funding will be allocated through a competitive selection process designed to leverage a significant co-contribution from the mobile carriers,” he said.
“Despite holding office for close to seven years, the Labor Government did not invest one cent to rectify mobile phone black spots.” Mr Joyce said.
Paul Fletcher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications has been travelling extensively in regional and remote Australia to discuss mobile coverage issues with local communities.
“We have received extensive feedback from communities in New England on the design and implementation of the programme and the priority locations that need improved coverage.” Mr Fletcher said.
“I welcome the input we have received in the many thoughtful submissions, which will be carefully considered as we proceed to finalise the design of the programme.’ Mr Fletcher said.
In February Mr Fletcher met with delegations from the Inverell Shire and Walcha Shire Councils
The Government expects to commence a competitive selection process in the second half of 2014, with a view to announcing the locations which have been selected for funding in the first half of 2015.
The Government expects the first base stations funded under the Mobile Black Spot Programme will begin to roll out in the second half of 2015.
Submissions on the Mobile Black Spot Program are available to view at www.communications.gov.au/mobile_services/mobile_coverage_programme
The Government is accepting nominations of mobile black spots until the end of June 2014. Anyone wishing to report a mobile black spot can email email@example.com