FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the Abbott Government’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot Programme has reached an important milestone, with proposals now received for funding under the Programme.
Mr Joyce said each of the mobile network operators, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, have come forward with a proposal and the Government is currently assessing the proposals, and aims to be in a position to announce the list of base stations by 30 June 2015.
He said the competitive selection process for locations is not a ‘winner-takes-all’ process, rather the funding will be allocated ‘base-station by base-station’.
The Government will assess each proposed base station against the criteria specified in the Programme Guidelines, to determine the base stations to receive funding.
The process is designed to maximise competition in two ways – between locations, and between bidders – to get as many new base stations as possible for the money.
Mr Joyce said the Programme has been designed to encourage co-contributions from other levels of government.
He said the Victorian Government recently announced its decision to support a bid for funding under the Programme. This follows a commitment by the NSW Government to allocate $25 million to improved mobile coverage, working in conjunction with the Commonwealth Programme, and a commitment of $35 million by the WA Government.
“A number of local councils, including some in the New England Electorate, have offered cash or in-kind contributions,” he said.
The details of the competitive selection process are set out in the Programme Guidelines which are available on the Department of Communications website at www.communications.gov.au