LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has today applauded the Coalition’s pledge of $100 million to address mobile phone black spots in regional, remote and outer metropolitan communities.
The policy will provide $80 million for a Mobile Network Expansion Programme coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters.
The Coalition will also provide $20 million for a Mobile Black Spot Programme to address unique mobile coverage problems such as locations with high seasonal demand.
“This is very exciting news for our region,” Mr Entsch said.
“In terms of funding priorities, we are one of the few areas to tick all the boxes – I am very confident our community will get a fair bite of the cherry.”
Mr Entsch congratulated the Cairns Post for its work in highlighting the mobile black spot issue in recent weeks.
“It has dovetailed in very well as over the last few months I have been lobbying service providers, particularly Telstra Countrywide, over the problem,” Mr Entsch said.
“Across the Leichhardt electorate I have already identified numerous black spots – in and around Cairns, Kuranda, Weipa, Cooktown and Bloomfield just to name a few; and the further north you go, the worse the problem gets.
“There are significant problems in the Torres Strait as well, so it is great the Coalition has put priority on improving services in remote areas, they are just as important as metropolitan areas and yet they have been continuously forgotten under Labor.”
As part of the plan, the Coalition will work with the NBN to co-locate new mobile phone base stations with many of the fixed wireless broadband towers currently being rolled out across regional Australia.
“This is just a simple, common sense solution that has not happened under Labor,” Mr Entsch said.
“It directly reflects our commitment to providing Australians with fast, secure and affordable access to effective communications in both internet and telecommunication services.”
He said this policy picked up where the Howard government had left off.
“Howard made the elimination of mobile phone black spots a national priority. However, Kevin Rudd abolished the Coalition’s $2.4 billion fund that was put in place to upgrade communications in rural, regional and remote parts of Australia.
“The Labor government has wasted billions on uneconomic infrastructure but many Australians still can’t access a reliable mobile phone network.
“Our policy to tackle mobile phone black spots and roll out a more cost effective, faster National Broadband Network is part of our Plan to build a strong, prosperous economy and a safe, secure Australia.”
To view the policy in full, click here
Media Contact: Heather Beck (Warren Entsch’s office) 0427 585 668