Labor clueless about mobile black spot program
Labor’s Regional Communications spokesman Stephen Jones has once again verballed the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) and demonstrated his shameful ignorance about the administration of the Mobile Black Spot Program.
Minister for Regional Communications, Fiona Nash, accused Mr Jones and Labor of rank hypocrisy when it came to this hugely successful program.
“Labor sat on its hands for six years and did nothing and spent nothing to improve mobile phone coverage in the bush. In contrast the Coalition Government has invested $220 million in this important nation-wide program to deliver 765 towers and 86,000 square kilometres of new handheld coverage under rounds 1 and 2 with an additional round to come.
Minister Nash said that Stephen Jones must have not bothered to read the ANAO report into round 1 otherwise he would know:
- the ANAO found that the key elements of a competitive merit-based grants program were established, and that these elements were implemented in accordance with the program guidelines; and
- that the Department of Communications and the Arts has implemented the three key recommendations for round two.
In addition, he must not have bothered to read the Draft Productivity Commission (PC) report, otherwise he would have been able to compare it to the actual program and would have known that:
- Coverage is a key part of the assessment process – with 86,000 square kilometres with new handheld coverage delivered to date
- All successful sites must provide opportunity for infrastructure sharing with other mobile providers
- Community input drove round 1 and 2 outcomes, with the public nominating the black spot locations
- Any MP irrespective of their political party was able to nominate priority locations
Minister Nash said that the Mobile Black Spot Program is a regionally focused program and the Coalition and Independents hold the significant majority of rural, regional and remote seats. If Labor wanted more towers, it should work harder to win more regional seats rather than being exclusively focused on the cities.
Stephen Jones needs to get his facts straight before spreading mistruths about this successful Coalition program.