A Shorten Labor Government will invest $245 million to address mobile black spots, improve digital literacy and fund local projects to improve connectivity in regional communities.
This $245 million commitment shows Labor is the party most committed to regional communications, and it forms part of our broader commitment to support local productivity, jobs and enhanced connectivity in regional Australia.
We will work closely with industry, the States and Territories and other stakeholders to maximise the positive impact of our investments and deliver the benefits that regional communities deserve.
Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters says the current coverage in some areas of the Bendigo electorate simply falls short of what is required.
“Too often across parts Central Victoria, many are confronted with ‘SOS only’ meaning a complete lack of mobile coverage,” Ms Chesters said.
Labor’s Plan for Better Regional Communications will:
- Fix more mobile black spots:Labor will allocate $160 million to deliver improved mobile coverage through two further rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program, as well as strengthening co-location and infrastructure sharing opportunities for new mobile towers funded by the program.
- Invest in local projects to address regional connectivity issues:Labor will allocate $60 million to local projects to address regional connectivity issues by working with the States and Territories, and local government and other stakeholders, to develop Connected Community Plans.
- Improve consistency of back-up power arrangements for new mobile towers located in bushfire prone areas:Labor will work with industry and consult experts on options to improve the consistency of battery back-up arrangements for new base stations built in bushfire prone areas.
- Improve data collection to support better decision-making:Labor will work with industry and regulators to develop more accurate and comparable mobile coverage maps to support policy making. This mapping currently does not exist.
- Work with the States and Territories to better co-ordinate investment:Labor will work with the States and Territories to maximise co-investment opportunities in mobile and other network infrastructure.
“Labor will deliver better outcomes for Regional Australia. Labor’s program announced today is better for Central Victorians,” Ms Chesters said.
“This is in stark contrast to the Liberals and Nationals who have been caught out by the Auditor-General for multiple failings in administering regional funding.
“The ANAO found 89 of 499 base stations – nearly one in five towers funded under Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Program – delivered no new coverage.
“As it stands, 31 black spot towers promised by the Liberals and Nationals after the 2013 election are yet to be delivered, and a further 71 of the 102 towers promised as 2016 election commitments are also incomplete.
“A number of locations in areas prone to natural disasters such as the Macedon Ranges, Mount Alexander and Greater Bendigo have been overlooked by the Liberal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
“Better mobile service is a priority at the local government level, at the state government level and at the community level.
“It is the Liberal government that has let our region down at the federal level.
“The choice at the next election could not be clearer.