A Shorten Labor Government will invest $245 million to fix mobile black spots, improve digital inclusion and fund local projects to improve connectivity in regional Australia.
This election will be a choice between quality services for regional Australians or more of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos.
The Liberals and Nationals have failed regional Australians on connectivity.
In the electorate of Page for example, residents have struggled for years with mobile black spots – like the notorious 95 black spots along the Summerland Way between Grafton and Casino – and slow unreliable broadband.
The Coalition has a directionless $220 million plan. In contrast, Labor’s $245 million commitment is focused on delivering greater benefit for regional communities.
Labor’s plan to deliver better regional connectivity, announced May 2 by Page candidate, Patrick Deegan, will: ·
Improve mobile coverage and fix more black spots. Labor will allocate $160 million to deliver improved mobile coverage through two further rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program. ·
Improve connectivity. Labor will allocate $60 million to invest in local projects to address regional connectivity issues. ·
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 Remote Indigenous Communications. Labor will provide funding to improve remote Indigenous telecommunications and broadcasting.
Labor’s plan to improve the NBN will also improve reliability and speed for up to 6,700 fibre to the node households in Page, and review of the future funding and capacity requirements of the regional NBN fixed-wireless network.
Nearly 1 in 3 households in Page are connected to fixed wireless. The Coalition have no plan to improve the NBN.
Our consumer-focused approach is in stark contrast to that of the self-interested Nationals who have been caught out by the Auditor-General for having 89 of 499 base stations – nearly one in five towers funded under Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Program – not delivering any new coverage despite a cost of $28 million.
The choice at the next election could not be clearer.
Regional Australians can have better schools, hospitals and connectivity under Labor, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.
The above is an ALP Press Release – 2 May 2019.