Senator the Hon. Fiona Nash
Minister for Regional Development
Minister for Local Government and Territories
Minister for Regional Communications
Thursday, 16 March 2017
Coalition 765, Labor 0: Time for Federal Labor to support Mobile Black Spot Program
With the Victorian Labor Government finally admitting how important the Coalition’s Federal Back Spots Program is, it’s time Federal Labor finally got on board, Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash said today.
Speaking from Culla in western Victoria at the opening of Telstra’s 100th tower to be launched under the Federal Coalition Government’s Mobile Black Spots Program, Minister Nash said it was an absolute shame for rural, regional and remote Australians that federal Labor continued to relentlessly attack the program which is delivering 765 new or upgraded mobile phone towers and new or improved coverage to 32,000 homes and businesses across 86,000 square kilometres.
“Federal Labor delivered zero new towers in six years of government and failed to invest a single cent in mobile phone coverage,” Minister Nash said.
“The scorecard reads: Coalition delivering 765 towers which will provide new or improved coverage, Labor 0.
“If they can find time to tear themselves away from their law-breaking union mates, federal Labor MPs should listen to their Victorian colleagues and commit to supporting the Coalition’s Mobile Black Spots Program.
“Federal Labor ignored rural, regional and remote Australia and failed to commit to match the Coalition’s Mobile Black Spots Program in the federal election last year.
“Since then, federal Labor has run a pathetic strategy of attacking the program at any opportunity, often twisting words and facts to do so.
“Victorian Labor has been unable to deny regional people love this program and offered $12 million under Round 2. However this was barely more than half the $21 million contribution which resulted from the former Victorian Coalition Government’s allocation of funding in the 2014 budget through its Regional Connectivity policy. That 2014 allocation paid for Victoria’s investment in round 1, which the current Labor Government is now trying to claim even in regards to the tower at Culla today.
“If the Victorian Labor Government really believes in this program as it claims to, its members should ring Bill Shorten and have him commit to the Coalition’s Mobile Black Spots Program.”
Victorian Labor Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford said today:
“Having mobile coverage is a lifeline for people in rural Victoria.
“Through this program we are significantly improving mobile coverage for thousands of households and businesses, which will not only help them connect but will significantly boost our regional economy.”