Mobile Black Spot funding

From Rebekah Sharkie office

Did you know there are more mobile phones than people in Australia?

According to the latest Australian Communications and Media Authority report, there are more than 33 million mobile accounts in our nation of more than 24.5 million. Just over 6.6 million people no longer have landlines and 70 per cent of emergency calls dialled last financial year came from mobile phones.

This information is factual, but it isn’t the reality for all Australians, particularly those who live in rural areas. The digital divide is becoming more marked as population density has the last word in commercial decisions.

This is why it is critical that the Federal Government commits to funding further rounds of the Mobile Phone Black Spot Program. After $600 million and three rounds of the Federal Mobile Phone Black Spot Program, 129 black spot sites nominated by the community of Mayo – under the previous MP – remain unfunded.

Four macro towers won funding – at Montacute, Kangaroo Island, Parawa and Ashbourne – but none of them have been built to date.

The biggest issue regional Australia faces is there is no Round 4 and other black spots will be left hanging on the line. The SA Liberals’ $10 million promise to address mobile black spots across SA is a more substantial gesture than the measly $1.5 million SA Labor  put in the last round but it could end up being an empty promise if the Federal Government doesn’t fund the program into the future.

SA-BEST will match the Liberals’ $10 million commitment, and I welcome the announcement. However, my job now as your Federal Member is to keep knocking on doors in Parliament House to make sure the Government commits to Rounds 4, 5 and 6.

Black Spot Funding must continue until we have widespread national mobile coverage.