THURSDAY, 14 MARCH 2019
SUBJECTS: Mobile Black Spots, Dairy Farmers.
STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL SERVICES, TERRITORIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Great news due to the advocacy of Fiona Phillips, our candidate in Gilmore - a Shorten Labor Government commits up to $2m to deal with the mobile phone blackspots along the Princes Highway south of Nowra.
We know that whether you're a tourist to the area or whether you're a resident, having access to a mobile phone signal is not a luxury. It's an essential.
Running a business, keeping track of your kids, it's now a critical that you have access to a mobile phone service and we know that in emergency situations over 80% of phone calls to Emergency Services are made on a mobile phone. This is going to make our roads safer. This is going to make people feel more secure who have access to a mobile phone service.
JOURNALIST: Specifically here on the South Coast you just alluded to that in the times of emergencies access to a mobile phone service is going to the difference between life and death and sadly we have seen that play out. How important is this as a priority, as an entire program, in fixing up these blackspots to make sure that never occurs again?
JONES: Well we want to see the state government address the problems with the highway. But the federal government's responsibility is the phone service and we want to ensure that if something tragically does go wrong, that people have access, immediate access to emergency services and getting on the phone and being able to hit Triple O or your emergency service absolutely critical. It will make people feel secure, if something does go wrong; they have access to a phone service to ensure that they can get Emergency Services there immediately.
JOURNALIST: The other day we saw this exact call come from the independent candidate Grant Schultz who posted a video saying that we need significant phone service across the South Coast because it helped having a little push along from people out there who are also running in the seat?
JONES: Labor’s made a commitment that mobile phone blackspots are going to be a priority for us.
Sadly the Liberals have been in power here for many, many years, have not addressed the mobile phone blackspots. There's over 117 in this electorate alone, over 10,000 in the national database, the government’s own national database of blackspots, yet only 8 are in funded the area – less than 10%. When Labor was in government we invested over $250m in battle to ensure that more towers could be built. Sadly over 5 years the government has not come anywhere near to matching that sort of investment.
JOURNALIST: As somebody being out on the beat, is using these roads constantly, you know more than anyone the troubles faced, how important is it that these $2m is delivered?
FIONA PHILLIPS, CANDIDATE FOR GILMORE: It's absolutely critical. Anyone that drives the Princes Highway knows that there are mobile blackspots all along that highway. And look it’s so important to fix those because you know, if you break down or something goes on we've got a lot of elderly people in the community, it's really important to fix those mobile blackspots.
JOURNALIST: How do you take Barnaby Joyce’s claim that the floor price is not the answer to one of the problems, one of the many problems facing our dairy farmers at the moment?
PHILLIPS: Well, look, we absolutely need to make sure that our Dairy Farmers are paid a fair farm gate milk price. So Labor’s already committed to asking the ACCC to investigate the way that we actually do that.
JOURNALIST: He doesn't believe that would actually do anything. He's all about I guess diverging those companies, I guess. Where do you stand in all of that?
PHILLIPS: Well, I think we have to intervene, because, it just hasn’t worked for dairy farmers. You know, this has been going on for so long under the Coalition and they've done nothing. So we have to intervene and we have to do we have to lift that farm gate milk price and we're prepared to go to the ACCC and we have to work out the best way to do that.
JOURNALIST: What do you feel is the feeling is amongst voters at the moment, obviously there’s tensions among the Coalition – is that what they’re seeing?
PHILLIPS: Obviously, people are fed up, quite frankly the Coalition just there's like totally focused on themselves. So I've been endorsed now for two years that talking with voters and that's why we've been able to make great policy announcements like the one today because the Coalition has just deserted the people in Gilmore.