Labor’s Regional Communications Spokesperson, Stephen Jones, Labor Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell MP and Labor Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP, today announced that Labor will provide essential funding to help fix mobile blackspots in Regional Victoria.
Fixing mobile black spots is achieved by providing critical infrastructure that saves lives in an emergency and is central to the daily life of all local residents and businesses in Regional Victoria.
A number of locations in areas prone to natural disasters such as Macedon Ranges and Mitchell Shires have been overlooked by the Turnbull Liberal Government in Round One of the Coalition’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
A Shorten Labor Government will fix this.
Stephen Jones said that Labor was committed to improving the administration and rollout of the Mobile Black Spot Program across Australia.
“Labor will improve the administration of the Mobile Black Spot Program by giving better priority to areas prone to natural disasters, like bushfires.
“Under the Turnbull Government’s watch there have been some glaring omissions in the Mobile Black Spot Program. There are locations in Central Victoria that should have been funded but were not; areas of Gisborne, Gisborne South, Lancefield/Benloch, Riddells Creek, Broadford and Whiteheads Creek are stark examples of this,” Mr Jones said.
“It is absolutely essential that people’s safety comes first and that in emergency situations, regional communications are up to the standard the community expects,” Mr Jones said.
Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said that the announcement of funding will make a huge difference to local communities in bushfire prone areas.
“The lack of funding for mobile black spots such as Gisborne South is just one example of the failures of Malcolm Turnbull’s failed mobile phone rollout,” Mr Mitchell said.
“These areas should be highest priority. Unfortunately, it is evident from the allocation of these towers that this is not the only deciding factor. Mr Turnbull’s poor mobile coverage impacts families, students and small businesses in our region,” Mr Mitchell said.
Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters said that fixing mobile black spots in the local area was a top priority.
“We need to fix black spots in Hesket and Woodend because too often in these areas it is a case of SOS only,” Ms. Chesters said.
“The Macedon Ranges is a growth area with more and more people choosing to live within that easy commute to Melbourne.
“At the same time, the hilly and heavily-treed terrain that makes the Macedon Ranges so attractive makes it a high risk bushfire area.
“On Code Red days, local residents and visitors are often anxiously checking for updates on conditions and any alerts of fire. The current coverage in the Macedon Ranges simply falls short of what this area needs.
“The Macedon Ranges is a priority for better mobile service at the local government level, at the state government level and at the community level. It is the Liberal government that has let the Macedon Ranges down at the federal level.
“Fixing black spots at these sites will also improve reception on v-line services which will benefit residents commuting from Bendigo, Castlemaine and Kyneton.
Of the 499 mobile towers funded in Round One of the Mobile Black Spot Programme, as of 4 May 2016 only 21 had been switched on.
The Liberals have over-promised and under-delivered on mobile black spots.