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Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Page: 33

Mobile Black Spot Program


Mr WALLACE (Fisher) (15:14): My question is to the Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, representing the Minister for Communications. Will the minister update the House on how the Mobile Black Spot Program is continuing to benefit rural and regional Australians, including in South-East Queensland? Is the minister aware of any threats to this program?


Mr FLETCHER (BradfieldMinister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities) (15:14): I do thank the member for Fisher for his question. He has been a strong champion of the needs of his constituents for better communications infrastructure. It was in response to advocacy from the member for Fisher and many other members on this side of the House that the coalition has, to date, committed $220 million to the Mobile Black Spot Program, including, on 10 June, another $25 million. And the outcomes of this investment have been very, very significant. Since the first round was announced in 2015, 540 base stations around the country have been activated. Five hundred and forty base stations—that is delivery.

In total, 867 base stations were funded under the coalition government—and, of course, the obvious question is: how many base stations were funded by Labor? Zero! Labor funded zero. Why? They don't really care about rural and regional Australia. It is outside the latte line. It is beyond the goat's cheese circle. They don't care. But on this side of the House we are committed to delivering for the people of rural and regional Australia, including, in the electorate of Fisher, three base stations: Maleny-Kenilworth Road—now operational; and Beerwah and Glass House Mountains—committed to. In the nearby electorate of Longman, the last LNP member in Longman, Wyatt Roy, was very, very active. He secured five base stations: Mount Mee—delivered; Belthorp Range Road—delivered; Stanmore—delivered; Beachmere and Donnybrook—in train. That's what the Turnbull government is delivering for Australians in rural and regional Australia.

What did the former Labor member Susan Lamb deliver when it came to mobile coverage in Longman? She delivered nothing. She delivered absolutely nothing, not one thing, when it came to mobile blackspots. We know she is a bit hazy on the detail—she's very hazy on the detail. Over the weekend, she claimed that Caboolture has consistently rated as having the highest number of complaints in Queensland for the NBN. If you look at the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman: annual report 2016-17, page 39, it's false! Caboolture did not have the highest number of complaints. Were there, as she claimed, 50,000 complaints? No; actually, there were 453. She was out by a factor of 99 per cent. And how was Longman served by the NBN under Labor? 330 connections. Under the coalition? 43,581. That's delivery.

Mr Turnbull: Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.