Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 147

Telecommunications


Mr O'DOWD (Flynn) (15:10): My question is to the Minister for Urban Infrastructure. Much of rural Australia, including my electorate of Flynn, has suffered from poor mobile phone coverage for many years. Can the minister update the House on the effects that the government's Mobile Black Spot Program is having in our rural communities? Thank you.


Mr FLETCHER (BradfieldMinister for Urban Infrastructure) (15:11): I thank the member for Flynn for his question about mobile coverage in rural and remote Australia. Labor thought they might get the member for Flynn, but they could not catch Kenny. The member for Flynn is back, and the reason the member for Flynn is back is that he has been standing up for his constituents and he has been focused on the issues that his constituents are concerned about, and one of the issues people in Flynn, as in so much of rural and remote Australia, are concerned about is improving mobile phone coverage.

Of course, in six years of Labor, how much did Labor spend on improving mobile phone coverage? How much did Labor spend in six years? They spent nothing. They spent nothing, and it required a coalition government to come in and develop a program to deliver improved mobile phone coverage in rural and remote Australia. When I had the chance to visit the electorate of the member for Flynn in 2014, some 50 people turned up at a public meeting to talk about mobile coverage, because they were so concerned about this issue.

Of course, the member for Flynn has delivered, because just in round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Program 10 base stations are committed to, to be delivered in the electorate of Flynn: eight to be delivered by Telstra and two to be delivered by Vodafone in locations like Durong, Ubobo, the Capricorn Highway and Dingo. It is a long way from Balmain to Dingo. It is a long way from Footscray to Dingo. You cannot expect Labor to deliver much in Dingo, but you can rely on the coalition to deliver outcomes for Dingo—to deliver outcomes for rural and remote Australia—because rural and remote Australia is overwhelmingly represented by the coalition, and we are listening to the concerns of people in regional, rural and remote Australia, and we are delivering.

That is why we committed $100 million in round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Program, leveraging money from the private sector and state governments to come up with total funding of $385 million. There is a further $120 million under rounds 2 and 3, and we are getting on with delivering improved mobile coverage for people in rural and remote Australia. In fact, Telstra recently announced that already 60 base stations under this program have been opened. The Turnbull government is delivering. This is the term of delivery and, thanks to members like the member for Flynn, we are delivering outcomes and responding to the concerns of our community.

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