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Kyam Maher's incompetence on Mobile Black Spots is embarrassing



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Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Minister for Regional Development Minister for Local Government and Territories Minister for Regional Communications

Deputy Leader of The Nationals

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Kyam Maher’s incompetence on Mobile Black Spots is embarrassing

The South Australian Minister responsible for his state’s participation in the Commonwealth’s Mobile Phone Black Spot Program is either not across his portfolio or has been caught deliberately misleading South Australians.

Federal Minister for Regional Communications, Fiona Nash, said rural South Australian communities deserved better than to have their State Minister making inaccurate and misleading statements about the Mobile Black Spot Program to cover up the fact that his government invested so little into regional mobile services for the state.

“South Australian Science Minister Kyam Maher has been running around the state claiming he has no clue how the 20 South Australian mobile phone tower locations that were funded under round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program were determined.

"This would suggest Kyam Maher invested South Australian taxpayer money into a program without reading the guidelines - that is bizarre. One wonders what the Premier Jay Weatherill thinks of this.

“In fact, the SA Government and the Department of State Development were consulted on the program guidelines and agreed to them before Kyam Maher committed funds and agreed to participate in the program.

Minister Nash said it was clear that Kyam Maher’s latest bizarre claims about this successful program were an attempt to distract from the fact that the South Australian Government failed to make the same strong investment that other states made.

Under Rounds 1 & 2 of the program, South Australia will co-invest a total $1.5 million which will help deliver 31 towers. Other states are investing substantially more and achieving significantly better outcomes:

• New South Wales co-invested $32.3 million which delivered 183 towers • Queensland co-invested $23.7 million which delivered 144 towers • Western Australia co-invested $53 million which delivered 208 towers • Victoria co-invested $28.9 million which delivered 142 towers

“The fact is in six years in government Federal Labor failed to invest a single cent to fix mobile black spots.

“In contrast the Coalition Government’s $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program is the single largest one-off government investment in regional mobile services in our history and has been a huge success in achieving better mobile coverage for the bush. Across Australia under rounds 1

and 2, we are delivering coverage to 31,000 homes and businesses through 765 new or upgraded mobile base stations and expanding handheld coverage to 86,300 square kilometres.

ENDS

Media Contact: Whil Prendergast, 0427 672 815, whilemina.prendergast@regional.gov.au