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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 14698


Ms PRICE (Durack) (14:53): My question is to the Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, representing the Minister for Communications. Minister, reliable communications are essential for the education, productivity and safety of rural and regional communities. Will the minister update the House on what the government is doing to improve telecommunications reception in my electorate of Durack?

Mr FLETCHER (BradfieldMinister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects) (14:53): I thank the member for Durack for that very important question. Indeed, I am very pleased to update the House on these important matters—matters which are properly pursued by a member who is assiduous and vigorous in representing her constituents in the enormous, 1.6 million square kilometre electorate of Durack, where the needs in relation to regional and remote communications are very distinctive. You could not find an electorate which is more remote from the inner-city latte land of the Greens and Labor than Durack. It is the coalition which can be relied upon to meet the communications needs of electorates like Durack, and it is the coalition, represented by Melissa Price as the member for Durack, which is being a vigorous advocate for those communications needs.

Let us look at the fixed wireless network which is in the course of being delivered in the electorate of Durack. Already, 2,300 premises can order services today. There will be another 500 services—

Mr Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: Member for McEwen, that is your final warning!

Mr FLETCHER: over the next six months which can be ordered. Already it is possible in Cape Burney, Moonyoonooka, Moora town and Moresby Range—and soon it will be possible in Nungarin, Ballidu and a whole range of other locations—to order a fixed wireless service to meet the communications needs of the electorate and the constituents of Durack.

The satellite service will be available from mid-2016, so people in the remote areas of that 1.6 million square kilometres will have 25 megabits per second down, five megabits per second up. This is an extraordinarily high-quality service, and that will be available by mid-2016. In the city of Geraldton, some 16,500 premises are now able to receive a service.

Let me turn to the Mobile Black Spot Program. Under the Mobile Black Spot Program, the member for Durack succeeded in securing—

Mr Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: Member for McEwen!

Mr FLETCHER: some 45 base stations where there will be mobile coverage. Labor spent not one dollar on delivering new mobile services in regional and remote Australia.

The coalition is delivering when it comes to the NBN fixed wireless. There were a mere 39,000 premises covered when we came to government; now there are 310,000. We are delivering in Durack with the National Broadband Network. We are delivering around the country with the National Broadband Network, and the advocacy of members like the member for Durack is critical to that delivery.