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Coalition delivers to regional Australian

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M e d i a

R e l e a s e


SENATOR THE HON RICHARD ALSTON Minister far Communications, the information Economy ami the. Arts Deputy Leader of the Qnremment in the Senate


‘Residents of regional Australia now have a clear choice · a Coalition Government committed to improvements in regional telecommunications, or a Labor Opposition which plans to steal funds from the bush,’ the Minister for Communications, Senator ----- ---------Richard Alston, said today.

The Coalition has, to date, committed $220 million from the Telstra social bonus toward improving regional communications:

• $25 million announced by the Prime Minister today to eliminate mobile phone “black spots” along major national highways, funded from an expanded Regional Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) • $25 million to provide Internet access at local call rates to 99 J per cent of

Australians from the expanded RTIF • $150 million to provide untimed local calls to all Australians, and to replace the pastoral call with a much fairer preferential call rate • $20 million from the expanded RTIF specifically allocated to ensure that the

communications needs of remote island communities arc met

‘In contrast, the Labor Party’s policy is to steal $181 million from the existing RTIF,’ Senator Alston said.

‘Labor is offering regional Australia less than nothing - even Kim Bcazley admits that Labor’s policy involves taking money already allocated in the budget and giving it anew name.’

Senator Alston said that the Coalition was committed to providing Australians living in regional, remote and rural Australia with a decent phone service.

‘The mobile phone black spot initiative announced by the Prime Minister will benefit not only residents of regional Australia, but the road transport and tourism industries, and the millions of Australians who take an Aussie holiday each year,’ Senator Alston said.

The Coalition knows that better regional telecommunications will help build a stronger Australia. ’

Media Contact: Terry O’Connor, Minister’s office 0419 636 879 _ _ _ - '

11 September 1998