Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Fiona Nash

Minister for Regional Communications

Deputy Leader of the Nationals

Mobile Black Spots Program announcement - Transcript of doorstop

1 December 2016

E&OE

PRIME MINISTER:

When we came to government in 2013, we committed to fixing mobile black spots around Australia. Our first round saw 499 new base stations committed around Australia. Our second round $60 million - that will total $220 million of government money committed to the Mobile Black Spots Program - will see 1400 black spots around Australia addressed with 266 new base stations.

Our $60 million of government money is leveraging $213 million in total from the telecommunication companies.

So this is a great win for regional and rural Australia and it is ensuring that all Australians have access to good mobile reception.

There is nothing more important - is there Fiona? The Minister for Regional Communications.

MINISTER FOR REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS:

Exactly right, Prime Minister, and it was under the Prime Minister, as Communications Minister, that this was driven. The PM is continuing to drive it as Prime Minister and, as somebody who holds a rural property, he understands this very well.

The Coalition wants to help build strong and sustainable rural and regional communities so that our children and our grandchildren either want to stay in those communities or come back to those communities. When we invest in regional communities, it gives them confidence and it's that confidence that allows them to be strong into the future.

I am so proud to be part of a Coalition that is delivering this greater mobile phone coverage. $60 million under round two. We are seeing 266 new base stations, we are seeing new and improved mobile phone

coverage for 6,300 homes and businesses and across 17,700 square kilometres of regional Australia. We are seeing mobile phone coverage for 1900 kilometres of the major road routes and we are delivering 1400 black spots fixed under this Coalition Government.

Under Labor they fixed none.

MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS:

Thanks Fiona and the great news is, over rounds one and two, this program we will see nation-wide 765 new or upgraded mobile base stations which will address 4,400 mobile black spots.

What that means in terms of homes and businesses is 32,000 will have coverage, covering about 86,000 square kilometres.

In terms of the dollars, $160 million of Commonwealth investment will be leveraged to about $620 million in total when you take into account the state government contributions, local government contributions, community contributions and also those from the telco's themselves.

So this is terrific news because we all take for granted the ability to stay in contact with family and friends.

This is important for businesses and it is important for their customers. It is important also for natural disasters and in times of emergencies, so this is a terrific program, good news for regional Australia and it is just in absolute stark contrast to our predecessors who over six years did not spend a single dollar on mobile black spot coverage.

[ENDS]

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