Labor’s Regional Communications Spokesperson, Stephen Jones, and Labor Member for Bass, Ross Hart today announced that Labor will provide essential funding to help fix mobile blackspots in the Tamar Valley.

This is critical infrastructure that keeps locals connected to family and friends and that saves lives in an emergency. It is central to the daily life of all local residents and businesses.

The Tamar Valley in Tasmania’s North has a number of towns with poor communications including Grindelwald, Greens Beach, York Town and even parts of the suburban area of Trevallyn in Launceston. Fixing these black spots will be a priority for a Shorten Labor Government.

“There are locations that should have been funded but were not and there are a number of black spots throughout the Tamar Valley like Grindelwald, Greens Beach, York Town and even Trevallyn in Launceston that are examples of this,” said Mr Jones.

“We must do more to help regional communities when it comes to mobile black spots, this is vital infrastructure that people rely on.”

Local MP Ross Hart said that the announcement would make a huge difference to local communities.

“Residents in Grindelwald, Greens Beach, York Town and parts of upper Trevallyn around Reatta and Rowsphorn Roads are totally frustrated with Scott Morrison’s failed mobile phone rollout, which means they experience poor mobile coverage at home and at work,” said Mr Hart.

“Mr. Morrison’s poor mobile coverage program impacts families, students and small businesses in our region. We have a local economy that is dependent on tourism and retail so mobile phone coverage is vital.

“This lack of coverage is of particular concern for our elderly who often rely on these connections to stay in touch with family and friends.

Stephen Jones said that Labor is strongly committed to improving regional connectivity and has long pledged to match the Coalition black spot program, dollar for dollar.

Labor is also committed to improving the handling and administration of the Mobile Black Spot program across Australia to ensure community priorities like those in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley get fixed.

“Not only is Labor funding mobile services, we are also committed to improving the whole Mobile Black Spot Program to address many of the criticisms and issues identified by the ANAO, ACCC, Productivity Commission and State Governments.

“The Coalition are fond of saying that Labor did nothing for mobile coverage when in government. This is a lie:

In Government, Labor invested in the $250 million Regional Backbone Blackspots Program (RBBP), which is providing essential backhaul needed for mobile base stations – more than the total spend of the four rounds of the Morrison Government Mobile Black Spot Program.
Backhaul is an essential link in the mobile transmission network.
Without backhaul, the Coalition’s mobile base stations would not have been able to connect to the network, they would be little more than “poles in a paddock”.
Labor has invested strongly in improving regional communications, including through the $51 billion NBN project that is putting more fibre into regional Australia.
In many locations, this NBN fibre is used as backhaul for improving mobile communications as well as fixed line broadband,” Mr Jones said.