Labor Spokesperson for Regional Communications Stephen Jones MP, says claims by the Minister for Regional Communications that she has “fixed” hundreds of mobile black spots are simply not credible.

In Senate Estimates last week, the Department of Communications released a list of locations where new mobile base stations have been funded but which are not yet operational.

“More than three years after promises have been made, there are currently 167 or nearly 20% of the promised base stations not yet on air.

“This includes base stations promised in Round 1, more than four years ago,” Mr Jones said.

Ross Hart, Member for Bass said there are two base stations in the North East that have been promised but not yet delivered.

It is a huge let down for locals in these communities that base stations promised in Beechford/Lefroy and Musselroe Bay have not yet been delivered.

“Promises have been made by the Morrison Government to residents in Northern Tasmania and not kept.

Mr Jones said, “Given these delays, it is baffling that the Morrison Government is pushing ahead with a further round of the program when base stations from Round 4 are barely settled.

“This can only be a clumsy attempt to pork barrel regional electorates in the lead up to the Federal Election.

“Locals should be on notice that any promises made now by the Morrison Government will not be delivered for 2-3 years, or longer.

“Any locations promised by MPs during the formal election period cannot be acted upon. The caretaker conventions prohibit any decisions being made which would bind an incoming Government.

“Nearly 20% of mobile base stations from Rounds 1, 2 & 3 and 100% of base stations from round 4 are not yet operational, raising doubts about Minister McKenzie’s claims that all base stations under the first three rounds will be operational by 30 June.

MOBILE PHONE BLACKSPOT PROGRAM ACTIVATIONS
ROUND    PROMISED   NOT DELIVERED
Round 1    499                   31
Round 2   266                   65
Round 3   102                    71
Round 4   180                    180

“The Government’s mobile black spot program has been troubled with poor program design, disappointing community outcomes and delays.

In 2016, the Australian National Audit Office issued a damning report on the Government’s handling of Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Program and identified numerous flaws in the programs design and administration.

“The Coalition cannot claim to be delivering for regional Australia, when many of the promises they have made remain unfulfilled,” Mr Jones said.