Member for Mayo to lobby for mobile black spots
Federal funding for new mobile phone base stations at Stokes Bay on Kangaroo Island and Parawa south of Yankalilla has been welcomed by local NXT MP Rebekha Sharkie.
However, the Member for Mayo was disappointed that Ashbourne missed out being included in Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program.
Ms Sharkie is also is concerned that the $220 million program, meant to deliver towers to “black spot” sites across Australia, will end next year and other rural communities could miss out altogether.
“The inclusion of Stokes Bay in the ‘remote’ regions allocation of Round 2 in the Mobile Black Spot Program is good news for Kangaroo Island,” Ms Sharkie said.
“Better mobile phone coverage will greatly assist access to emergency services as well as helping local businesses, residents and visitors.
“But I am concerned that the program ends next year when the final Round 3 is announced.
“The Government allocated $60 million in Round 2 for 266 new mobile base stations and South Australia was granted 20 nominated sites.
“Mayo received two, the seat of Grey received 13 and Barker was allocated five.
“So it’s mixed feelings because Parawa, classified as inner regional, was successful but Ashbourne, a priority site and an election promise, was not included.
“Ashbourne is still on the nomination list for Round 3 so I will be advocating in the New Year, when the competitive process begins, to ensure the Coalition Government honours its election promise
“I will also be lobbying for the Government to continue the program beyond Round 3 to ensure greater equity across regional Australia.
“At the start of Round 1 there were more than 130 black spot mobile sites identified in Mayo of which 32 were in the Alexandrina Council area, eight were in the Yankalilla Council district and four in Victor Harbor Council.
“So far our success rate is one – Parawa – out of two rounds and 44 nominated sites.
“I will be putting pressure on the Government to continue this vital program.”
Ms Sharkie said the Nick Xenophon Team felt it was unacceptable that some rural communities, particularly in high bushfire risk areas, had poor mobile coverage.
The Government allocated $60 million in Round 2 for 266 new mobile base stations.
The Australian Government has committed an additional $60 million to a third round of funding.
A competitive process to allocate Round 3 funding is expected to commence in 2017.