Telephone, internet and the NBN
Modern Australia has come to depend upon high-quality, reliable telecommunications. Unfortunately, the digital divide between rural-regional Australia and our cities is growing. With the roll-out of the NBN, we now have families being forced onto satellite and wireless NBN almost within sight of Adelaide’s CBD. The high-quality telecommunication services promised to regional Australia via the NBN are not being fully met, and the roll-out has been fraught with problems. After Centrelink, the NBN has been the second biggest source of complaints I have received from the community.
With mobile phones replacing landlines, reliable mobile coverage is critical to the safety of our communities, many of which live in high bushfire risk areas. During the summer of 2016-2017, some households in the Adelaide Hills suffered from power outages and lost access to telecommunications for over five days. We were just so lucky that there was not a bushfire during those days of isolation, as I dread to think of what might have happened if a bushfire had occurred when some communities had no telecommunications.
As a result, I am working hard to encourage the Government to consider reliable 24-hour standby capability for mobile phone towers in high-risk bushfire areas, especially where our community is highly concentrated.
- Advocating for future Rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Programme to help plug the mobile telecommunication gaps across Mayo
- Lobbying for standby power capability (such as local battery back-up) for mobile phone towers in high risk bushfire areas
- Successfully lobbied for Round 4 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme; Mayo will share in the $25 million of funding being made available to rural and regional Australia
- Introduced a Private Member’s Bill that would guarantee 24 hours of standby power for mobile phone services in bushfire zones; discussions and negotiations with the Government are still underway
Speeches and Questions in Parliament:
- Telecommunications during bushfires (26 October 2017)
- Telecommunications Amendment (Guaranteeing Mobile Phone Service in Bushfire Zones) Bill 2017 [Private Member’s Bill] (4 September 2017)
- Question to the Minister for Communications – Payphones in rural and regional areas (14 August 2017)
- Mobile Black Spot Programme and standby power for mobile towers (31 May 2017)
- Mobile Black Spot Programme and bushfire risks (22 May 2017)
- Energy security during bushfires (14 February 2017)
- Question to the Prime Minister – Telecommunications during bushfires (15 February 2017)
- Question to the Prime Minister – Telecommunications during bushfires (7 February 2017)
- NBN concerns in Mayo (28 November 2016)
- Member for Mayo to lobby for mobile black spots (16 December 2016)
- Bill seeks to ensure 24-hour mobile phone coverage in high-risk bushfire areas (4 September 2017)
- MP calls for Federal Mobile Black Spot Program to continue (23 January 2018)
- Black Spot phone towers for KI and Ashbourne (5 April 2018)
I have also asked Questions in Writing on the following topics:
- Safeguarding communications in high bushfire risk areas
- Mobile Black Spot election commitments to Mayo
- Payphones in rural and regional Australia
Fighting for the ABC
I am a staunch defender of an independent, sufficiently-resourced ABC.
Our national broadcaster plays a critical role as a cultural resource for the nation, and as a source of quality, reliable and independent reporting. In a time of globalising culture and declining resources for investigative journalism in the public interest, maintaining a strong national broadcaster is more important now than it has ever been at any time since Australia’s Federation.
- Opposing 'privatisation by stealth' and further cuts to the ABC
- Restoring funding to the ABC to pre-2014 levels
- Safeguarding the independence of the ABC from political influence
- Introduced a motion in Parliament and tabled a petition signed by nearly 700 people from Mayo calling for a return to pre-2014 funding for the national broadcaster and an end to speculation that the Government would privatise the ABC
Speeches in Parliament: