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    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Poor reception for Budget failure to commit annual mobile phone black spot funding

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017

    Poor reception for Budget failure to commit annual mobile phone black spot funding

    The Federal Budget has failed Queensland farmers calling for an annual funding commitment to improve mobile phone coverage, according to Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch.

    Ms Enoch said last night’s Federal Budget delivered no new funding rounds for mobile phone black spots in rural and remote communities.

    “The Palaszczuk Government believes in a fair go for all Queenslanders, regardless of where you live,” Ms Enoch said.

    “That’s why I publicly backed the National Farmers’ Federation call for the Turnbull Government Budget to include an annual commitment to help communities where poor or non-existent mobile reception is a major problem.

    “All the Commonwealth did last night was commit $60 million previously pledged during the lead-up to the 2016 election for round three of the Mobile Black Spot Program.

    “Poor mobile phone coverage is a serious safety issue and hurts local businesses and those living and working on the land,” she said.

    The Queensland Government has committed around $24 million to deliver 144 new and improved mobile base stations to regional communities across 54 different councils under two rounds of the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.

    In addition, around 80 Queensland locations will receive 4G small cells from state and Commonwealth allocations.

    Ms Enoch said she had also raised concerns with the Commonwealth over the selection process for new mobile phone towers that might be funded under the program.

    “Advice from the Federal Department of Communications and the Arts indicated that a list of 130 priority mobile black spot locations had already been established based on commitments made by Federal Coalition candidates in the lead up to the last election,” she said.

    “Last month, I wrote to Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to express my concerns around this allocation model for round three of the program. To-date, I have had no response.

    “If the Federal Government wants to pay for the election commitments of Coalition/LNP candidates that is their prerogative, but the Palaszczuk Government will not commit Queensland taxpayer’s money to round three to foot their bill.

    “We are committed to supporting those communities and businesses who most need new or improved coverage – with selection based on clear and robust criteria,” she said.

    ENDS

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