SENATOR THE HON FIONA NASH,
MINISTER FOR REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS
MR DUNCAN McGAUCHIE,
LIBERAL PARTY CANDIDATE FOR MURRAY
MR DAMIAN DRUM,
NATIONALS CANDIDATE FOR MURRAY
29 June 2016
Liberal candidate for Murray Duncan McGauchie together with the Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield today announced that Gunbower and Katunga will receive improved mobile phone coverage, if the Coalition Government is re-elected, as part of an additional $60 million commitment to extend the successful Mobile Black Spot Programme.
Joined by the Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash and Nationals candidate for Murray Damian Drum to make the announcement at Monichino Wines in Katunga, Mr McGauchie said new mobile base stations in Gunbower and Katunga will bring a much-needed boost to mobile coverage, providing benefits to emergency service operators, businesses, and residents in the area.
“The Turnbull Coalition Government understands the importance of mobile coverage in regional areas and will commit an additional $60 million on top of the $160 million already invested in mobile black spots, bringing the Coalition’s total investment to $220 million,” Mr McGauchie said.
“We have selected the Gunbower and Katunga locations because they have been overlooked by mobile network operators due to commercial factors and a re-elected Turnbull Coalition Government will invite mobile network operators to bid for new funding to provide coverage in the identified locations.
“The Coalition is committed to improving mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters, as well as addressing unique mobile coverage problems such as areas with high seasonal demand,” Mr McGauchie said.
To date, the Mobile Black Spots Programme will deliver 499 new or upgraded base stations, covering around 3,000 black spots, with the electorate of Murray receiving a wide range of coverage from other new base stations in neighbouring electorates.
In total, 100 of the 151 mobile black spots nominated by residents in the electorate of Murray will be addressed by handheld or external antenna coverage. This programme is the most significant one-time increase in mobile network coverage to regional and remote Australia delivered by a single public funding programme in the history of mobile communications in Australia.
Nationals candidate for Murray Damian Drum said he’d been meeting with Murray locals and lobbying the Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash on the issue for some months.
“Recently I met with Sue McGillivray who owns the Gunbower coffee shop ‘The Workshop’ and Sue was desperate for a tower for Gunbower, so it’s so satisfying to deliver it,” Mr Drum said.
“Sue’s electrician husband was also frustrated with the lack of mobile coverage in the region.
“It will be great to deliver coverage to Katunga local businesses including farms and Monichino Wines will be delighted with this,” Mr Drum said.
Despite Labor being in Government for six years, they did not spend one dollar on fixing mobile black spots in regional and remote Australia.
The Turnbull Coalition Team’s $220 million plan to address mobile black spots will ensure regional and remote communities have access to wider and more reliable mobile phone coverage.
Funding for this project has been provided for from within existing budget resources.