ALBANESE GOVERNMENT ABOLISHES MOBILE BLACK SPOT PROGRAM

The Albanese Government has abolished the Mobile Black Spot Program and provided no ongoing funding for other key regional and peri-urban communications infrastructure programs.

Budget papers have revealed that the funding for communications programs will cease, stating, “…the conclusion of the Mobile Black Spot Program” with no funding allocated past the 2026/27 year.

Furthermore, the Government allocated no funding in 2027/28 for the Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia or the Peri-Urban Mobile Program. Like the Mobile Black Spot Program, there is no funding for these programs beyond 2026/27.

The Better Connectivity Plan covers funding for a range of programs including for on-farm connectivity and the Regional Tech Hub.

The news comes as the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) Report released last week, highlights the political nature of the funding allocations made by the Albanese Labor Government in Round 6 of the Mobile Black Spot program. ANAO has found that 74 per cent of the “target locations” selected by the Minister in Round 6 were in Labor electorates and of the 54 “target locations”, 44 of these were in marginal seats. None of the hand selected locations were in Barker.

Not only did Labor use the program to fund mobile phone towers for political purposes but now they’ve scrapped the program altogether from 2027.

In another blatant example of political pork barrelling in the lead up to the next federal election, funding for the Better Connectivity Plan will more than double in the lead up to the election from $101.8 million in 2023/24 to $228.4 million in 2024/25 and funding for the Mobile Black Spot Program will nearly triple ahead of election day, from $17.5 million in 2023/24 to $45.9 million in 2024/25 before funding for these programs ends after the election.

The lack of future funding while axing the Mobile Black Spot Program shows the Albanese Government is not serious about improving connectivity for the Riverland, Mallee and Murraylands.

It’s clear that the Labor Party is once again lining up to use telecommunications funding for blatant political purposes ahead of the coming election instead of addressing the areas in desperate need of improved telecommunications.

Improving connectivity for people in our regional communities and major highways is critical and shouldn’t used for political pork barrelling.

Albanese needs to explain why his Government has abolished the Mobile Black Spot Program while failing to provide long-term funding for other mobile connectivity programs that so many Australians rely on.

The untrustworthy and incompetent Albanese Labor Government stands in stark contrast to the Coalitions transparent and competent management of the Mobile Black Spot Program over almost a decade.

Under the former Coalition Government, our programs helped fund 30 mobile base stations and 6 small cells in Barker.

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