The Premier’s recent announcement regarding mobile phone coverage in the Limestone Coast attracted significant media coverage, and you could be forgiven for thinking that as a result 27 new mobile phone towers will be built across the region.
After all the media coverage was gushing, the announcement was subject to very little scrutiny leading one local politician to claim publicly that as a result of this announcement we ‘will see the delivery of 27 new mobile base stations across the region’. Clear cut right? Wrong!
Now, I support rolling out additional towers, I expect everyone does. I welcome the State Government’s announcement and Telstra knows their proposal has my full support, but the plan to build 27 new base stations in our region will only happen with significant Federal Government support, almost $14 million from the Regional Connectivity Program to be specific.
I hope the State Labor Government has received assurances from Canberra that this funding is on its way otherwise no towers will be built and the recent announcement will amount to nothing more than a cruel hoax.
Forgive my cynicism but the Federal Labor Government’s track record on this topic is not great.
The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Governments invested $0 nationally and delivered zero new mobile phone towers. More recently, since being elected 18 months ago, the current Albanese Labor Government has failed to deliver any additional mobile phone towers in Barker. In fact, Round 6 of the Mobile Black Spot Program saw the Albanese Labor Government roll out hand-picked locations, none of which were in Barker meaning the Limestone Coast was completely excluded from millions of dollars in that program.
In stark contrast, rounds 1 to 5A of the Mobile Black Spot Program, under the Coalition delivered more than 30 new towers across Barker alone.
We are all now waiting in the hope that the Albanese Labor Government supports Telstra’s proposal but to claim these towers are a done deal is sadly either naive or deliberately misleading.
Tony Pasin MP
Member for Barker