Dear Editor,

Participation in the digital world is no longer a luxury, it is an integral part of everyday life. Mobile phones are no longer used just for voice calls but they are now the most popular and most frequently used device to go online.

The use of mobile phones as a form of communication has been embraced by Australia users much faster than telecommunications providers have invested in their infrastructure required to service our regions.

As in incentive to address this divide, our Government has invested $220 million in the Mobile Blackspot Program, partnering with telecommunications companies, State and Local Governments. So far under the program, well over 1,000 base stations Australia wide have been delivered through the first four rounds of funding with further locations as part of round five to be announced soon.

Round four was announced in March this year with Barker receiving funding for ten new base stations; Murtho, Wunkar, Murtho South, Mount Mary, Ettrick, Marama, Tower Rd (Riddoch Hwy), Nildottie, Mypolonga and Compton. Rollout completion for these locations is expected by 30 June 2020.

While Government is not a telecommunication provider we are assisting private service providers with funding for new base stations in rural and regional locations that commercially would never attract this infrastructure.

I was a strong advocate for extending the Mobile Blackspot program beyond the initial three rounds, arguing that our budget should continue to reflect the need to fix mobile coverage issues in regions. I was pleased that the program was extended and we recently committed to rounds five and six which will rollout shortly. I look forward to more locations being announced under these rounds and I will continue to advocate within Government for more funding to address this issue in more places.

Tony Pasin MP

Federal Member for Barker

Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8531 2466