The third round of Mobile Black Spot Program has seen the Ballarat Region miss out again, Federal Member for Ballarat Catherine King said today.
“It appears that, once again, the Turnbull government has short-changed regional Australia in favour of their own electorates.
“Round 2 of the program saw no added funding for the Ballarat Region, even though some of our priority areas had suffered fires months before.
“Round 3 has seen us ignored again. What’s worse is that some locations registered under Round 1 in 2015 have no sign of improved coverage despite the government assuring us they would be able to reach mobile towers further south.”
Last year’s damning ANAO Report into Round 1 of this program found that assessment and selection criteria weren’t rigorous enough.
With the announcement of “Government Priority Locations” for Round 3, the Minister for Regional Development Senator Fiona Nash has confirmed that any merit process for ranking mobile black spots in order of community need or priority has all but been abandoned by the Turnbull Government.
Despite promising a competitive process two months ago, this has now been abandoned by the Minister
And even though the Government also promised that the scheme would improve mobile coverage in areas prone to natural disasters, regional electorates held by Labor such as McEwen or Ballarat have missed out.
Not surprisingly, there are three times as many Government Priority Locations in Coalition electorates.
All of the 29 locations that fall in Labor electorates are those that were marginal at the 2016 Federal Election.
The Minister has already been criticised for not providing any further funding for this program in the Budget.
Regional Australians deserve better than this.
A full list of locations is at this link.
MONDAY, 23 MAY 2017