While many areas in East Gippsland remain without any mobile coverage at all, the Andrews Labor Government is subsidising mobile phone upgrades in Melbourne suburbs.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said it is appalling that they are focusing on upgrading service levels in the city to 5G when we have areas that have no coverage at all in some of the most fire prone locations in the world.
“It is just not right that Labor has allocated much of its $300 million Connecting Victoria mobile service program to city areas when country communities are still crying out for any mobile phone coverage.
“The bushfires in 2019/20 demonstrated many examples of telecommunications failures and black spots.
“It will be galling to many who live in black spot areas that the government is investing in city coverage upgrades when they have none at all,” said Mr Bull.
While telecommunications are a Federal concern, State Governments in recent years have provided some subsidies to help leverage further investment from the Commonwealth and telecommunications companies in regional Victoria.
“It is just astounding that the Labor Party thinks that we need to subsidise mobile phone coverage upgrades in places like Werribee and Point Cook over and above country areas that have no coverage.
Mr Bull said the Government’s Connecting Victoria tender documents indicate a significant bias towards city areas that should be highly commercial for private companies to invest in, and taxpayer funds should be saved for those areas of country Victoria that don’t attract commercial attention.
“The Government has tender documents that indicate precincts of strategic importance to it, and these include places like Richmond, Brunswick and East Melbourne.
“I’m on the road all the time and like many Gippslanders, I know where the blackspots are – places like Licola, Cabbage Tree Creek, Bonang, Gypsy Point and Goongerah.
Mr Bull said The National’s 25 per cent Regional Infrastructure Guarantee would ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent fairly across regional areas and Melbourne.
“The Nationals will ensure country people get their fair share, and we need to remember this November that Labor will only ever focus on the city.”