The Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England Barnaby Joyce has included the long awaited tower at Copeton Dam among four which will receive improved mobile phone coverage in the New England electorate if the Coalition is reelected as part of an additional $60 million commitment to extend the successful Mobile Black Spot Program announced on Tuesday.
“New mobile base stations will be constructed at Copeton Dam; Fig Tree Hill, south of Inverell; Kingstown; and Baldersleigh, west of Guyra, providing benefits to emergency service operators, businesses, and residents,” Mr Joyce said.
“The Coalition Government understands the importance of mobile coverage in regional and remote areas of Australia. That is why we are committing an additional $60 million on top of the $160 million already invested in mobile black spots, bringing the Coalition’s total investment to $220 million.
“We have selected these areas because they have been overlooked by mobile network operators due to commercial factors. A re-elected Turnbull-Joyce government will invite mobile network operators to bid for this new funding to provide coverage in the four identified locations.
“The Coalition is committed to improving mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters, as well as addressing unique mobile coverage problems such as areas with high seasonal demand.
“The active cooperation of the industry in the Mobile Black Spots Program to date has been strong with 499 new or upgraded base stations covering around 3,000 black spots already rolled out under the Coalition Government. This includes 28 new and upgraded base stations in the New England Electorate.”
Mr Joyce said this is the most significant one-time increase in mobile network coverage to regional and remote Australia delivered by a single public funding program in the history of mobile communications in Australia.
“We’ve been working and campaigning for these towers for six to seven years,” Inverell Council May or, Cr Paul Harmon said.