The Nationals WA Candidate for O’Connor John Hassell has welcomed an election commitment from the federal National Party that an additional $60 million will be invested into the Mobile Black Spot Programme.
Mr Hassell said mobile voice and data services were needed to support the growth and prosperity of regional businesses and communities.
“Improving mobile connectivity will be fundamental for social and economic development in regional areas such as O’Connor,” Mr Hassell said.
“Eliminating mobile phone and high-speed internet black spot locations will unlock opportunities for primary producers and businesses previously impacted by a lack of mobile connectivity.
“Agriculture and small business rely on access to an efficient telecommunications network to remain competitive on the global market.”
Mr Hassell said the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme had come on the back of the State Government investing $40 million from Royalties for Regions in 2011-12 to build new phone towers throughout regional WA.
“Prior to this significant Royalties for Regions investment, there had been a lack of funding for new phone towers in regional WA,” Mr Hassell said.
“In 2014-15 the State Government announced a further commitment of $45 million from Royalties for Regions through the Regional Telecommunications Program to keep rolling out new phone towers, bringing total investment to $85 million.
“This investment, in partnership with the Federal Government and industry has leveraged over 266 new phone towers for regional WA.”
Mr Hassell said telecommunications was a significant issue for O’Connor and he would fight to ensure continued investment into the sector.
“There’s plenty of work to be done in addressing mobile black spots, and I encourage anyone with telecommunications issues in O’Connor to contact me so I can work to address them,” Mr Hassell said.