The Nationals WA have accused Alannah MacTiernan of misleading Parliament after a botched last-minute attempt to address mobile blackspot funding.
Ms MacTiernan told Parliament on Tuesday that she had written to Federal Minister Bridget McKenzie to request more time to submit locations to the Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspot Program.
However, The Nationals WA spokesperson for regional telecommunications Martin Aldridge said inquiries with the Federal Minister’s office had revealed that statement to be untrue.
“The Minister for Regional Services’ office advises me they had not received a letter until after Minister MacTiernan made that statement to Parliament, only two days before the deadline,” Mr Aldridge said.
“Minister MacTiernan has misled the Parliament. Worse still, she is failing to secure critical funding to address Western Australia’s telecommunications challenge.”
Mr Aldridge said the Labor Government “had four months to get their act together” and ensure that Western Australia got a fair share of the funding pie.
“Round 4 funding of $25 million is not a lot of money nationally and given WA accounts for one third of Australia’s land mass, we need a State Government that will go in to bat for our interests,” he said.
“Sadly Minister MacTiernan has again been found wanting.”
Mr Aldridge said the Minister’s latest bungle comes after the State Government failed to extend the former Liberal National Government’s Regional Telecommunications Project in two successive budgets.
“WA has the biggest challenge of all states when it comes to telecommunications,” he said.
“That’s why The Nationals in government funded the construction or upgrade of 344 mobile phone towers, and allocated further funding to improve regional WA’s broadband connection.
“I doubt Minister MacTiernan has ever experienced the frustration of living in the bush with unreliable phone and internet coverage, so the issue is not on her priority list.”
Mr Aldridge urged Minister MacTiernan to get her act together to ensure WA gets its fair share of Mobile Blackspot Funding.