I’ve been Working hard for Wannon to improve communications including mobile phone coverage.

The former Rudd-Gillard Government did not spend one dollar to improve mobile phone reception in country areas in the last six years. Regional communities in Wannon such as Moonambel, Landsborough, Digby, Chetwynd, and Tarrayounkyan have been left with little or no reception.

The Sinclair Review into Regional Telecommunications found that mobile phone coverage is the number one telecommunications issue in regional Australia and recommended the Government introduce a co‐investment program with state and local government to improve mobile coverage.

The former Gillard Government spent billions on providing faster broadband for those in metropolitan areas who already have good broadband services, while ignoring rural areas that still have no mobile phone reception.

For metropolitan residents mobile phone reception has become an essential service like electricity or mains water. Lack of reception in some areas of Wannon is now hampering productivity and investment in our region and this is extremely concerning.

For the cost of rolling out the NBN over one week, many mobile phone blackspots could be fixed across regional Australia. The Howard Government invested $145 million to improve mobile coverage in regional Australia but since Labor was elected in 2007, not one additional cent was been invested by the government in the mobile phone network in the regions.

Our plan for broadband services is resulting in real improvements in speeds of regional areas and we’re also making it more affordable for local families and businesses. We have already commenced building the NBN fixed wireless network for many of our more remote communities in Western Victoria – providing broadband to those who currently have the worst services.

The Coalition’s Plan for Fast Broadband and an Affordable NBN is providing Wannon households and businesses with a better deal. Our plan will provide average broadband speeds five times what we have now – and it will be more affordable for regional residents and businesses than Labor’s NBN. Most importantly it will prioritise regional areas with substandard internet services.

The Coalition will:

  • Focus on improving mobile phone reception in rural and regional areas
  • Ensure households and businesses can get access to fast broadband by the end of 2016, with download speeds five times today’s average
  • Build a broadband network two-thirds the cost of Labor’s network – that’s means a less expensive NBN for regional consumers who will save about $300 a year
  • Prioritise regional areas with substandard internet services for priority roll out
  • Ensure prices are kept affordable by setting a wholesale price cap for NBN services across Australia