Government Mobile Black Spot Program plagued with delays

The Minister for Regional Communications needs to explain why the Hampton base station in Maranoa, that was promised, has not yet been delivered.

In Senate Estimates last week, the Department of Communications released a list of locations where new mobile base stations have been funded but are not yet operational.

“More than three years after promises have been made, there are currently 167 or nearly 20% of the promised base stations not yet on air.

“This includes base stations promised in Round 1, more than four years ago,” Labor Spokesperson for Regional Communications Stephen Jones MP said.

Linda Little, Labor’s Candidate for Maranoa said “while there are 167 stations not on air, Hampton was a particularly bad black spot on a busy national highway. This station was promised in round 2 of the program and the Member for Maranoa needed to accept responsibility”.

It is a huge let down for locals in Hampton that this base station has not yet been delivered.

“A Promise have been made by the Morrison Government to residents in Hampton and not kept.

Mr Jones said, “Given these delays, it is baffling that the Morrison Government is pushing ahead with a further round of the program when base stations from Round 4 are barely settled.

“This can only be a clumsy attempt to pork barrel regional electorates in the lead up to the Federal Election.

“Locals should be on notice that any promises made now by the Morrison Government will not be delivered for 2-3 years, or longer.

“Any locations promised by MPs during the formal election period cannot be acted upon. The caretaker conventions prohibit any decisions being made which would bind an incoming Government.

“Nearly 20% of mobile base stations from Rounds 1, 2 & 3 and 100% of base stations from round 4 are not yet operational, raising doubts about Minister McKenzie’s claims that all base stations under the first three rounds will be operational by 30 June.

Round 1 499 31
Round 2 266 65
Round 3 102 71
Round 4 180 180

“The Government’s mobile black spot program has been troubled with poor program design, disappointing community outcomes and delays.

In 2016, the Australian National Audit Office issued a damning report on the Government’s handling of Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Program and identified numerous flaws in the programs design and administration.

“The Coalition cannot claim to be delivering for regional and rural Australia, when many of the promises they have made remain unfulfilled,” Mr Jones said.

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