Western Division misses out on black spots support

NSW Farmers has cautiously welcomed $92 million allocated to NSW for upgrading or building 144 mobile base stations to eliminate mobile black spots.

However the peak farming group in NSW has questioned the lack of spending in the Western Division of NSW.
 
The funding will address 795 black spots in NSW as part of 3000 being addressed nationally.
 
NSW Farmers telecommunications spokesman Anthony Gibson said: "This announcement is a positive start to address a much needed investment in the economies and communities of rural Australia.”
 
"It is good to see Vodafone securing some tenders which will provide an alternative carrier for consumers.
 
"However, the lack of new or upgraded base stations for Western NSW is disappointing.
 
"Mobile black spots are a frustrating reality for many farmers and their families living in regional and remote communities - both in terms of utilising the phone and accessing the data network which is a real hindrance for business.
 
"For the areas that will receive funding, the announcement is an important step towards equality of access with metropolitan areas.
 
"Improved communication enables the take up of efficient and modern business practice, improves safety in remote areas and is important for overcoming the social isolation. It is essential if communities are to thrive in the bush," he said.
 
NSW Farmers has been advocating for an expansion of the base station footprint for many years.
 
NSW Farmers members contributed heavily to the black spot database that underpinned the final federal government decisions on funding allocation. It also met with the Federal Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull in 2014 about the results of its 2014 telecommunications survey.
 
On the Western Division of NSW allocation Mr Gibson said: "It is unfortunate that not a single new base station was funded in an area that extends to approximately a quarter of the state."
 
"There will not be one new base station funded between Broken Hill and Walgett, a distance of more than 850km."
 
NSW Farmers will closely monitor the roll out of round 1 of this program and how well it addresses the nominated black spots in each region.
 
Funding is being contributed by federal and state governments to the program, as well as Telstra and Vodafone.
 
ends

26 June 2015

Contact: Michelle Jacobs

Phone: 1300 794 000

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