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The Nationals Senator for New South Wales John Williams says he would seek funding for mobile phone black spots in the New England region following today’s release of the Coalition plan.

Senator Williams said if the Coalition wins government, it will invest $100 million to address mobile phone black spots across Australia including building hundreds of much needed base stations.

He said he and the Nationals candidate for New England Barnaby Joyce have had representations from communities about poor mobile phone service and he is pleased to see the Coalition willing to address some of these problems.

Senator Williams said the first one that comes to mind is the lack of decent coverage for Gilgai and Copeton Dam.

“Copeton Dam attracts up to 100,000 visitors a year, and with visitors comes accidents and regrettably some fatalities.

There is always a delay in alerting emergency services because of the abysmal mobile coverage.

Of the $100 million, $20 million will be set aside for a Mobile Black Spot Program to address unique mobile coverage problems, such as locations with high seasonal demand. Copeton Dam would seem to fit this category.

Mobile phone coverage is also poor in some areas between Inverell and Glen Innes, and the Ebor community would also be keen to seek a solution to their problems.

I am sure there are many more black spots throughout New England.

The Coalition will also work with the NBN to co-locate new mobile phone base stations with many of the fixed wireless broadband towers that are being rolled out across regional Australia.

People should remember the Howard government had made the elimination of mobile phone black spots a national priority, but Labor abolished the $2.4 billion that the Coalition had put aside to upgrade communications in regional Australia”, Senator Williams said.

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