TWENTY communities across regional SA should see improved mobile phone coverage in coming months receiving funding under the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.
SA has secured 20 of 266 new and upgraded towers announced in Round 2 this week which will deliver new or upgraded coverage to 6500 homes and businesses across Australia.
But the state government is critical only three of nine base stations promised in the Federal election campaign by MPs Tony Pasin, Rowan Ramsey and Jamie Briggs are on the list- Wynarka, Stokes Bay and Marree.
Kalangadoo, Kybybolite, Robertstown, Bute/Alford, Gosse and Ashbourne are still waiting.
Minister for Science and Information Economy Kyam Maher says it is a “broken election promise”.
“Not one of the new base stations will be built in a Federal Labor electorate, despite real safety concerns in places such as Wakefield, where last year’s Pinery bushfire killed two people and threatened the lives of many more,” he said.
He says SA has received a disproportionate number of base stations in the $60 million program for their $1.3m co-investment. In Round 1 Tas received funding for 31 new base stations with a co-contribution of $350,000.
But Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash has hit back saying the state government has confused Round 2 which puts towers in sites selected by mobile network operators with the next round which targets sites nominated by local MPs which are unlikely to ever receive coverage under normal circumstances.
Applications for round 2 were sought early in the year and the federal government remains committed to delivering all Round 3 sites promised.
She says the state government is to blame for just 20 sites being successful with SA having the lowest co-contribution to Round 2 of any of the mainland states. In comparison WA provided $21.8m and Vic $7.9m.
“Under a Federal Labor Government, SA would have received zero towers. Federal Labor does not and never has had any plan to deliver mobile phone coverage to regional SA. In six years of Government it failed to build a single tower nor invest a single cent into mobile phone coverage,” Ms Nash said.
Round 2 tower locations
Eyre Peninsula: Cungena, Farm Beach, Puntabie, Sheringa
Far North: Beltana Station, Blinman, Coward Springs, Innamincka, Parachilna Pub, William Creek and Rawnsley Park Station, Marree
Mid North: Winninowie (Horrocks Pass)
Limestone Coast: Mundulla West
Mallee: Wynarka, Maggea, Mindarie, Pata
Kangaroo Island: Stokes Bay
Fleurieu Peninsula: Parawa