Regional Western Australia will miss out on funding from the latest round of the Federal Government Mobile Black Spot Program, a move that has been criticised by industry and the State Government.
Of the 106 available locations nation-wide, only seven were appointed for Western Australia. Of this number, one location is in the regions, while the remaining six are located within the urban fringe.
WAFarmers Policy Executive Officer Grady Powell said the move by the Federal Government was unacceptable.
“People living in rural and regional areas have come to expect the same level of service afforded to those living in metropolitan areas, so to have only seven locations identified as priority areas in Western Australia, a state which covers approximately a third of the country, is completely unacceptable,” he said.
“It is also very disappointing that the Federal Government did not consult with the State Government on the location of priority areas, as it had done in previous rounds of the program.
“Nobody knows the issues within a state better than its government and constituents, so the lack of consultation on WA’s telecommunications needs is a real oversight.”
Mr Powell said investment into WA regional telecommunications was critical to the smooth operation of primary industry businesses.
“Access to telecommunications has become a necessity for rural businesses, with more and more agricultural technologies and machinery being reliant on efficient services to improve productivity and profitability,” he said.
“In addition to facilitating everyday business activities, it also underpins basic communications such as the ability to make emergency calls, access education and interact socially.
“Moving forward, we need a commitment from the Federal Government that it will consult with the State Government on future program funding so that WA’s telecommunications needs can be improved and met.”
A full list of the priority locations can be found here: http://bit.ly/2A6F8Pe
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].