After a delay of nearly five months which created unnecessary uncertainty for communities across regional Australia, the Albanese Government has finally confirmed the delivery of round 2 of the Coalition’s Regional Connectivity Program (RCP).
The 93 projects include the following in my patron seats of Bendigo, Ballarat and Indi:
- Deployment of seven new macro mobile sites and fibre backhaul to the east of Bendigo at Fosterville Mine, Axedale, Goornong, Knowsley, Colbinabbin, Toolleen Sports Club and Heathcote Raceway, to be delivered by Telstra supported by $1.113 million of Commonwealth funding (Bendigo);
- A new macro mobile site at Goorambat in northern Victoria providing improved handheld coverage to the area, to be delivered by Telstra supported by $232,400 of Commonwealth funding (Indi);
- A new macro cell site and required fibre backhaul in Tylden to improve coverage along the Kyneton to Trentham roadway, along the Calder Highway and along the nearby railway line, delivered by Telstra, supported by $479,000 of Commonwealth funding (Bendigo/Ballarat); and
- A new macro cell mobile site, providing improved handheld coverage to the Tarrawingee area, delivered by Telstra supported by $518,000 of Commonwealth funding (Indi).
These investments represent the hard work of the Coalition when in government and I trust that the federal members for Ballarat, Bendigo and Indi won’t be attempting to take the credit for them.
This total investment of $137 million under round 2 of the RCP builds on the $117 million the Coalition delivered under round 1 of the RCP. Funding for one project, a mobile communications upgrade on Christmas Island, has been reduced by $2.8 million which the minister needs to explain.
These connectivity projects are vital for families and businesses in regional Victoria. Labor’s failure to confirm this funding for almost five months demonstrates not only mismanagement by the Minister for Communications but a blatant disregard for the needs of regional Australia. Michelle Rowland needs to get out of Sydney and start putting the needs of regional communities first.
“Labor went to the election with a plan to cut $155 million from regional communications spending committed by the Coalition. With Labor planning savage cuts to regional funding programs in the upcoming Budget, it is clear that Labor could not care less about regional Australia,” Senator Henderson said.
13 October 2022