JMR with Shadow Cabinet Secretary, Marise Payne

Labor is already deserting Western Sydney, this time by axing a funding program for job-creating 5G technology projects.

The federal government will discontinue Round 2 of the successful Australian 5G Innovation Initiative, first established by the Coalition Government in 2021, cutting $20 million from the program.

The grant program would have provided businesses in the Western Parkland City with the opportunity to trial and test the benefits of 5G.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said Labor had turned their backs on local jobs.

“The Coalition Government understood that harnessing the latest technology through the Western Sydney City Deal would make our communities better places to live and work,” Senator Payne said.

“Under Round 1 of this program, we invested $2 million into upgrading the world-class Moorebank intermodal in Liverpool, creating jobs and making it easier for freight to get to consumers.

“With Australia facing significant economic headwinds, Labor shouldn’t be making it harder for businesses to grow and invest, yet this decision does just that.

“Stripping away this dedicated funding also undermines the progress made under the Western Sydney City Deal, which has seen record investments in the Western Sydney Airport, local roads and community infrastructure projects.

“If Labor is willing to abandon this successful program, what’s next on Labor’s Western Sydney hit list?”

Shadow Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Sarah Henderson, said the Albanese Government’s funding cut demonstrated a profound failure to understand the importance of 5G innovation to jobs and the digital economy.

“Round 1 of the Australian 5G Innovation Initiative provided $20 million for 19 projects across key sectors including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transport, and education, helping businesses and other organisations tap into the productivity-boosting applications of 5G.  These applications ranged from a 5G remote controlled firefighting tank to 5G enabled livestock counting to 5G powered autonomous cargo vehicles at Moorebank Logistics Park,” Senator Henderson said.

“The Albanese Government’s decision to shut down this program not only damages much needed 5G innovation which drives jobs and productivity, but shows that Labor is living in the dark ages.

“Labor has demonstrated it has no understanding of the importance of 5G technology to Australia’s digital economy.

“With $2 million from Round 2 of the Australian 5G Innovation Initiative set aside for projects in western Sydney, Labor’s Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, has also shown a reckless disregard for tech jobs and innovation in western Sydney.

“When last in government, Labor botched the NBN rollout and failed to fund one mobile base station upgrade.  At a time when so many businesses are working hard to recover from the pandemic, they don’t deserve this. I call on Prime Minister Albanese to stand up for tech jobs and reinstate the Australian 5G Innovation Initiative,” Senator Henderson concluded.

27 July 2022

Media contacts:
Senator Payne: William Spence – 0438 206 222
Senator Henderson: Stephanie Hunt – 0429 931 151