Roundtable tackles regional connectivity issues

Minister for Regional Services Bridget McKenzie and Tasmanian Nationals Senator Steve Martin today held a roundtable discussion on regional communications in Wynyard, Tasmania.

The forum brought together local and national stakeholders to share their experiences and discuss innovative solutions to the challenges of regional telecommunications.

“The roundtable was a terrific opportunity to speak with representatives from peak bodies and interest groups, local governments from the surrounding area and some of the larger businesses in north-west Tasmania,” said Senator Martin.

“The discussion was robust and productive, focusing on current infrastructure, service accessibility and the experiences of regional Australians.

 “We understand the importance of improved connectivity in the regions as it helps drive the local economy through improved local tourism services.”

Under the Liberal National Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP), 46 mobile base stations have been deployed in Tasmania by Optus, Telstra and Vodafone through the first three rounds of the program.

A total $32 million of funding went to infrastructure for Tasmania including $14 million from the Australian Government and $700,000 from the Tasmanian Government. Tasmania received 13 of Telstra’s 4G small cells under round 1 of the program.

Over 1200 square kilometres of new and upgraded handheld coverage has been delivered by the 46 base stations built under the MBSP.

“Hearing from locals, interest groups and businesses, it’s clear just how important reliable telecommunications are for those living and working in regional, rural and remote areas,” said Minister McKenzie.

“Good mobile coverage is essential for public safety, access to education and health services, and economic development for regional business and industry, which is why we are investing more than ever before to improve connectivity.

“With a country as vast as ours, ensuring all Australians have access to high quality communications services is a complex challenge, but one that the Government is committed to addressing through the Mobile Black Spot Program and the NBN rollout.”

“The roundtable is another way the Government is listening to the concerns of regional Australians, and working toward practical and proactive solutions.”

 The Government is also carefully considering the recommendations from the Regional Telecommunications Review and will be responding before 30 March 2019.