Feds, WA cop flak over blackspots

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Adam Poulsen

Fed­eral mem­ber for Du­rack Melissa Price has de­fended the Fed­eral Govern­ment amid crit­i­cism it largely ex­cluded re­gional WA from the third and lat­est round of mo­bile blackspot fund­ing.

Only seven lo­ca­tions in WA out of 106 na­tion­wide were pri­ori­tised, and of those, only one lo­ca­tion — Lake Clifton in the Peel re­gion — is in re­gional WA.

State Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan slammed the de­ci­sion, say­ing the Fed­eral Govern­ment had “shown dis­dain for WA”.

“Our GST share is just the tip of the ice­berg: now WA is be­ing ripped off by the Fed­eral Govern­ment on mo­bile blackspot fund­ing,” she said.

“We’re call­ing on the Fed­eral Govern­ment to take an open and trans­par­ent look at WA’s needs on mo­bile blackspots, and to stump up a fairer share for our State.”

But Ms Price said re­gional WA had re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money in pre­vi­ous stages of fund­ing.

“Over rounds one and two, re­gional WA re­ceived around 25 per cent of the to­tal fund­ing for mo­bile blackspots in Aus­tralia,” she said.

“Be­tween Du­rack and O’Con­nor, the two big coun­try WA elec­torates, there were 170 mo­bile base sta­tions funded.”

Ms Price said Du­rack had “done in­cred­i­bly well out of the mo­bile phone blackspot fund”, hav­ing re­ceived fund­ing for 89 new or up­graded mo­bile base sta­tions over the past three years.

“We have been very for­tu­nate in Du­rack with how many mo­bile base sta­tions the Fed­eral Govern­ment has funded, and crit­i­cism from a Govern­ment that has just an­nounced they aren’t fund­ing any is a lit­tle hol­low,” she said.

Ms Price said Ms MacTier­nan’s crit­i­cism was a “smoke­screen” for the State Govern­ment’s re­cent ad­mis­sion it would not fund any new mo­bile phone base sta­tions for the en­tirety of its term. WAFarm­ers pol­icy ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Grady Pow­ell was also among those to con­demn the lack of fund­ing al­lo­cated for WA.

“To have only seven lo­ca­tions iden­ti­fied as pri­or­ity ar­eas in WA, a State which cov­ers ap­prox­i­mately a third of the coun­try, is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able,” he said.

“It is also 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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.