Sey­mour still seems to be a fund­ing black spot

Seymour Telegraph - - NEWS - By Gus McCub­bing

Lo­cal res­i­dents have missed out big-time on the Fed­eral Govern­ment’s Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram, ac­cord­ing to the Mem­ber for McEwen Rob Mitchell.

The Fed­eral Govern­ment is in­vest­ing $220 mil­lion of Com­mon­wealth funds across three fund­ing rounds of the Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram ($100 mil­lion for round one, $60 mil­lion for each of rounds two and three).

While another 36 ru­ral and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties re­ceived new or im­proved mo­bile cover­age from the pro­gram in Septem­ber, Mr Mitchell ac­cused the govern­ment of fo­cus­ing its at­ten­tion on seats held by the Lib­eral/Na­tional coali­tion.

‘‘The Black Spot Pro­gram sounded good in the­ory, but it’s ba­si­cally de­liv­ered a pork bar­rel to govern­ment-held seats,’’ he said.

‘‘The last round of Black Spot has de­liv­ered 27 tow­ers to the seat of New Eng­land . . . and as you might know there’s a bloke called Barn­aby Joyce who’s been sit­ting there il­le­gally for a pe­riod of time.

‘‘So when I talk about this govern­ment be­ing morally and eth­i­cally bank­rupt, this is a prime ex­am­ple.’’

Mr Mitchell recog­nised White­heads Creek has ben­e­fited from the pro­gram, but said the fixed wire­less tow­ers around Sey­mour had the ca­pac­ity to hold mo­bile phone in­fra­struc­ture for the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion com­pa­nies and need the sup­port, given that more than 60 per cent of McEwen elec­torate has been burned out in the past 10 years.

‘‘We live in a bush­fire-prone area and we know that th­ese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions are vi­tal,’’ he said.

‘‘The govern­ment’s cri­te­ria for the Black Spots were ma­jor trans­port routes, ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas, and prone to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters . . . but we re­ceived one-anda-half tow­ers.

‘‘The thing I think peo­ple need to do now is to con­tinue to push their telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions providers and get onto their govern­ment MPs and tell them to start pulling their weight.

‘‘You’ve got Na­tional Party sen­a­tors run­ning around say­ing they rep­re­sent the bush, but they haven’t lifted a fin­ger to help the peo­ple of Sey­mour.’’

Rob Mitchell

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