Jones: Fed­eral bud­get falls short

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Fed­eral Op­po­si­tion re­gional com­mu­ni­ca­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive Stephen Jones said he be­lieved the fed­eral bud­get has re­vealed a gov­ern­ment fail­ure to ad­dress re­gional com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Mr Jones said there was no ‘new’ money for mo­bile-phone black spots and noth­ing in the bud­get to im­prove Na­tional Broad­band Net­work ser­vices.

“Just a day be­fore the bud­get Mem­ber for Lyne David Gille­spie said he hoped to see new money for ad­di­tional mo­bile black spots. We now know that hope is dashed,” he said.

“The mes­sage re­gional Aus­tralians can take away from the bud­get is that the Lib­eral and Na­tional par­ties ap­pear to have given up.

“They ap­pear to have aban­doned the Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram and any at­tempts to ad­dress the grow­ing dig­i­tal di­vide be­tween urban and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.” Mr Jones said the gov­ern­ment was happy to sup­port big busi­ness with ‘an $80-bil­lion tax hand­out’ but ‘failed to pro­vide any new money to ad­dress con­nec­tiv­ity is­sues across re­gional Aus­tralia’.

“With no new in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing, no new fund­ing for mo­bile black spots and the on­go­ing legacy of faults, fail­ures and poor ser­vice thanks to Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull’s cop­per-nbn, re­gional Aus­tralians are right to ask: what’s in this bud­get for them?” he said.

Mr Jones said Re­gional Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Se­na­tor Brid­get Mcken­zie had de­liv­ered ‘noth­ing’ in the bud­get.

“Nor have her Na­tional Party col­leagues who have re­peat­edly called for the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram but come up empty,” he said.

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