The Andrews Labor Government announced that it has walked away from the Commonwealth Mobile Black Spot Programme, in favour of its own system. The $11 million planned for the third round of the Commonwealth program will instead be redirected to the as-yet untested state program.
This new program is simply moving existing money around, with no new funding commitments for regional Victorians. In the same week, Minister for Innovation Philip Dalidakis claimed that “there will always be towns that will not be able to get coverage.” Minister Dalidakis’ comments show an unacceptable attitude towards telecommunications outside metropolitan areas.
“We shouldn’t be shooting for mediocrity here. We have to lift our ambitions. If the minister is deciding which regional areas receive telecommunications services, perhaps he will also decide which urban areas receive the fruits of regional areas’ labour, like food,” said Brett Hosking, Victorian Farmers Federation Vice President.
Telecommunications have become essential services. Beyond personal use, mobile phone voice and data are key resources for farm businesses. The VFF Telecommunications Survey found that ma...