Federal Member For Banks
Shadow Minister for Communications

Information Commissioner Orders Review into Rowland FOI Refusal on Mobile Black Spot Program

Auditor-General Includes Mobile Black Spot Program in His 2023/24 Audit Agenda

The Australian Information Commissioner has ordered a Freedom of Information review into a refusal by the Communications Minister to provide relevant documents relating to her decision to hand-pick locations under Round 6 of the Mobile Black Spot Program. 74% of the locations chosen by Minister Rowland were in Labor seats.

Shadow Communications Minister David Coleman had sought documents from the Minister’s Office earlier this year, to shine a light on the political decisions made to preference Labor seats for funding to improve local mobile coverage.

Mr Coleman said when the Minister’s Office refused to provide any relevant documents, such as emails, memos or encrypted messages between the Minister and her staff, he referred the matter to the independent Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

“The Information Commissioner has now advised that it will commence a review into that decision and has requested the Minister provide information to support the action,” Mr Coleman said.

“The public deserves a full explanation into how the Labor Party preferenced ALP seats over other deserving communities across Australia who need improved mobile coverage.”

Mr Coleman said the decision to review the Minister’s FOI refusal came on top of the Auditor-General’s decision to include Round 6 of the Mobile Black Spot Program in his 2023/24 Audit Work Program.

“The walls are closing in on Labor on this issue. Minister Rowland must cooperate with all investigations into her handling of the Mobile Black Spot Program, so that Australians can know all the facts about this sordid story.”

The Hon. David Coleman MP
Federal Member for Banks
Shadow Minister for Communications