Labor’s Mobile Black Spot Funding Referred To The Auditor-General

Shadow Communications Minister David Coleman has referred Round 6 of the Mobile Black Spot Program to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) for investigation under s.25 of the Auditor General Act 1997.

Mr Coleman said the circumstances related to the funding allocation by the Minister’s office warranted a full review by the Auditor-General’s office.

The Mobile Black Spot Program is designed to provide funding to improve mobile coverage in areas outside of metropolitan Australia. Funding applications for Round 6 of the Mobile Black Spot Program opened on 2 February 2023, eight months after the election of the Albanese Government.

In this Round, the Communications Minister personally selected all 54 locations to receive funding. None of the locations were chosen based on departmental advice.

Of the 54 locations chosen by Minister Rowland, three-quarters were in Labor electorates, despite Labor holding just a third of regional seats. In New South Wales, 100% of the 27 locations chosen by the Minister were in Labor electorates. In Victoria, all three selected locations were in ALP seats.

Mr Coleman said the time had come for a probe into the basis the Government used for the selection of this critical mobile service infrastructure.

“It is impossible to argue that 74% of the need for improved mobile coverage in regional Australia is in Labor electorates,” Mr Coleman said. “It is also impossible to argue that 100% of the need in New South Wales and Victoria was purely in Labor electorates.

“I firmly believe there is merit in a full investigation into this matter by the ANAO and I call on the Minister to fully cooperate with any requests from the Auditor-General’s office.”

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