Federal Member For Banks
Shadow Minister for Communications

Shadow Minister For Communications – Media Release – Albanese Government Abolishes Mobile Black Spot Program

The Albanese Government has abolished the Mobile Black Spot Program and provided no ongoing funding for other key regional and peri-urban communications infrastructure programs.

Buried deep in the Budget papers, it states the funding for communications programs will fall, including:

“…the conclusion of the Mobile Black Spot Program. *1

The Budget papers confirm that funding for the Mobile Black Spot Program ceases in 2026/27, with zero dollars allocated for 2027/28.

Furthermore, the Government allocated no funding in 2027/28 for the Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia or the Peri-Urban Mobile Program. Like the Mobile Black Spot Program, there is no funding for these programs beyond 2026/27.

The Better Connectivity Plan covers funding for a range of programs including for on-farm connectivity and the Regional Tech Hub. The Peri-Urban program provides funding to improve mobile connectivity in bushfire priority areas along the edges of Australia’s major cities.

Shadow Communications Minister David Coleman said the lack of future funding while axing the Mobile Black Spot Program shows the Albanese Government is not serious about connectivity for the regions or outer suburban areas.

“The Albanese Government used the Mobile Black Spot Program for political purposes in the lead up to the last election when they made numerous promises for Labor seats,” Mr Coleman said.

“It’s no surprise that the Auditor-General carried out an investigation into Labor’s Round 6 funding of the MBSP and we look forward to his report on that affair, later this month.”

The Budget papers also reveal plans by the Labor Government to ramp up funding for mobile connectivity just in time for the coming election year, before it falls away and then comes to a grinding halt.

Funding the Peri-Urban Mobile Program is forecast to jump from just $700,000 in 2023/24 to $30.5 million in 2024/25, the election year. Funding for the Better Connectivity Plan will more than double in the lead up to the election from $101.8 million in 2023/24 to $228.4 million in 2024/25. Funding for the Mobile Black Spot Program will nearly triple ahead of the poll day, from $17.5 million in 2023/24 to $45.9 million in 2024/25. But all three programs receive zero funding in 2027/28. *2

“It’s clear that the Labor Party is once again lining up to use telecommunications funding for blatant political purposes ahead of the coming election,” Mr Coleman said.

“Improving connectivity for people in both the bush and those living on the outskirts of major cities is critical and shouldn’t be at the whim of the Albanese Government’s political strategy.

“The Minister for Communications needs to explain why she is abolishing the Mobile Black Spot Program while failing to provide long-term funding for other mobile connectivity programs that so many Australians rely on.”

*1 Source: Budget Paper 1 – p.220

*2 Source – Department PBS – p.70

 

Shadow Minister for Communications
Member for Banks
Hon David Coleman MP