Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland (Photo: Facebook)

May 24, 2024

The Federal Government has rejected claims the Mobile Black Spot Program has been axed.

On Monday, Member for Flynn Colin Boyce said Budget papers showed funding for the Mobile Black Spot Program would finish in 2026-27, with zero dollars allocated for 2027-28.

However, a government spokesperson said on Friday the Portfolio Budget Statements showed the funding now comes from the five-year Better Connectivity Plan, rather than as an individual line item in the Budget papers.

“The Mobile Black Spot Program is an important program that continues to support regional, remote, and First Nations communities through co-funding new and improved mobile connectivity,” Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said.

“The program has not been cut, and we are delivering funding to the program through our $1.1 billion Better Connectivity Plan.

“This is a separate appropriation line in the Budget Papers to the funding of earlier rounds of the MBSP (Rounds 1 to 5A) and the government’s election commitment funding.

“The government has already delivered a number of program rounds through this Better Connectivity Plan funding; including Round 7 of the MBSP, Round 3 of the Regional Connectivity Program, the Telecommunications Disaster Resilience Innovation Program, Round 1 of the On Farm Connectivity Program, the Broadcasting Resilience Program, an extension to the Regional Tech Hub services, and the National Audit of Mobile Coverage.

“Further funding is available in the Better Connectivity Plan for new rounds of the MBSP, including Round 8. The government expects to open this round later this year.

“In addition, the government has established the 2024 Regional Telecommunications Review to examine the adequacy of regional Australia’s telecommunications, including hearing from people in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

“The government has also been consulting publicly over the past six months on modernising the universal services arrangements.

“While this work is ongoing, the government continues to deliver on its commitments through the Better Connectivity Plan, including further rounds of the MBSP.”


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