Tourists and residents on Fraser Island will enjoy improved safety and convenience, with two new mobile phone base stations to provide service to the eastern side of the island for the first time, Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien announced today.
The new base stations will be built by Optus at Eugarie and Central Stations Camp Ground, after federal funding was provided through the Liberal National Government's Mobile Black Spot Program.
Mr O'Brien said there previously had been no mobile phone reception on the Eastern Beach of Fraser Island between Eli Creek and Indian Head, which was a significant safety concern.
"Tragically, there has been a number of serious vehicle accidents in this area and emergency services have lost valuable response time because of poor phone reception, so this funding for new base stations will help ensure people can get help when they need it most," Mr O'Brien said.
"About 550,000 international and domestic tourists visit Fraser Island every year and the Eastern Beach is the busiest stretch of road on the island so it will make a significant difference.
"It will also ensure that residents can stay in touch, and that local businesses including tourism operators can benefit from improved telecommunications."
The funding was provided as part of the Government's announcement of an additional $160 million for two new funding rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program, which brings the Liberal National Government total commitment to addressing regional and remote mobile coverage issues to $380 million.
Minster for Regional Services Senator Bridget McKenzie, and Mr O'Brien welcomed today's announcement of a fifth and sixth round of funding for the highly successful program, which will deliver new base stations and better coverage to those areas that need it most.
"This new investment in regional mobile phone infrastructure reaffirms our commitment to connecting all Australians and ensuring that distance is not a disadvantage," said Minister McKenzie.
"I strongly encourage all stakeholders to take advantage of the new rounds under this terrific program and submit an application when we open the competitive assessment process in the coming months."
Rounds 5 and 6 will have a strong focus on improving mobile coverage at public interest premises in regional areas, such as medical centres, schools and tourism facilities.
The new rounds follow the announcement of successful locations under Round 4 of the program this week. Under Round 4,180 new base stations will be deployed across Australia, including 73 base stations specifically targeting coverage issues at public interest sites.
Over the first four rounds, the Mobile Black Spot Program is already delivering 1047 new base stations nationally from $220 million in Commonwealth funding. This has generated a total new investment of over $760 million of regional and remote mobile infrastructure including contributions from state and local governments, mobile network operators, businesses and community organisations.
Base stations under the first three rounds are expected to be operational by 30 June 2019. Round 4 base stations are expected to rollout shortly with the first new base stations being activated by the second half of the year.
More information about the program and the full list of Round 4 locations is available at: www.communications.gov.au/mbsp