‘Don’t hang up on the regions’, Katter’s plea for more telecommunications funding in the Federal Budget

Mar 4, 2022

‘Don’t hang up on the regions’, Katter’s plea for more telecommunications funding in the Federal Budget

Mar 4, 2022

KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter, has written to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg requesting that the Federal Budget contain a significantly increased allocation for rural and regional telecommunications services and infrastructure.

The Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) MP said it was probably the biggest issue facing regional and remote Australia and must be funded seriously by the Federal Government.

“The lack of phone or internet service is the number one issue on people’s lips whether I’m in the rural and remote areas like Einasleigh, Cloncurry, Julia Creek or Doomadgee, or on the coast at Mission Beach, Fishery Falls, Forrest Beach, Upper Stone, Cowley Beach, or Japoonvale/Silkwood, or the Atherton Tablelands at, Dimbulah/Mutchilba, Speewah, Danbulla, Innot Hot Springs, or Atherton,” Mr Katter said.

“We’ve been screaming out continuously at the Federal Government and at the major telcos to improve the service and to fund upgrades of mobile towers.”

With business increasingly being operated online and from home offices, Mr Katter said improved telecommunications services would boost productivity.

“Poor service severely impacts on business owners’ ability to conduct business and the safety of residents at home or working on farms. It drives residents out of the area and makes life difficult and risky for those who stay,” Mr Katter wrote in his letter to the Treasurer.

“Also, Accidents frequently occur on rural properties and roads, and without the ability to call emergency services, the risk of injury and death is much higher.

“These problems just indicate further why the sale and privatisation of Telstra by the major parties was a national disaster that will continue to impact generations to come.”

Fishery Falls Holiday Park owner, David Butteriss, said the length of time it takes telcos and the Federal Government to fund telecommunications upgrades is extremely frustrating.

“People don’t want to stay in a location that doesn’t have enough mobile or internet service,” he said.

“I am constantly spending money on boosters so the people in our caravan park can have better service, but it drops out all the time.  

“We are only 32km from the centre of Cairns, with the main NBN line running through town and yet the major telcos haven’t as yet upgraded the mobile phone infrastructure.”

Hinchinbrook MP, Nick Dametto said the constant pleas from constituents that telecommunications services are not good enough indicates there’s a shortfall of funding.

“We are being treated like second class citizens in regional and north Queensland,” he said.

“We keep getting new infrastructure and areas fixed up and then straight away problems arise in other localities. This indicates to me that the telcos and Federal Government are not evening scratching the surface and need to invest more.”