23 October 2023

The Hon Michelle Rowland MP

Minister for Communications

The Hon Kristy McBain MP

Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories

Member for Eden-Monaro 

The Albanese Labor Government is progressing its commitment to improve mobile coverage across Eden-Monaro, with $5.4 million in funding rolling out to support new mobile base stations at priority locations, under the Improving Mobile Coverage Round (IMCR).

A new base station will be built at Dalmeny, Mystery Bay, along the Kings Highway, on the Princes Highway between Batemans Bay and Eden, and Talbingo – subject to local planning approvals, as part of the Government’s co-investment with Telstra.

The new site at Talbingo is also expected to provide coverage improvement along the Snowy Mountains Highway.

The new towers mean local residents and visitors will be able to access more reliable phone coverage, helping them stay connected with family and friends, and run successful local businesses.

The new infrastructure will also ensure motorists travelling through the region have access to essential mobile services in the event of an emergency.

The rollout schedule will be published on the carriers’ websites once the contracts have been executed.

While the IMCR did not deliver a solution for Majors Creek and Carwoola at this stage, Minister McBain will lead community-level discussions to explore the viability of alternative sites with mobile carriers.

These local grants form part of $37.2 million awarded under the IMCR, which attracted $28.8 million in industry co-investment.

Applications were independently assessed and approved by Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communication and the Arts, following a competitive grant process to identify a value for money solution in the area.

This dedicated round was funded in the October 2022 Federal Budget and delivers on the Government’s election commitments to co-invest Mobile Network Operators and Infrastructure Providers to deploy new mobile infrastructure at target locations across Australia.

In addition to this dedicated election commitment round, the Albanese Government is working to improve regional coverage through its $1.1 billion Better Connectivity Plan.

The Plan commits $400 million to expanding mobile coverage and improving communications resilience, including investment to fund future rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program, and $200 million to fund place-based communications solutions through additional rounds of the Regional Connectivity Program.

For more information, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/mbsp.

 Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:

 “The Albanese Government has an ambitious agenda to narrow the digital divide in rural and regional Australia – including by improving mobile coverage.

 “The Improving Mobile Coverage Round is a small part of our Government’s work to improve regional communications, and comes in addition to our $1.1 billion Better Connectivity Plan – the most significant investment in regional communications since the inception of the NBN.”

 Quotes attributable to the Member for Eden-Monaro, the Hon Kristy McBain MP:

 “Access to reliable connectivity is an absolute must for working remotely, accessing education and government services, and for keeping in touch with family and friends.

“That’s why I worked hard with communities across Eden-Monaro to identify where improvements were needed, and why I took these commitments to the 2022 election.

“I’m delighted that we’re progressing a number of these mobile base stations with $5.4 million funding, because this will have a huge impact for residents and businesses in these communities.

“We still need to undertake additional work in some of these priority areas, which is why I’ll continue to engage with the community and telcos to identify how we move forward.

“This includes working with the Carwoola community to identify a possible site for a future upgrade, given feedback from the Department that it had little confidence that the site identified by the carrier was viable.

“We are also considering options to test further solutions at Majors Creek, as a result of Department advice that there is a reasonable prospect of getting a value for money outcome for the community.

“While it’s disappointing this program hasn’t delivered successful co-investment at Wee Jasper, I’ll keep working with the mobile carriers to explore other avenues to achieve coverage improvements locally.”