Program to fixing mobile blackspots in outback NT

Residents of Manyallaluk have received mobile phone and fixed broadband services thanks to a three-year, $30 million co-investment program between the NT Government and Telstra.

Manyallaluk is about 100 km north-east of Katherine and is home to about 100 people.

Both the NT Government and Telstra have each committed$5 million per year over three years to the program that will build at least eight new mobile base stations in remote communities within the Territory.

The community of Barunga has also benefitted from the program and now has a fixed broadband service, further to its previous constructed mobile service, which will help provide new economic opportunities for locals. 

Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo said the agreement with Telstra has been integral to the government’s pursuit of reliable telecommunications infrastructure in remote communities. 

“The NT Government, in conjunction with Telstra, is providing people living in the bush with the same access to telecommunication services as those in our cities,” Ms Uibo said.

“The provision of this telecommunications infrastructure will provide the people of Manyallaluk and Barunga with greater capacity to develop businesses and gain access to economic opportunities.

“Access to mobile and broadband services allows families to more easily stay in touch, which is so important for our remote and regional communities. If an emergency were to arise, mobile phone coverage can play a major role in getting people the care they need, it’s a wonderful development for the communities of Manyallaluk and Barunga,” Ms Uibo said. 

“I am happy to confirm that Santa Teresa, Kaltukatjara, Minyerri and Yarralin will also receive both mobile phone and fixed broadband services before the end of the year.”

Minister for Corporate and Information Services Lauren Moss will be in Canberra tomorrow to hold a range of meetings with Federal Government Ministers and Senators.

Minister Moss will use the visit to put the case for more Federal Government investment in telecommunications in remote and regional Territory communities as well as tourism infrastructure.

The Minister will meet with Fiona Nash, Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Local Government and Territories, to discuss regional and remote telecommunications.

“All Territorians are entitled to access to high quality services. Investment in telecommunications will create jobs and economic opportunities and improve access to health and education services,” Minister Moss said.

"I will be talking to Minister Nash about the importance of ensuring regional and remote Territorians have the same access to services as other Australians.

"I'll be updating her on the $30 million co-investment program that the Territory Government is rolling out with Telstra, a program that is ensuring some of our most remote communities have access to mobile and broadband services.

“The Federal Government has committed to developing Northern Australia and to Closing the Gap on Aboriginal Australian disadvantage – investment in telecommunications is integral to achieving both of these.” 

Minister Moss will discuss the following issues with Minister Nash:

1.       That more of the Australian Government's mobile blackspot program’s funds be allocated to the Territory. This is also an important safety issue for tourists travelling in remote parts of the Territory.

2.       Our proposal to deliver the NBN broadband to 34 NT communities via optic fibre, rather than the technically inferior satellite service, which can be unreliable.

3.       Reliable land line voice services, so that when satellite services are down people still have voice communications and that pay phones, in remote and regional communities, be maintained.

"I'll also take the opportunity to thank Minister Nash for the Federal Government's $8 million investment into the new $18 million indoor netball stadium in Darwin, the tender for which is expected to be awarded at the end of the month,” Minister Moss said.

“The new stadium will play an important role in the future development of netball in the NT by providing a high performance training and playing environment for Territory netballers and will enhance the Territory’s ability to host national and international netball fixtures.”

Minister Moss will also meet with the Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steve Ciobo to again press for Federal Government investment to upgrade tourism infrastructure in Kakadu.

"While the natural wonders in the park are as stunning as ever, the tourist infrastructure is in need of upgrade - this is about making the park more accessible to more people for longer which will create local jobs,” she said.

“Enhancing tourist facilities in Kakadu will provide a significant economic boost to Top End tourism operators who are a key cornerstone of our economy.

“Kakadu is a Federal Government Park and an important tourism asset in the Territory. Tourism operators tell us that sealing roads to key attractions, like Gunlom and Jim Jim Falls, would extend the tourist season and attract more visitors to the park.”  

Minister Moss will also be meeting with Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg and Minister for Sport Greg Hunt. She will also take the opportunity to promote the Million Dollar Fish at a breakfast for the newly formed Parliamentary Friends of Recreational Fishing hosted by the Minister’s Federal colleague Luke Gosling.