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$50 million to boost coverage in regional NSW

$50 million to boost coverage in regional NSW

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro today announced the NSW Government will invest at least $50 million to improve phone and data connectivity in rural and regional NSW.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro today announced the NSW Government will invest at least $50 million to improve phone and data connectivity in rural and regional NSW.

Mr Barilaro said the Connecting Country Communities fund is part of the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund announced in the 2017/18 NSW Budget.

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Steph Cooke with Parliamentary Secretary for Southern NSW Bronnie Taylor, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and local community leaders

“For people living in regional and remote NSW, poor mobile and slow internet coverage are two of the biggest issues they face on a daily basis,” Mr Barilaro said. 

“Whether you need to stay in touch with your family or run a business, if your internet isn’t fast or affordable, or your phone coverage isn’t up to speed it is simply crippling,” he said.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Deputy Premier and Southern NSW Bronnie Taylor said the fund proves the NSW Government is committed to boosting mobile and internet coverage in the bush.

“There is no other state in the country that is investing its own money separately from the Federal Government in tackling this issue. This is the first fund of its kind in Australia,” Ms Taylor said.

“Put simply this is a game-changer for the people of regional NSW,” she said.

NSW Nationals candidate for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said for too long people living in isolated communities in regional NSW have been treated like second-class citizens.

“Only last week I put the call out for people to let me know their coverage concerns, and the response I received proved just how big this issue is,” Ms Cooke said. 

“There is no doubt that coverage in regional areas, particularly across the electorate of Cootamundra, is not good enough.

“It is pleasing to see the NSW Government takes this issue seriously and is prepared to spend big money fixing it,” she said.

The NSW Government has already committed $39 million in a co-investment with the Commonwealth Mobile Blackspots Program supporting over 174 towers under the program and delivering 36 new or upgraded mobile base stations in regional NSW since 2015.