Malcolm Turnbull tackles Murray mobile black spots

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull was at the Pinjarra Bowling Club on Monday addressing community concerns about internet and telecommunication services in the Murray region.

At the forum, which was organised by Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie as part of his campaign in the Canning byelection, Mr Turnbull said the government was working with telecommunication companies to fix mobile phone black spots.

“On coming to government, we spent $100 million on rectifying black spots, which leveraged another $380 million from state governments and companies,” he said.

"Labor spent not a cent on mobile phone black spots.

“So far we’ve dealt with 490 black spots, many in parts of Western Australia more remote than the Canning electorate.”

Mr Turnbull said the government was building a new mobile phone tower in Dwellingup.

“Dwellingup is the black spot that’s currently been approved and I’ll be talking to my department and Telstra to see if we can bring it forward,” he said.

“There is another $60 million in additional funding for black spots coming.”

Mr Turnbull said the National Broadband Network (NBN) would also be critical in addressing internet and telecommunication problems for people in the Murray region.

“By 2016, all the NBN projects in the Canning electorate will be underway and the entire network across the country will be finished by 2020,” he said.

“We’ve been moving very fast and by December 2016 another 50,000 homes in Canning, mostly in Mandurah, will have access to the NBN.”

Mr Hastie said two of the biggest issues of concern to voters in the Murray part of the Canning electorate were the roll-out of the NBN and black spots in mobile phone coverage.

“As I’ve moved through the electorate, there’s just an unacceptable amount of black spots,” he said.

“Mobile phones are a lifeline for the community.

“What would happen if I had an accident on the way to Boddington?”

“This is about getting essential services to people.”