Federal election: Farrer candidates clash over mobile phone tower numbers

Liberal MP Sussan Ley

Liberal MP Sussan Ley

LIBERAL MP Sussan Ley has moved to refute claims about the number of mobile phone towers in the Farrer electorate.

Independent candidate for Farrer Kevin Mack last week told Sunraysia Daily there were “14 mobile towers in the whole electorate” in reference to the mobile black spot program.

Ms Ley described the comments as “either a deliberate ploy to mislead or more evidence of being carefree with the truth”.

Farrer had 14 base stations funded in rounds 1 and 2 of the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program, according to the Department of Communications website.

The electorate was set to receive four more base stations under round 4 of the program, which was announced last month.

Full federal election coverage for Mallee and Farrer

Ms Ley acknowledged there were more black spots to be fixed, “as there is in every rural electorate”.

But she took issue with how Mr Mack presented the issue.

“Despite being a candidate for over two months, Kevin Mack continues to toss around claims on mobile phone tower numbers, none of which have actually hit the target,” Ms Ley said.

“Kamarah, near Narrandera, where I visited on the weekend, will be the site of the 18th mobile phone tower to be delivered since the Coalition was returned to government in 2013.

“Prior to 2007, 22 towers were delivered in my electorate under John Howard’s Networking the Nation program started in the late 1990s.

“Shamefully, Labor did not deliver a single tower in Farrer over its six years in office.

“Facts and integrity are very important when you are asking for someone’s vote.”

Mr Mack is considered to have a serious chance of unseating Ms Ley in the vast Farrer electorate, which stretches from Albury to Wentworth, at the May 18 federal election.

His comments last week compared Farrer to the independent-held seat of Indi.

“You’ve got an issue with access to black spots (coverage) in terms of mobile towers and connectivity,” Mr Mack said.

“There are 14 mobile towers in the whole electorate – 122,000 sq km – 14.

“A good example to compare it to is Cathy McGowan’s electorate of Indi.

“She’s been there for six years and she’s increased that number (of mobile towers) to 40, from 15 to 40.

“That’s an indication of how independents can make things happen.”

Indi had 38 base stations funded under rounds 1 and 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program, while a further four in round 4 brought that total to 42.

This story appeared in Monday's Sunraysia Daily 29-4-2019. To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

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