House debates

Monday, 20 August 2018

Constituency Statements

Robertson Electorate: Telecommunications

10:52 am

Photo of Lucy WicksLucy Wicks (Robertson, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Delivering continuous mobile coverage along the 60-kilometre stretch of track between Wyong and Hornsby, as well as free wi-fi at train stations, is a game changer for hardworking commuters in my electorate of Robertson on the Central Coast. One in four of the adult workforce on the Central Coast commute long distances each day, and I've heard from hundreds of them who have said that our commitment to them will change their day-to-day commuting experience. Many of them leave before sunrise each morning and arrive home well after dark every evening. This has the potential to make the commute more productive, offers a chance to wind down after a long day, and will help keep families and loved ones better connected. We are determined to deliver this for commuters like Zac from Springfield, who said this commitment will change the way he works: 'The reception on the train line is shocking, so being able to do laptop work on the train would massively help me and thousands of coasties.' That's why I'm pleased that hardworking commuters on the Central Coast will start to experience improved services by the end of 2018.

We are getting on with the job of delivering for commuters, with the project agreement already signed and the tender process underway. The coalition government has committed $12 million with an additional $4 million from the New South Wales government to deliver improved mobile and internet connectivity between Hornsby and Wyong. The Minister for Communications is working closely with the New South Wales government, which has responsibility for managing the complex planning, site access, power availability and safety issues to deliver continuous mobile coverage for Central Coast commuters as soon as possible.

We have already scoped many of the challenges of this project, which commuters know all too well, because they see them out their carriage window every day. They include the picturesque but difficult topography with mountainous terrain, river crossings and no less than seven tunnels, which will require a carefully designed mobile network solution. The tender has specifically asked for solutions, as part of any proposal, to ensure the timely delivery of the project despite these challenges. We expect the process to be highly competitive and construction is due to commence following the outcome of this process, ensuring the project is delivered for our commuters sooner rather than later.

We are also delivering on our commitment to better mobile coverage across the Central Coast with a new base station switched on at Calga, thanks to this government's Mobile Black Spot Program. Switching on dedicated mobile coverage was particularly important to the residents to ensure that locals have access to vital emergency services, which had previously not been possible. This site is in addition to the improved mobile coverage already delivered in parts of Mangrove Mountain, Mangrove Creek, Mount White and Somersby on the Central Coast, but there is still more work to do. We're focused on delivering on our commitments for better mobile coverage in communities like Spencer, Wendoree Park and Killcare. I look forward to continuing to work with these local communities to ensure our projects are delivered and that we can overcome any challenges together.