Federal Coalition MPs representing the Far West today announced funding from the government’s Regional Connectivity Program to dramatically expand mobile phone coverage along the Silver City Highway, between Wentworth and the Coombah Roadhouse.

The $3.9m project will deploy three new Telstra macro mobile sites, to provide new and improved handheld coverage and wireless broadband along 130km of the highway suffering from both mobile grey and black spots.

Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said kickstarting the work is a new 70 metre tower at Pomona North, around 30 kilometres north of Wentworth. This will then link to new equipment installed on the existing radio towers near the (Great Darling) Anabranch South and Scotia.

“Perhaps the most important part of this project is the improvement to public safety, boosting connectivity for travellers and emergency services on what is one of the NSW outback’s most important road transport links.”

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said people throughout the Far West will be able to benefit from this investment.

“The Silver City Highway is a key route for people from Broken Hill and Far West who regularly travel south to Mildura to access services, so I know improving mobile coverage will be very much welcomed,” Mr Coulton said.

“This will provide peace of mind, while allowing people to stay connected while they’re travelling, and I’m pleased the Coalition Government is investing in this critical infrastructure.”

Minister for Regional Communications, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said the Government has continued to take a collaborative approach with the telecommunications industry to make sure funded projects are tailored to the needs of each region and are supported by the community.

“As the last two years have shown, digital connectivity is an essential part of how we work, learn, stay healthy and remain in contact with loved ones and also to manage, adapt to and recover from an increasing range of natural disasters. These towers will make a real difference.”

The Australian Government has committed $117 million under RCP Round 1 to deliver more than 130 projects and $140 million for Round 2 projects including $2,938,425 to the Silver City Highway (South Project).

The funding application received support from the Australian Trucking Association, Boyle & Co Wool Brokering, The Country Women’s Association of NSW, Dalwoodman Pastoral, Event Management, Admin & Safety Services, Fox & Lillie Rural, Gatlet, Mildura Rural City Council, NSW Farmers, and many local residents from the area.