More than 60 people gathered at Lotteries House to hear from Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson discuss the key outcomes from the 2017-18 Budget.
Mr Wilson highlighted education funding as the “headline item” for families living in regional Western Australia.
He was quizzed by attendees on the effects the budget would have on families and small businesses in the electorate.
Along with a lack of new funding to address the mobile black spot issues, Mr Wilson was grilled on the Medicare levy and WA failing to get its “fair share of GST” from the eastern states.
Among the some of the key issues discussed was the changes to the welfare system and the pressure a drug and alcohol trials could have on “last resort” style services in the community.
Mr Wilson has prioritised strong communication networks for regional Australia since stepping into Parliament, however this year’s budget has seen it as a stagnate area, with no increase in funding allocation.
He has defended the Federal Governments failure to provide any new money for the issue, pinning the lack of additional funding to Telstra’s lagging building speed.
Mr Wilson has lobbied for the issue and promoted himself as a strong supporter of the governments Mobile Black Spot Program, since it was implemented in 2013.
“I’m disappointed that the build program is taking so long to roll out,” Mr Wilson said.
“It was really pointless us announcing another round.
He said the federal government had issued three rounds of funding into the mobile phone black spot issue and are currently only “15 to 20 per cent through the first round”.
“I mean it becomes ridiculous after a while so look I have been applying a lot of pressure to Telstra to speed up that roll out.
“What I would like to see is for Telstra to wack those towers up as quick as possible and then I’ll be going back to the treasurer and communications minister and say ‘look we’re ready to go we want the next round of mobile phone towers’.
“I think they can build them quicker than what they are. At the end of the day they’re not building a rocket to fly to the moon, they’re building a tower.
“I would think that Telstra just need to put the resources or bring that forward in their build program so that they get them done quicker and once they get them done quick we can start rolling out some more funding.”