By Gary Warner
Mobile phone coverage and petroleum royalties have been taken up as electoral issues by Nationals WA candidate Shane Van Styn.
Declaring a commitment to improved mobile coverage, Mr Van Styn said he would seek funding from the Coalition’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot Programme to fix black spots in Kalbarri National Park and on the Brand Highway-Rudds Gully Road intersection near Greenough. “While there are countless areas in Durack that could benefit from increased mobile phone coverage, these two areas are critical in terms of saving lives,” Mr Van Styn said.
Speaking during a visit to Geraldton by the shadow minister for regional communications, LukeHartsuyker MP, Mr Van Styn said both locations were notorious for their lack of mobile phone coverage, which could be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. His comments were supported by Kalbarri Volunteer SES Unit deputy manager Mac Holt, who said lives had been lost in Kalbarri National Park.
“With no mobile coverage in tourist areas, it is sometimes two hours before emergency agencies are even notified of an incident,” said Mr Holt.
Mr Van Styn said the intersection of Brand Highway-Rudds Gully Road, near Greenough, was another key blackspot.
“This area is of real concern to Geraldton and Greenough residents,” he said. “It’s a busy intersection where accidents can easily occur, but the lack of mobile phone coverage means there is little ability to raise the alarm to emergency services.”
In yet another media release, Mr Van Styn said he would work with his State and Federal colleagues for a better share for Western Australia of offshore petroleum royalties. He said WA could lose out on billions of dollars of extra investment under current offshore royalty arrangements, which he claimed would see the lion’s share of funds go directly to the Commonwealth.
“Offshore projects in WA such as Gorgon and Wheatstone will potentially provide billions of dollars in royalties to the Federal Government, yet no royalty receipt will be returned to WA,” said Mr Van Styn.
“WA accounted for 75 per cent of the nation’s crude oil and condensate production and more than 60 per cent of the nation’s natural gas production in 2012.
“Western Australia bears a great cost burden associated with these projects, establishing the critical infrastructure needed, such as roads, industrial land and port facilities.
“It is only fair that WA receive a fair share back from its huge contribution to Australia’s petroleum revenue, and I will be fighting for that if elected on September 7.”