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Qld LNP promises 500 wi-fi hotspots

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Jamie McKinnell

Queensland's Liberal National Party has defended its election promise to install 500 wi-fi hotspots at tourist destinations against suggestions it is seriously underfunded.

LNP leader Tim Nicholls on Thursday said if elected his party would spend $3 million over three years and rely on local councils to set up the networks.

Mr Nicholls said it would allow visitors to brag to friends at home about their Queensland holidays.

"We want people to know just what a terrific place Queensland is to come to visit for a holiday," Mr Nicholls said in Cairns.

Max Shephard, the chair of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, said allowing visitors to share their experiences was "our biggest marketing opportunity in the future".

Users would be asked to agree to terms and conditions to ensure the hotspots weren't used inappropriately.

The LNP compared the plan to a Brisbane City Council program which includes wi-fi access in 22 local parks, prompting Labor to immediately deride the policy as a rehashed council program.

Acting Tourism Minister Grace Grace questioned the funding model, saying the council plan committed $2 million for 20 parks.

Ms Grace said the LNP's policy would equate to $100,000 per hotspot, but the cost could be even higher in remote locations.

"I know councils will be asking 'who is picking up the rest of the tab?'," she said, accusing Mr Nicholls of fudging the numbers.

A council spokesman later said Ms Grace's claims were wrong.

Instead, 250 wi-fi access points were delivered within a $1.1 million budget allocated in 2015-16.

"That equates to an average of around $4000 for one hotspot," the spokesman said.

"Who's fudging figures now?" the LNP's digital economy minister Tarnya Smith posted on Twitter.

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) said the plan would benefit local communities and businesses.

"The beauty about wi-fi technology for councils and the tourism industry is that it helps to better understand visitors, both in terms of demographics and their likes and interests,'' said LGAQ president Mark Jamieson.

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